Course Descriptions


Applied Deeper Learning

 This course will promote educators ability to teach an applied deeper learning in the classroom. Participants will learn to engage students in interdisciplinary activities aligned to state learning standards and/or the Common Core State Standards. The design of student tasks will focus on the use of critical thinking skills and cooperative learning strategies to solve problems. Participants will learn to create relevant and meaningful lesson plans and learning activities for applied deeper student learning and academic achievement.


Assessment, Data, & Analysis

This course will provide educators with an overview of Assessment, Data, & Analysis.  Participants will explore the application of assessment to student progress and instruction.  Different types of assessment will be reviewed including progress monitoring and benchmark assessments.  Differentiation and assessment of instruction using the principles of Universal Design for Learning will be reviewed.  Other course topics will include strategies for data collection, tips for analysis, and design of intervention and instructional plans based upon assessment results.


Assistive Technology and Accessible Instructional Materials

 This course is designed as an introductory overview in the application of assistive technology in the general education setting in compliance with IDEA requirements. Participants will be introduced to specific types of adaptive, assistive, and augmentative technologies to enable students with disabilities, based upon the MA DOE disabilities guidelines, to access the curriculum. The course will cover the continuum of Assistive Technology devices, universal design for learning, curriculum adaptation and integration of best strategies and practices, accessible educational materials, state resources, and assessment and evaluation protocols. Family involvement in all phases of service delivery will also be discussed.


Attendance & Dropout Prevention

This course will teach participants to analyze dropout and attendance data and address findings with appropriate interventions. Participants will explore Absenteeism through its definition as it relates to schools, impacted and offending populations of students, facets of absenteeism, and reasons for poor attendance. Special attention will be paid to Dropout Prevalence and Prevention. Strategies for Lowering Suspension Rates will be examined. Participants will analyze Special Education Students and School Attendance for this population. Interventions for Improvement are infused throughout the course for successful implementation and increased student participation in schools.


Closing the Achievement Gap 

This course will introduce participants to best practical and applicable instructional methodologies and strategies for closing the achievement gap. Participants will research current factors for the achievement gap and identify best practice strategies for supporting the closure of the achievement gap. Course topics will include highly qualified teachers, rigorous curriculums, educator professional development, culturally competent classrooms, behavioral and emotional management, communication with families, creating positive schools, and student supports, including enrichment, progress monitoring, and extended school days and years. Best instructional practices and course concepts will be discussed with regard to closing the achievement gap. Understanding by Design and Response to Intervention models will be research and applied to closing the achievement gap.


Comprehensive Reading Assessments 

This course will teach participants to employ multiple measures for assessing reading difficulties in students and write an evaluation report analyzing the results. Participants will explore the Cognitive Processes in Learning to Read. Special attention will be paid to Dyslexia Definitions and Implications. The Components of a Comprehensive Reading Assessments will be examined. Participants will analyze Case Studies and learn to Write an Evaluation Report, including specific Interventions and Recommendations in response to student outcomes. 


Culturally Competent Classrooms

This course is designed to provide educators with an overview of the essential components in creating a culturally competent classroom. Participants will evaluate the Competencies of a Culturally Competent Classroom and learn how to implement evidence-based best Inclusive Practices. Course topics will explore Teaching Tolerance and cultural competency aligned to the principles of Universal Design for Learning, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, and Social Emotional Learning.


Dissecting an IEP

This course will cover the Special Education (federal & state) student eligibility process for an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Participants will dissect an IEP and learn how to align student IEPs to Common Core State Standards. This course will take participants through the IEP process, including initial evaluations, annual reviews, and tri-annual evaluations, as well as through each part of the IEP. Definitions and expectations for each part of an IEP will be explored.


Distinguishing Language from Learning Disability

This course is designed to provide educators with the knowledge and tools to be able to determine eligibility for English Language Learner students in special education. Participants will explore a typical trajectory for language acquisition, common misconceptions about ELLs and second language acquisition, and various approaches to determining special education eligibility for ELLs. Characteristics of second language acquisition that mirror a learning disability will be covered as well as classroom implications and strategies for supporting ELL students. 


Effective Co-Teaching for Student Success

This course is designed to provide educators with an understanding of collaborative and co-teaching models and prepare them to implement these models in their schools and classrooms. A model of shared responsibility among staff will be studied. Participants will learn about the unique, diverse, and specialized skills and instructional practices of co-teaching, including pedagogical skills consistent with state and local educational goals. Varied strategies that will meet the needs of all learners in a co-taught classroom

will be explored.


