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Archived News: Across Virginia
March 2013

Individual and Family Support Application is Now Online!

News from the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services -- The new Individual and Family Support Program (IFSP) is now open and ready for business. This program supports families who have a family member on the ID or DD waiting list with up to $3000 year for supports and services. A limited amount of money is available for the year, so funds will be distributed on a first come basis. Visit the Office of Developmental Services page on the DBHDS website for more information and to access an application. The information can be found under "Announcements.”


Virginia ABA Consortium Announces Start of Second Cohort!

The Virginia ABA Consortium is currently accepting applications for the next cohort starting in June 2013! The Virginia ABA Consortium is a collaborative effort between four colleges/universities; George Mason University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Lynchburg College, and Old Dominion University. This Consortium offers courses in Applied Behavior Analysis, as well as an optional supervised internship, designed to prepare participants to sit for the BCBA examination.

Coursework is provided by each of the participating colleges/universities and students are able to attend their weekly classes at any one of the four locations. Professors teach class live from one of these sites and interactive videoconferencing and web conferencing technology is utilized so that all participants may see, participate, and interact with the professor and fellow students. Students will complete the courses as a group and each cohort of the Consortium is limited to 30 participants. The new cohort is scheduled to begin during the Summer 2013 semester. Courses would then be taken across four total semesters (Summer and Fall 2013 and Spring and Summer 2014). Class will be held on Monday evenings from 4:30pm to 9pm and each course will run for a 9 week period.

You must apply and be admitted to the Consortium. The online application can be found on the Consortium website. If you are accepted to the Consortium, you will be instructed on how to apply to your chosen university. Applications for the consortium must be received no later than May 1, 2013 for admission to the new cohort. Please visit the Virginia ABA Consortium page of the VCU-ACE website for more information.


Professional Learning Groups: Learning, Collaborating, and Growing as a Team

If you are in the educational field, you have heard the famous Confucius quote: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” It’s no secret that good teaching requires that skills are solidly learned to build a firm foundation of understanding. Concepts, once learned, may be built upon at later times to achieve more complex understanding. We are all aware that educators strive to create opportunities where their students can “do” or practice skills in real situations to ensure long term retention. The same principles should be applied to adult learning.

Several VCU-ACE divisions, supported by Technical Assistant Associate Noel Woolard, are using the professional learning group model to assist in the understanding of evidence-based teaching practices for teachers, administrators, and staff. Hampton City, Northumberland County, Lancaster County, and the Northern Neck Regional Special Education Program have found that Professional Learning Groups are an excellent way for teachers who share a common interest in a topic or subject area to learn and grow from each other in a collaborative team environment.

Prior to the implementation of each division’s professional learning group, teachers self-rated their understanding and skill expertise on specific evidence-based practices. This data was used to determine the practices that would be focused on for the school year. Meetings are held monthly or bi-monthly and last for less than an hour each time. Teachers come to each meeting having completed a “pre-learning” or implementation homework assignment. With the support of teachers who have taken a leadership role in their group, a brief overview, which supports the pre-learning assignment of the evidence-based practice, is given. Teachers and staff then complete a variety of activities that assist in understanding how to implement the practice in their classroom. The group concludes with the explanation of the next homework assignment. Educators participating in these Professional Learning Groups are then able to take what they have learned back to their colleagues and students for implementation in the classroom.

To learn more about the professional learning group model visit Learning Forward Virginia and ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and CurriculumDevelopment).


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