Equity. Excellence. Education.

Professional Learning

Official 2016-17 SERC Professional Learning Listings.

SERC believes the most effective learning opportunities are learner-driven, in a variety of formats. We offer comprehensive in-district technical assistance and support, online courses and learning modules, resources through the SERC Library and website, and other means to serve the unique needs of the learner.

This page features our pre-scheduled learning opportunities, with specific dates, for those who wish to plan ahead to attend in person. Registration is required. For anytime online learning, click the “Online Courses” tab.


Making Early Literacy FUNTASTIC for Infants and Toddlers

February 1, 2017

Engaging infants and toddlers in early literacy activities will give them a great start to using new skills: play, communication and socialization with others, language and vocabulary, and early reading. We now know that enriched early experiences that include intentional positive interaction, meaningful talk, and opportunities to play and manipulate objects and toys are critical while young brains are developing.

The primary outcome of this professional learning opportunity is building early literacy learning for infants and toddlers that is "Funtastic." For early childhood professionals, this includes developmentally appropriate practice in planning safe, engaging, creative environments and materials; creating learning activities to meet the needs of diverse learners of all abilities; learning how to embed Funtastic literacy activities in daily routines using an ecological inventory; and supporting families to use routines at home for early literacy learning.

Time: 9:00 a.m.

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What Is Assistive Technology (AT) and How Can It Help My Child? - Elementary - Session A - English Session

February 3, 2017

If you are a parent of a middle or high school student with special needs, you have likely heard the term "assistive technology" or "AT," but you might not be familiar with exactly what that means or how it can enhance your child's learning in school, at home, or in the community. In this session, parents/guardians will learn about the scope and functions of AT, and actually handle many of the low-, mid-, and high-tech devices (from SERC's AT Corner in the SERC Library) that can enhance student learning.

Participants will have the opportunity to share their questions and experiences with other families participating in the session. Parents will discover how they and the rest of the Planning and Placement Team can determine their child’s need for AT; how to choose AT devices and systems that would make a positive difference in their child’s learning; how to advocate for providing their child with an AT device or product he or she needs; the child’s legal right to AT equipment; and how AT can help a student achieve Secondary Transition goals and objectives.

This session is a collaboration among SERC, the CT Parent Information and Resource Center (CT PIRC), and the Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center (CPAC).

Time: 5:30 p.m.

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Content Literacy Strategies for Students Learning English

February 7, 2017

We know that students learning English face two sets of demands: to learn the content and to learn English at the same time. This requires strategies that will allow them to access the skills and concepts needed to comprehend academic content as their proficiency in English grows.

This session examines teaching and learning activities that can support students learning English in acquiring academic language while increasing comprehension of subject-area content. The strategies in this session will also be beneficial for students with language-based learning disabilities.

Participants will draft teaching and learning activities that will support students learning English in their content area, identifying skills and strategies that can translate into their classroom practice.

Time: 9:00 a.m.

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Introduction to Restorative Practices

February 9, 2016

Restorative Practices, inspired by the philosophy of restorative justice, are used to build community and respond to challenging behavior through authentic dialogue, coming to understanding, and making things right [International Institute for Restorative Practices website, 2013]. Schools that use Restorative Practices have a flexible approach to school policies and practices when managing challenging behavior.

This training will offer participants the opportunity to understand Restorative Practices as a more flexible school-wide approach to discipline. It will cover the core values, principles, and goals of Restorative Practices; provide an overview of various models and components; and identify stakeholders in the Restorative Practices process. As a result of this training, participants will better understand the necessary resources for implementing Restorative Practices in schools, including implementation within a multi-tiered system of support.

Time: 9:00 a.m.

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Building a bridge between Tier 2 and Tier 3 Interventions

February 10, 2017

Within a system of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), schools create layers of instructional tiers to match levels of support to students’ needs. However, there are contradictory descriptions of Tier 2 and Tier 3, and often there is confusion that needs further clarification on how to intensify instruction within PBIS. To provide that clarity, the session will review the differences between Tier 2 and Tier 3. Participants should come to the session equipped with their tier 2 and tier 3 data, list of interventions, and questions!

Time: 9:00 a.m.

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Bureau of Special Education February Leadership Forum

February 1, 2017

The leadership forums are designed for ConnCase and district special education administrators to build their knowledge around specific BSE topics and legal issues to support their roles on behalf of serving students with disabilities and their families. Specific content for the February session will be determined by the Bureau of Special Education and the ConnCase Executive Board.

Time: 8:30 a.m.

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Tier 2 Decision Rules/Screening Tools

February 23, 2017

Building and sustaining a strong and effective multi-tiered system of support for students relies heavily on foundational practices, but also needs a clearly defined system. This session will take a critical look at the system of tier 2 and include a discussion of screening tools, assessments, and possible decision entrance and exit criteria. Participating teams will examine how to use data to inform tier 2 practices and systems.

Teams should come to the session equipped with their Tier 2 data and menu of interventions.

Time: 9:00 a.m.

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Making a Difference Through Co-Teaching (Session B)

February 28, 2017

Co-teaching holds great promise within the framework of Scientific Research-Based Interventions (SRBI) as a universal practice for supporting students with diverse needs in general education settings. The talents, experiences, and expertise of the co-teaching team, both shared and varied, make for powerful and dynamic approaches to instruction.

Co-teaching partnerships consist of a general educator and one other certified education professional, such as a special educator. These partners collaborate to provide rich and differentiated learning opportunities and a sense of belonging for every student.

This two-day session covers how co-teaching can effectively meet the needs of students, with and without disabilities, in the general education classroom and explores the advantages and disadvantages of each of the six co-teaching approaches. Participants will apply their learning between the two days by planning and teaching a co-taught lesson, and then share their experiences with other participants on the second day. In addition, a panel of local co-teachers will join us to share their experiences and answer questions from the audience.

As a result of this professional learning activity, participants will be able to enhance the quality of their co-teaching partnerships; make decisions about which co-teaching approach will best help to improve student access and outcomes; and collaboratively plan co-taught lessons that maximize instructional intensity. Optional follow-up technical assistance will be offered for those co-teaching teams that would like additional feedback through an on-site observation and/or coaching.

Time: 9:00 a.m.

Multi-day Event: 2/28/2017, 3/31/2017

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