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Helping Educators Make Dreams Come True for Kids with Disabilities

ZackSuccess stories such as those of Zach, a student with autism about to graduate with a degree in journalism Emilyand engaged to be married, and Emily, a student with mental health issues who is succeeding in college in spite of her challenges keep T/TAC staff energized and focused on "the prize"—student success through a quality education.


The Training and Technical Assistance Center at the College of William and Mary (T/TAC W&M) has just received another grant for $1,493,862 for 2011-13 to continue its work in support of educational professionals serving school-age students with mild and moderate disabilities in Eastern Virginia. T/TAC W&M, now in its 16th year, is part of a statewide network funded through the Virginia Department of Education with monies from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Under the direction of SOE faculty member, Lori Korinek, and T/TAC co-directors Denyse Doerries and Sue Land, the T/TAC staff provides a variety of request-based services and assistance to improve student education through enhanced professional practice. Services include workshops, small group assistance, longer-term technical assistance, information searches, a lending library, quarterly newsletters, and a website with a wealth of resources. Services and resources are generally free of charge and tailored to meet the needs of the requesting schools and educators. Informational resources are also available to family members.

Educators change the lives of students. T/TAC W&M helps to ensure these positive changes for students with disabilities and others at-risk by working with their teachers and other school professionals to hone their skills, share evidence-based practices, and coach educators as they learn new techniques. T/TAC specialists also collaborate with school leadership to make schools learning communities where both teachers and students thrive.  Some of the major T/TAC initiatives being implemented in schools include Effective Schoolwide Discipline, Instructional Consultation Teams, Transition Services, Inclusive Practices, and Literacy and Academic Instruction. Through these projects and by responding to professional development requests from school personnel, T/TAC W&M specialists enhance the effectiveness of educators in providing the specialized instruction and supports that students with disabilities and others who struggle with learning and behavior need to succeed—and to accomplish their dreams. A typical work week for one of  T/TAC W&M's specialists may involve...

helping a classroom teacher find an effective reading strategy for a student with comprehension problems,

consulting with a team of teachers, family members, and an administrator to brainstorm positive behavior techniques for a student with autism,

coaching co-teachers to deliver instruction in a general education class that includes five students with varying disabilities,

working with a central office team consisting of the assistant superintendent, the special education director, instructional specialists, and school representatives to develop a vision for their inclusive program,

presenting a workshop on learning strategies for the content areas for a group of special educators,

offering support to a new teacher tearfully asking for help in organizing her classroom,

writing an article for the newsletter about effective ways to increase students' self-determination.