Emotionally Impaired Students

Participants in the course, Emotionally Impaired Students, will learn how to assess, support, and teach Emotionally Impaired students. Using tools for screening and assessing, participants will learn to classify students’ social emotional needs, define the Emotionally Impaired Student, and develop intervention plans for identified emotionally at-risk students. Causes of Emotional Disabilities in students will be explored, including methods for differentiating Emotional Disabilities from Trauma Induced experiences. Course topics will include Tier One and Two educational approaches and Tier Three student best practice service delivery models. Participants will learn instructional strategies and interventions for students with Emotional Impairments. Additionally, course participants will research the comorbidity of Emotional Disorders and Learning Disabilities.


Engaging All Students

One of the most challenging obstacles for educators is understanding and responding to our students’ varying learning styles and needs. This course will introduce participants to best practical and applicable instructional strategies for all classroom settings to raise student achievement and motivation. Participants will learn to design a cognitive context for learning, including methods of differentiation and project-based learning design. In addition, the course will discuss best instructional practices for classroom management, productive classroom discussions, classroom probes to inform instruction, working effectively with families, and development of higher order thinking skills. Participants will review current research on the brain and student learning to support all students through appropriate challenges and supports, including technology, to promote success for all students.


Facilitating PEACE in the Classroom

This course will teach participants about Facilitating PEACE in the Classroom. Participants will learn how to infuse the principles of social, emotional, and academic learning for classroom management and instructional practices. Participants will learn the components of the PEACE behavioral intervention and academic lesson plan. Specifically, the course will teach about the PEACE lesson plan which is grounded in research-based best practice principles of social emotional learning and emotional intelligence. Participants will learn to use the methodologies of PEACE to infuse social emotional learning standards into classroom routines, norms, content areas, academic assessment, and processing of unexpected behaviors.


Foundations of Inclusion

This course is designed to provide educators with an overview of the foundations of inclusion and evidence-based best practices for inclusion. Participants will explore such practices following the principles of Inclusion, Universal Design for Learning, Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, Social and Emotional Learning, and Co-Teaching, while learning implementation strategies for student success. Participants will learn a structured approach to assess students’ needs, provide appropriate modifications and accommodations as needed, and design and provide suitable interventions.


Getting Started with Math Workshop

Getting Started with Math Workshop is designed to introduce participants to a structure for teaching math that supports each child’s development in order to maximize math proficiency. Participants will gain strategies for engaging students in standards-based, rigorous, and meaningful learning opportunities where the teacher focuses on a particular concept, strategy or skill. Course participants will learn to implement and facilitate math workshop in the classroom, including scheduling, designing stations or centers, lesson planning, differentiation, and assessment. Various models of math workshop will

be studied.


Getting Started with Reading Workshop

This course will explore the components of Reading Workshop. The course will focus on the foundations of literacy, instructional strategies, and assessment through the lens of Reading Workshop. Participants will learn strategies to improve student literacy through the workshop model using a balanced literacy approach as well as the essentials required to establishing a workshop structure in the classroom at any level. Topics covered will include the stages of literacy, elements of guided reading, lesson planning, setting up and managing reading workshop in the classroom, phonics and word study, evaluation, flexible groupings, and more!


The Holistic Classroom

This course will explore the neurological process of executive function (goal-directed behavior, planning, organization, and impulse control) and the negative impact that stress is having on student learning and achievement. Participants will evaluate and learn to implement activities for improving students’ working memory, emotional regulation, and resilience. Topics covered will include the mind-body connection, mindfulness, grit, yoga, and movement-based learning, promoting pro-social behaviors and general well-being of learners. Participants will gain strategies for incorporating holistic components into their classrooms and schools.


Implementing Writer’s Workshop

This course is designed to help participants transform their classroom into a well-organized and well-managed Writer’s Workshop that promotes writing growth. Using a balanced literacy approach, course participants will learn how to implement Writer’s Workshop. The course will cover practical ideas for launching Writer’s Workshop, including mentor text, planning strategic mini-lessons, ideas for maintaining records and creating portfolios for assessment, organizing supplies, building and managing community, and establishing a productive learning environment. Teachers will discover new ways to integrate content areas into writing as well as learn classroom management skills specific to the model.


