Fife School District: A Promising Practice to Maximize Outcomes of Professional Development for Teachers

DO-IT Factsheet #344

Too often conference attendance benefits only one teacher and his/her students. A team of special education teachers from the Fife School District [1], however, took concrete steps to maximize the benefit of attendance at the Council for Exceptional Children [2] (CEC) Convention and Expo. They sought to learn and apply strategies for including students with disabilities in general education science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) classes in their schools.

The CEC Convention promotes professional excellence to meet the educational needs of individuals with disabilities worldwide. Attending this annual event gave the team of teachers opportunities to network with educators from many countries. A common thread among the attendees was a vision to fully include all students in general education classes. The team attended a full day of training, participated in breakout sessions, and visited several special education programs in Utah. Training sessions included information on educational strategies as well as research on evidence-based practices.

The team made plans to partner with general education teachers to:

This strategic team approach to gain knowledge and implement lessons learned through professional development is a cost-effective promising practice. The participating teachers developed concrete strategies based on their learning and developed an implementation plan to apply promising practices themselves as well as involve other teachers for the purpose of increasing the success of students with disabilities in STEM. Their approach assures that the impact of funding for this activity extends far beyond what would be accomplished through practices in the classrooms of teachers who attended the convention.

This project was funded through an AccessSTEM [3] Minigrant, which was available to teachers in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

AccessSTEM [4] mingrants were funded under The Alliance for Students with Disabilities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (AccessSTEM, Research in Disabilities Education award # HRD-0227995).