This presentation describes an approach to job embedded professional development focused on literacy and communication. Over one school year, multiple methods of professional development and coaching improved student engagement in meaningful literacy learning and transformed teacher use of new strategies and ways of thinking about literacy for students with severe disabilities. Special attention is given to students who use AAC. At the conclusion of this session, participants will be able to: 1. Envision a mode of professional development in which teachers are supported through a transformation in their beliefs and practices around teaching literacy and communication to students with severe disabilities. 2. Understand the challenges of school-level transformation and the factors that allowed these challenges to be overcome. 3. View evidence of meaningful changes to the literacy engagement of students with severe disabilities, including students using AAC and alternative pencils. Particular attention will be paid to various ways students accessed literacy in alternative ways (for example, partner-assisted scanning, two-step scanning, eye gaze, various software). 4. View evidence of teacher change in belief and practice through their reports of their own experiences and their reports of their students’ progress. 5. View evidence of teacher change in belief and practice through videos of classroom instruction.
Amanda Bock, Karen Erickson