Including Special Education Students in the Classroom

This course is designed to provide educators with an overview of special education accommodations. Participants will learn a structured approach to assess students’ needs, provide appropriate modifications and accommodations as needed, and obtain the suitable support services if needed. Strategies for implementing accommodations will be studied. Sources of accommodations will be examined. Participants will explore accommodations for instruction, assessment, behavior, and more!


Literacy in Mathematics

Reading and writing in mathematics are of particular interest to educators because these processes are essential to both problem solving and concept development in mathematics. This course will expose participants to various strategies for incorporating literacy into math lessons in order to meet Common Core State Standards and accelerate student success. Strategies for teaching literacy in math will be explored through the topics of vocabulary, speaking and listening skills in math, using literary and expository texts in math, mathematical reading comprehension, assessments, and writing about math.


Managing Behavioral Challenges in the Classroom

This course introduces educators to strategies for managing challenging student behavior. The study of teaching and curriculum and classroom design are studied as factors affecting student behavior. Participants will learn to de-escalate challenging students. Presentations, discussions, case studies, role plays, and explicit teaching of de-escalation and restraint techniques will enrich participants’ experience.


Navigating Student Support Services

This course is designed to provide educators with an overview of student support services. Participants will learn a structured approach to assess students’ needs, provide appropriate modifications and accommodations, and obtain the suitable support services for best student progress. Referral strategies for students’ areas of concern will be studied. Sources of support services will be examined. Participants will explore Student Teacher Assistance Teams, Title One, 504s, IEPs, and more.


Pedagogy for the Inclusive Classroom

This course will introduce participants to best practical and applicable instructional methodologies for diverse learners in the inclusive setting, including ELL students and students with behavioral challenges. Current research and best practice to improve classroom instruction and learning for students with moderate disabilities will be covered. Best instructional practices for classroom management, effective general education instructional methodology including Understanding by Design, and development of measurable outcomes, adaptations, accommodations, and modifications for diverse learners. Participants will learn to match an area of disability with an intervention and be able to implement the best practical and applicable instructional strategies for diverse learners in the inclusive setting. Concepts will be discussed with regard to closing the achievement gap.


Promoting Positive School Culture in the Classroom

This course is designed to provide educators with an overview of the essentials required in a positive school and classroom culture. Participants will learn the components of positive school and classroom communities. The components of bridging the home school connection will be covered as well as community involvement in schools. Topics covered will include zero tolerance, bullying, creating a supportive school, service learning, teaching social responsibility, connecting with diverse families, and more.


Responding to Challenging Behaviors 

This course will enable participants to understand and respond to challenging behaviors in students exhibiting challenging behaviors. Participants will learn how to respond, rather than react to student behaviors. Emphasis will be placed upon the notion that a student’s behavior is an essential component of their social and academic experience. This course will explore the interaction between learning issues, behaviors, and performance in students. Best instructional practices and strategies will be explored to help understand student behaviors and to promote acceptance and improve their social skills.


Response To Intervention (RTI) in the Classroom

This course will enhance participants’ understanding of the Response to Intervention (RTI) framework in local and state agencies. Participants will gain an understanding of the RTI components of student screenings and progress monitoring, including how to identify students with special needs. This course teaches how to design and implement RTI in the classroom. Participants will explore evidenced-based interventions for students struggling with Reading, Writing, Math, Behavior, and Social Emotional challenges.


Restorative Practices in Schools

This course is designed to provide educators with an overview of restorative practices to promote improved student behavior and overall achievement. Participants will learn to understand and implement restorative practices as a framework for building community and for responding to challenging behavior through authentic dialogue, coming to a collective understanding, and moving forward in a positive direction. Course topics will explore building positive cultures and communities, Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS), the group process, as well as conflict resolution and behavior management through the lens of restorative practices. Participants will learn to implement restorative practices in school settings.


The Social Emotional Curriculum

This course will teach participants what the Social Emotional Curriculum is. Participants will learn about Social Emotional skills, learning, and teaching. The learning standards of the Social Emotional Curriculum will be explored along with best practice principles of Social Emotional instruction. Course topics will include Social Emotional screening and assessment, linking Social Emotional Learning interventions to academics and discipline, including PBIS and universal design for learning, integration of Tier One, Two, and Three Social Emotional Learning interventions within the classroom and school structures, and the Social Emotional Curriculum for Special Education students.


