February 9, 2016
Did you know that Keystone has a Teacher Advisory Committee? We do! This great team of Keystone educators has been discussing many topics and is currently working to provide recommendations to address our need for training to support reading and math. Like many special education agencies, Keystone faces many challenges when it comes to providing skilled staff members to support special education efforts. Here at Keystone we are blessed with some of the very best, most highly qualified professionals and para-educators in the state. The challenge comes as we look to hire new staff members who are in short supply. Sometimes we’re faced with hiring professionals who don’t have a background in special education and may not have an extensive background related to reading strategies and instructional practices. We have to provide them with a foundation to ensure that they can address the needs of our special needs students. The staff members who we employ as para-educators come to us from a wide variety of backgrounds as well. We want to ensure that they have had a chance to develop an understanding of the components of reading and have been exposed to direct instruction strategies that are effective so that they can better support the reading instruction in all classrooms.
We hope to start by providing training for new staff members, both teachers and paras, during the summer to address this need. We would follow up with training in the fall and again in the spring to connect with new staff members who have been recently hired. Once we have training for reading in place, we’ll turn our attention to math. Stay tuned for more updates as plans are finalized and implemented.