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.


Intensify Focus: Connecting the Role of Advocacy to Your Child’s Success in Meeting IEP Goals

January 4, 2017

This series of family nights at the SERC Library is offered to families whose elementary school children are new to the special education process. Three 1.5-hour long evening sessions will be held at the SERC Library from October 2016 through January 2017. Information and resources will be available as well as time for Q&A on the following topics: understanding the Individualized Education Program (IEP) and Planning & Placement Team (PPT) process; how to know if your child is making progress toward IEP goals; ways to be an effective advocate for your child; and how to talk with your child's teacher. Presenters rotating through this series include a school principal, a special education teacher, and a parent advocate. Light refreshments will be provided.

Time: 5:30 p.m.

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Webinar: Using Literacy Screening Data to Support Students with Reading Difficulties

January 10, 2017

The Connecticut Department of Education has approved universal screening reading assessments to be used by schools to identify students in kindergarten to grade three, who are below proficiency in reading. The results can provide school teams with valuable information about students’ phonological processing abilities, useful for creating instructional approaches that address students’ unique learning needs.

This live webinar, featuring Dr. Margie Gillis, explores different patterns of reading difficulty based on screening data derived from the curriculum-based assessments in Connecticut’s Approved Menu of Research-based Grades K-3 Universal Screening Reading Assessments. Dr. Gillis will also provide guidance regarding informal diagnostic assessments that could be used to examine component reading skills in more depth, including an assessment decision tree. She will present an overview of structured literacy instruction methods that can be used in Tier 2 to support reading success for children in the early grades and tools for progress monitoring.

Time: 9:00 a.m.

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Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students’

January 23, 2016

What is culturally responsive teaching, and how can it make a difference in the classroom? This book study on Zaretta Hammond’s Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain will explore innovative approaches to designing and implementing brain-compatible culturally responsive instruction that creates inclusive learning for students of all colors, genders, ethnicity, and abilities. We will begin and end the study group with a face-to-face meeting, with an online discussion forum in between for a flexible and engaging way to explore cutting-edge neuroscience research. Participants will have the opportunity to apply principles and techniques in their classrooms and share results with this community of fellow practitioners over the course of 12 weeks. At the conclusion of the course, participants will have the option to publish a blog post on the SERC website reviewing the book and sharing the part of the learning experience they valued most.

Time: 4:30 p.m.

Multi-day Event: 1/23/2017, 2/2/2017, 2/20/2017, 3/13/2017, 3/27/2017

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Developing Functional Behavior Assessments (FBAs) and Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs)

January 24, 2017

In this two-part session, school administration and staff will learn about systems and structures that aid in supporting students’ behavioral, social-emotional, and mental health needs. Participants will learn best practices for conducting functional behavior assessments (FBAs) and developing and writing effective behavior intervention plans (BIPs) for students who need behavioral supports.

As participants learn more about the FBA process for these students, they will better understand the motivation, pay-off, or function of a student’s problem behavior. They will then use that information to identify and implement effective interventions to include in BIPs.

Time: 9:00 a.m.

Multi-day Event: 1/24/2017, 3/16/2017

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Middle School Math: Making Meaning with Manipulatives

January 24, 2017

Elementary math classes often incorporate manipulatives to help students extend their math reasoning from concrete to abstract. Too often, this practice is abandoned in the higher grades. Yet the use of manipulatives by learners of all ages is an effective way to increase conceptual understanding of math concepts, as called for by the Connecticut Core Standards (CCS) for Math. Manipulatives can be especially useful for English learners, struggling math learners, and any student who may be disengaged.

In the four sessions of this series, middle school educators will be introduced to fraction bars and algebra tiles. Participants will practice using these manipulatives and incorporate them into lessons aligned with the CCS. Throughout the school year, between sessions, the participants will post ideas through a web-based platform. At the final session, participants will share their classroom experiences and lessons with one another.

Time: 3:30 p.m.

Multi-day Event: 1/24/2017, 2/28/2017, 3/8/2017, 5/2/2017

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