Social Emotional Disorders in the Classroom

This course introduces educators to strategies for managing students with social/emotional disorders in the classroom. The course will provide comprehensive information on emotional disorders as well as the behaviors that may arise from the disability. Course material will provide you with information on: definitions, characteristics, causes, common assessments, functional behavior assessment, ABA and Positive Behavior Supports, advocacy, and current issues in the field. This information will benefit all educational teachers and counselors, parents or anyone who is interested in learning about emotional disorders and the best practices for supporting students with social emotional disorders.


Social Emotional Schools: Classroom Management Re-Imagined

This course will explore the current A Social Emotional Society of Students in schools. Participants will explore the facets of The Organic School and how to implement its components to embed social emotional skills across the school structures. Special attention will be paid to Holistic Learning, Classroom Community, Communication, and Consequences in a social emotional responsive school. Participants will learn to design and implement Emotionally Responsive Curriculum. Evaluation of future trends in social emotional learning, including the Facilitator: Future of the Teacher will be examined.


Special Education Law: Federal and State Regulations

This course will explore the major legal documents that govern the provision of services and discipline of students with disabilities. Participants will be introduced to federal and state special education laws and regulations through the lens of both general and special educators. Particular attention will be given to IDEA, ESSA, Special Education mandates (state & federal), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act eligibility criteria. The topics of eligibility, Response to Intervention (RTI), Curriculum Accommodation Plans, evaluation, due process, parental rights, procedural safeguards, free and appropriate public education (FAPE), special education service models, Least Restrictive Environment, transition planning, placement, current restraint laws, and discipline laws for students with disabilities will be reviewed.


The Special Education Teacher

This course will prepare the special educator for the responsibilities of being a case manager and teacher and help to further their knowledge of Special Education. Participants will review the basic components and goals of being a Special Education teacher working with students with learning disabilities, including paperwork requirements, implementing a system of organization for tracking goals and monitoring progress, designing an appropriate classroom environment, meeting liaison expectations, conducting Special Education evaluations, writing testing reports, and developing skills to master attending and managing of IEP team meetings and obtaining support from as well as effectively communicating with families. The course will also cover increasing inclusionary practices in Special Education, managing behaviors and social/emotional issues, the essential elements of Special Education law including the referral and eligibility process, and resources for on-going professional development.


Specially Designed Reading Instruction

Specially Designed Reading Instruction will provide participants with an overview of Specially Designed Instruction and the research behind it.  Course research topics will include an exploration of the components of Specially Designed Reading Instruction and packaged curriculums along with the research on each curriculum. Participants will learn to design Specially Designed Instruction in the area of reading.  They will learn methodologies and instructional sequences for increased student achievement.  Recent research including best practices in reading instruction and assessments in reading will be reviewed in terms of its application to teaching and learning.


Supporting Culturally Diverse Learners in Special Education

This course is designed to provide educators with the knowledge of how to support Special Education Culturally Diverse Learners. Stages of cultural development and typical second language acquisition trajectories will be reviewed as a foundational basis for the course. Determination of Special Education eligibility for culturally diverse learners will be reviewed. Participants will learn specific interventions and accommodations to support and teach Special Education Culturally Diverse Learners. In addition, participants will gain strategies increase the home/school component of education.


Teaching Reading to Students with Learning Disabilities

This course is an overview of research, theory, and best practices in the fields of reading and learning disabilities. Participants will study content and teaching approaches focusing on reading for preK-12 students with learning disabilities. Topics include evidence-based approaches for promoting growth in phonemic awareness, phonics, reading fluency, vocabulary development, and comprehension. Participants will learn a variety of specific modifications and interventions based upon individual needs and designed to address and remediate learning problems as specified by the I.E.P.


Teaching Social Studies (K-8)

This course focuses on effectively teaching social studies to diverse populations of students in grades K-8. Participants will learn to teach the content area of social studies at the elementary and middle school levels through the development of students’ critical thinking and literacy practices, focusing on their understanding of the world around them and their role in it. This course will emphasize teaching social studies through the curriculum mapping, creation of meaningful lessons, cooperative learning, critical thinking, interdisciplinary projects, and the assessment process. Participants will learn to implement the inquiry process, involving asking questions, conducting investigations, analyzing primary and secondary sources, developing arguments or opinions, and communicating conclusions.


