In the Loop ~ Professional Learning

Special Education Campus Staff Newsletter: April 2023

Why Summer PD?

SUMMER: the one word that makes ALL educators smile!

As spring begins, the very idea of summer is filled with such excitement and promise. I know you all are already planning to spend time connecting with your friends/family, traveling, creating, exploring or just doing nothing to allow yourself time to recharge. While all of those activities are VERY important, summertime is actually the best time for professional growth and development. Summer PD is the time you get to be the student and dive into interesting, inspiring, and meaningful learning opportunities that will challenge and grow you as an educator in Alief ISD.

The most important step for completing PD in the summer is planning...planning for YOU! Calendar out the "fun" activities along with your professional growth and development so you can strike the right balance. The district will be open Monday - Saturday in June to provide staff additional opportunities to work summer PD into their schedules. You can still enjoy the long weekends, family vacations, much needed relaxation, and structure your PD courses in-between.

Completing your PD during the summer will ensure you are ready to start the 2023-24 school year with the knowledge, tools, and resources you need to do something different or better for the benefit of your students this upcoming year. A little planning in April will help you attend summer PD, recharge your soul for the new school year, and still find time for all the summer fun you deserve.

Enjoy your summer break!


Did you know...

Teachers and paraprofessionals are paid for a 187 day contract. Our 2023-24 district calendar reflects 185 days for staff beginning August 2, 2023 through May 24, 2024. That leaves 2 days (14 hours) of paid time for professional learning. While the district allows these hours to be completed off contract through February 2024, we encourage all staff to attend professional learning during the summer so we are ready to implement our new learning on the first day of the 2023-24 school year.

In Alief, the goal of Professional Learning is to increase student achievement by providing a rich variety of brain-friendly learning resources for all Alief staff members. While our staff are the ones required to attend/engage in professional learning, the students are the ones that ultimately benefit because teachers who know more have students who know more.

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If you have questions about which learning plan you should reference, please contact your campus administrator or program coordinator.


House Bill 159 & Staff Development

House Bill (HB) 159 was written to improve training and staff development for primary and secondary educators to enable them to more effectively serve all students, including students with disabilities. Under the terms of the bill, the State Board for Educator Certification would propose rules that specify what each educator is expected to know and be able to do, particularly regarding students with disabilities. Future educator certification will now require demonstration of the following skills/knowledge:

  • Basic knowledge of each disability category under IDEA and how each category can affect student learning and development
  • Basic knowledge of conditions that could be considered a disability under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and how a condition can affect student learning and development
  • Competence in the use of instructional planning techniques that:
    • Reduce barriers in instruction
    • Provide appropriate accommodations, supports, and challenges
    • Maintain high achievement expectations for all students, including students with disabilities and students of limited English proficiency
  • Competence in the use of evidence-based instructional practices, including:
    • General and special education collaborative and co-teaching models and approaches
    • Multitiered systems of support, including response to intervention strategies, classroom and school-level collaborative structures, and evidence-based strategies for intervention and progress monitoring systems
    • Classroom management techniques using evidence-based behavioral intervention strategies and supports
    • Appropriate adaptation strategies, including accommodations, modifications, and instruction in the use of assistive technology for instruction

Because we already have our teaching certificates, this bill influences staff development utilized by school districts. The bill also requires the qualification for principal certification to emphasize the principal’s ability to create an inclusive school environment and to foster parent involvement, as well as curriculum and instruction management for students with disabilities.

2023-24 Special Ed Teacher PL Catalog

To address HB 159, the special education department has created learning plans for all current special education teacher job roles. We have also created general education teacher and campus administrator learning plans.

2023-24 Special Ed Para PL Catalog

To address HB 159, the special education department has created learning plans for all current and new paraprofessionals.

TEA Learn

TEALearn is the new professional development hub for Texas educators! Explore the TEALearn course catalog to discover new learning opportunities and find longtime favorites from the old platform.