Professional Development

Helen Deranian

Contact: 978.685.3000 ext. 1019
Grants & Professional Development

CREST Hosts FINE ARTS Professional Development for DESE
As part of DESE’s Arts Curriculum Framework Professional Development Series across the Commonwealth, CREST served as host for one of two Northeast Region Arts Ambassador Trainings; a 10 hour introductory course for public school art teachers in the Merrimack Valley. The full day course in February provided 40 participants an understanding of the major shifts in the new Arts Framework, and allowed teachers to examine the state’s new standards with authentic hands-on tasks for unpacking artistic practices and content.

North Region Special Education Administrators Meet with DESE at Northern Essex Community College
In October, CREST, with the Massachusetts Organization of Educational Collaboratives (MOEC), hosted 57 North Region special education teams for a full morning update presented by Dr. Russell Johnston, Sr. Associate Commissioner and State Director of Special Education. His updates included the IEP Improvement Project (Guidance Documents and Stakeholder Engagement), Secondary Transitions and the Massachusetts Inclusive Co-concurrent Enrollment Initiative, and Is Special Education the Right Service? (ISERS).

Lunch, Learn, and Lead for Special Education Administrators
CREST’s ongoing series of leadership meetings designed for district-wide special education directors and team Chairpersons, continued bi-monthly, led by Facilitator, Sharon Stewart, retired Administrator of Special Education. Discussion topics provided ISERS collective feedback directly to DESE, reviewed high leverage practices and on-line resources for remote learning, as well as best practices for initiating and sustaining meaningful change in special education students’ growth and achievement.

Education Evaluator Training for Administrators
New and veteran building principals and system school leaders completed a two day September training of Educator Evaluation taught by Dr. Kristan Rodriguez, former Superintendent of Schools in Groton-Dunstable. In addition to learning effective supervision and evaluation practices, the hybrid course included supporting the self-assessment, SMART Goal Setting and Education Plan Development, Exemplars for Formative and Summative Report Writing, Collecting and Reviewing Artifacts of Practice (Evidence), and Conducting Effective Observations and Providing Master-Oriented Feedback.

Title III Grant Supports No-Cost, Remote, Two-Credit EL Graduate Course
During Spring 2020, CREST’s Title III Grant offered “Effectively Teaching English Learners In Your Class,” for 31 teachers of immigrant students across Pentucket, Amesbury, Dracut, and Newburyport districts. Taught by Margaret Biedron of Dracut, and Chrissa Pissios of Newburyport; both ESL District Coordinators, their instruction focused on how language is learned in content area classrooms while building new strategies of skillful EL teaching through discussions, reflection, and observation.

New CREST Remote Job-Alike Groups
CREST professionals established six (6) specific job-alike groups for professionals from 20 public school districts, and two collaboratives. Each group meeting provided a forum for like professionals to share problems of practice and engage in solution focused problem solving. Six one hour virtual sessions occurred from March through June. The Job-Alike Forums included Speech and Language, Occupational Therapy, BCBA/Behavior Analysts, Intensive Special Needs, Physical Therapy, and School Counselors. This remote PD model was well-received with 93 specialists earning PDP certificates of completion.

5th Annual Northeast Professional Educators Network (NPEN)
On November 5, CREST hosted 225 teachers from 27 districts for a full day of professional development for substantially separate teachers and special education leadership at Branch Street and Northern Essex Community College. The day’s professional learning included Restorative Justice Practices for Teachers and Administrators, Alexa – can you engage, empower, and educate students with complex education needs?, the Accessible Chromebook, and Using ACE Skills, Lessons, and Data to Build MCAS-Alt Portfolios.

Spring 2020 Online Paraprofessional Training Course Partnership with Accept Education Collaborative
Over 88 CREST support staff completed an all virtual, 24 hour course, that integrated research-based information and teaching strategies. Reading materials and video learning segments combined as resources for six modules on the topics of disabilities and learning styles, managing challenging behaviors, social-emotional learning, academic accommodations and modifications, building self-determination, and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) in the classroom.