Teaching Strategies for Remote Learning

Teaching Strategies for Remote Learning increases educators' ability to teach remotely. Participants learn about the Foundations of Virtual Learning, including the most recent and best practice research. This course will expand participant knowledge of best practice strategies based upon the current research on the science of Virtual Learning. Teaching strategies will target Virtual Instruction and Classroom Management in the remote classroom. Course participants will also learn strategies to remotely teach and support Social Emotional Learning as well as how to increase the remote Home/School Connection.


Teaching Writing for Better Readers

This course is designed to provide participants with an overview of the basic components of teaching writing to make better readers! Current research and best strategies for teaching writing for better reading to all students will be discussed. Participants will learn about child development in writing and reading, the writing process, and the four types of writing - shared, interactive, guided, and independent. Strategies for teaching writing to special education and English language learner students will also be covered.


Tiered Interventions for Struggling Learners 

This course is designed to provide educators with evidence-based best practices for developing and implementing tiered interventions for struggling learners across grade levels and academic settings. An overview of the typical profile of struggling learners will be reviewed and analyzed. Participants will study tiered interventions and strategies for supporting struggling learners including those placed in Special Education. Current issues with struggling learners will be covered, including socioeconomic, social emotional, and behavioral concerns.


Trauma Informed Education

Trauma Informed Education course participants will learn trauma responses and approaches to creating a Trauma Informed Education. Participants will learn to implement the principles of a Trauma Informed Education into both academic learning and student behavior management. Course topics will include best practices of Trauma Informed screening and assessment, Trauma Informed pedagogy and methodologies, linking Trauma Informed interventions to academics and discipline, integration of Tier One, Two, and Three Trauma Informed interventions within the classroom and school structures, and the Trauma Informed approach to 504 and Special Education referrals.


21st Century Classrooms: Internet Connected Students

 This course will introduce participants to best practical and applicable instructional methodologies and strategies for creating a 21st Century Classroom of internet connected students. Participants will examine newer electronic technologies/media for integration in the classroom with the goal of increasing student engagement and achievement. Participants will gain an understanding for application of course principles in order to develop and implement a technology rich classroom environment to maximize the opportunity for hands-on learning. Course topics will include integration of technology in educational settings for the enhancement of teaching and learning, design and development of digital-age learning experiences and assessments, digital citizenship and responsibility, and recognition of the importance of continued professional growth and leadership in achieving and maintaining

expertise in the use of educational technology.


Understanding Special Education

This course is designed to provide educators with an overview of the major special education disability categories and best teaching practices to support each disability type within the inclusive classroom. Definitions for each category as well as determination criteria will be reviewed. Participants will learn a structured approach to assess and understand the assessment of students’ needs, provide appropriate modifications and accommodations, and obtain the suitable support services that match the disability. Participants will study the IEP process, review the parts of an IEP, and learn strategies for implementing IEP accommodations. Additionally, the course will explore child find laws, diagnostic criteria, behavioral characteristics, best educational approaches and more!


When Poverty Comes to the Classroom

 When Poverty Comes to the Classroom will introduce participants to the latest research on poverty and how it affects students' cognitive development, engagement, and academic performance. In this course, participants will learn how to differentiate among various types of poverty and understand the unique aspects and effects of each upon today’s learner and its impact upon the developing brain. Participants will learn schoolwide and classroom-level strategies for alleviating the lagging skills demonstrated by students battling poverty. Course topics will include examination of the different types of poverty and its impact upon the learner, how poverty affects students’ cognitive development, engagement, and academic performance, research on and implementation of schoolwide and classroom-level strategies for alleviating the lagging skills demonstrated by students battling poverty, the social emotional effects of poverty on the learner, behavior management strategies, and educating about poverty.


Writing Strategies for the Content Areas (K-12)

 This course will cover strategies for using Writing as a tool to extend and deepen students’ learning in the content areas across all grade levels. Participants will gain practical, research-based strategies for implementing writing instruction in the content areas. The course will explore types of writing, writing to learn, developing content area comprehension through writing, differentiation strategies, and assistive technology in writing. Participants will learn to design content area literacy lesson plans. Emphasis is placed upon aligning writing instruction to Common Core State Standards for content areas.