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News from Across Virginia

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Project PASS Kicks Off in Chesapeake

In Chesapeake City Public Schools, a new early childhood special education grant project began this fall. The project, titled Project PASS (Preparing for Academic and Social Success), is designed to assist early childhood special educators and team members working with preschoolers with ASD and developmental disabilities. The goal is to build critical foundation skills required for independence, academics and social success for preschoolers prior to transitioning to the Least Restrictive Environment.

Project PASS focuses on:

  • Identifying and building student skill areas in the least restrictive environment
  • Providing professional development to ECSE teachers and related services professionals
  • Developing and implement steps for a smooth transition to kindergarten

The current Project PASS team consists of two early childhood special educators, related service personnel, an embedded coach from VCU-ACE, special education administrators, and primary school building administrators. The team is located at B.M. Williams Primary School and meets for professional development meetings once a month. The embedded coach is on-site at the school frequently during the school week.

The team is focusing on developing student and teacher goals, implementing evidenced-based supports and strategies, and ongoing coaching. The ongoing coaching is embedded within the early childhood classroom setting. Once the PASS model is completed the hope is to expand training models for early childhood programs state-wide. The VCU-ACE team is excited to be a part of this collaboration with the Chesapeake early childhood special education team to prepare preschoolers for academic and social success.

 

Exciting Activities in Franklin County

Franklin County, one of the Cohort 2 selected divisions, is making great strides in improving services for students with ASD. Many initiatives have started including a PLC (Professional Learning Community) for all who are interested in learning about Evidenced Based Practices. The first 3 part series was on Visual Supports. The three part series includes:

  • a presentation about visual support use in the school setting
  • a follow-up 2 weeks later where participants come back and share what they have developed for their classes
  • participants go back to their school and present the information at the next faculty meeting.

This series will be repeated for differential reinforcement in the spring.

The Benjamin Franklin Middle School Social Skills Club has begun and takes place weekly after school. Led by Peggy Fisher, the students will be taught social skills through the structure of the PEERS® curriculum , developed at UCLA by Drs. Elizabeth Laugeson and Fred Frankel, is an evidence-based group social skills program that helps adolescents and young adults learn, practice, and generalize skills needed for success in family, school, and community.

Finally, FCPS has embraced the coaching model and has begun coaching in elementary schools across the division. Through embedded training and coaching, coordinators in FCPS have learned the art of coaching and are taking this practice to heart to impact change across the division.

 

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