School Division-Wide Intervention
VCU-ACE implements a school division-wide systems change process to result in improved services at every level of the school division for students with ASD and similar educational needs. The VCU-ACE model of school division-wide technical assistance is the provision of technical assistance to top-level directors and administrators to improve their understanding of the implementation of evidence based practices for students with ASD across the age range, as well as implementation of direct modeling and coaching to classroom teachers, therapists, and paraprofessionals.
School division-wide technical assistance is provided to selected school divisions through a competitive application process. School divisions selected to participate will receive two to three days a week of embedded technical assistance from VCU-ACE Technical Assistance Associates for three years.
Technical Assistance is individualized and is driven by the needs of the school division. Upon initiation of services by VCU-ACE, Technical Assistance Associates assist selected school divisions in completing a self-assessment and developing a Services Improvement Plan. These plans provide data based targets and define the exact technical assistance and training activities that will take place in the division. These plans provide a coordinated approach to division-wide systems change, professional development, coaching, mentoring, and services improvement. VCU-ACE Technical Assistance Associates guide practice and facilitate implementation of the plan. In addition, Technical Assistance Associates collect data and revise technical assistance efforts based on ongoing data based decision-making.
Technical assistance will:
- Substantially increase the technical skills and knowledge of staff, including principals, teachers, school psychologists, speech therapists, related services personnel, and administrators.
- Improve the quality of instructional practices used by special educators.
- Increase child study teams' ability to accurately identify and assess students with ASD.
- Increase knowledge and implementation of Individual Positive Behavior Support Strategies.
- Increase the quality of IEP development in terms of relevance, functionality, and measurability of goals and objectives.
- Increase the ability of general education staff to implement federally required accommodations and modifications to meet the needs of students with ASD.
- Increase the knowledge of school personnel, students, and parents in the use of handheld assistive technology.
- Increase parent participation and satisfaction with school division services.
- Increase the knowledge and skills of administrators in guiding special and general education teachers who teach students with ASD.
- Increase knowledge of transition planning, secondary intervention, social skills competence, and benefits counseling.
Selection of School Divisions Receiving Technical Assistance
The initial application process and selection of schools for VCU-ACE Technical Assistance began in January 2011. To receive technical assistance, school divisions were asked to complete and submit an application to VCU-ACE describing current service delivery for students with ASD, identifying needs, and outlining division-wide goals. The response for the request for applications for participation in the VCU Autism Center for Excellence Division Wide Exemplary Services to Support Students with ASD Project far exceeded expectations. The application review committee carefully analyzed 41 proposals using a screening tool and numeric scoring rubric in order to determine the divisions most ready to engage in a "bottom up-top down" division-wide embedded technical assistance process. After much consideration and deliberation, 12 divisions were chosen.
Congratulations to the school divisions selected! We at VCU-ACE believe the response to the call for applications shows Virginia's commitment to target service delivery for our students with ASD!
School Divisions Receiving Technical Assistance, 2011 - 2014
Click on the links below to find out more information on the 12 school divisions currently receiving Technical Assistance through VCU-ACE. You can learn about the division's vision, mission, and beliefs as well as see members of the Autism Services Improvement Team (ASIT). Each division has developed an ASIT consisting of individuals from different disciplines who have a vested interest in the education of students with ASD. Each team's composition varies; however, each member works towards goal implementation.
- Botetourt County
- Greensville County
- Henrico County
- Newport News
- Northern Neck Regional Program - (Lancaster, Northumberland, Richmond County, Town of Colonial Beach Public Schools)
- Richmond City
- Wise County
Applications for Technical Assistance in Cohort Two (2014-2017) Now Being Accepted!
The Virginia Commonwealth University Autism Center for Excellence (VCU-ACE) is requesting applications from school divisions who wish to become exemplary sites in the provision of high quality educational services and supports for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). VCU-ACE will select four to six school divisions through a competitive review process. Successful applications will demonstrate a clearly defined strategy for long-term systemic changes across the entire school division with a clear understanding and plan for focused work in three key areas:
- Division-wide Coaching,
- Administrative Knowledge and Support, and
- Fidelity of Implementation of Evidence-Based Practices.
The submission process is as follows:
|Application available:||November 2013|
|Application due:||January 15, 2014|
|Notice of selection:||March 3, 2014|
|Division assessment:||March - April, 2014|
|Autism Excellence Academy:||June 2014|
|Year One implementation:||August 2014 - July 2015|
|Year Two implementation:||August 2015 - July 2016|
|Year Three implementation:||August 2016 - July 2017|