How do rural schools attract teachers? How do districts attract special educators? Technical assistance helps districts in three states stay staffed.

Technical assistance helps schools in three states stay staffed

Many states grapple with a problem that plagues both education and special education: How do they keep rural schools staffed with teachers? And how do they replace baby boomers as they retire?

The Technical Assistance for Excellence in Special Education center’s Dale Brown is working with three states to find a positive answer. He is a program coordinator who provides information technology services to state departments of education in Arizona, Iowa and Nebraska.

TAESE at Utah State University is the CPD’s largest technical assistance provider. Through the center, Brown contracts with the three state departments to link job seekers to education jobs and provide other technical support. His main tool is recruiting websites. Focusing on education in general helps bolster both education and special education, he said. TAESE is able to provide services that help states place educators in schools that otherwise might not have found them—and the states receive the services without having to hire their own full-time staff.

The numbers tell the story. Brown provides technical assistance for three Arizona websites that recruit, provide professional development and track data in order to fine-tune teacher training. Thanks to the arizondeducationjobs.com website, around 1500 education jobs were filled in 2008. In 2007, 3000 jobs were filled. In addition, the professional development website has attracted 35,000 subscribers.

In Iowa, Norma Lynch has watched the impact of Internet recruiting for years. “It has been extremely successful,” said the personnel development consultant for the Iowa Department of Education. When they launched the Teach Iowa website in 2000, Brown went to conferences and conventions, urging school districts to use the website to post job openings. “They [the districts] soon found that it was a successful recruitment tool, and free.”

Read the whole story on the CPD's website.

CPD by the numbers

The CPD's six faculty fellows direct several CPD-affiliated programs where more than 36 graduate and undergraduate students are employed.

New year, new faculty fellows at the CPD

The Center for Persons with Disabilities will ring in the new year with a group of fellows—faculty members from other parts of campus who have a relationship with the CPD. Members of this group employ and teach students and trainees in CPD programs. They conduct research on CPD projects and provide services to people with disabilities and their families.

They took on projects that grew beyond their original scope, said CPD Director Bryce Fifield. The Faculty Fellows designation recognizes them for their work in the disability community. The CPD offers training, outreach, program development and real-world experience for faculty members and their students. Two of the six new fellows are featured here. Look for more profiles in a future featured story on the CPD home page.

Dr. Thomas Higbee

Dr. Thomas Higbee

As a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Higbee has published and presented at the state and national level. Throughout his career, he has worked with children with autism and other developmental disabilities in homes, centers and school-based programs. Through workshops and consultation, he has trained teachers and related service providers in school districts in four states.

His research focuses on techniques that help individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities develop appropriate communication, academic, social, and life skills. His articles been published in Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Journal of Special Education Technology, and Education and Treatment of Children and Rural Special Education Quarterly.

Keith Christensen

Keith Christensen

Prior to joining the faculty of the Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Department, Keith Christensen worked as a research scientist with the CPD. There he explored the relationship between design and social access, social values, human rights and social justice. Those interests are continued in his current research on how different types of play environments affect the play of all children. While an accessible playground may allow children to physically use play equipment, he is interested in finding out how different environments affect social interaction.

Keith developed and continues to direct Beyond Access, a technical assistance program on inclusive play environments for children with disabilities. The program works with industry partners, consumers and advocates to create inclusive play environments which recognize the child’s right to equal play, full participation and independence.

His research has been published in the Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation and the Journal of Architectural and Planning Research.

 

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