September 4, 2014

Teacher Evaluation Tools That YOU Can Use!

Are you an administrator who supports teachers who work with students with ASD? Do you struggle with finding appropriate tools to measure teacher effectiveness? Or, are you a teacher who feels that your division’s current teacher evaluation tools don’t necessarily address the instructional strategies and supports that you use on a daily basis?

As the school year begins, administrators will be meeting with teachers they support in the buildings. They will be creating SMART goals and talking about instructional planning for the school year. For some teachers who work with students with ASD, administrators may struggle with evaluation across the 7 teacher performance standards outlined by The Virginia Department of Education’s Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria.

VCU-ACE recognized the need for teachers and administrators to have appropriate, clearly defined expectations when working with students with ASD. Thus, in collaboration with autism professionals across the state of Virginia, two tools have been created that will be helpful to administrators evaluating and supporting teachers working with students with ASD.

The Autism Spectrum Disorder Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria and the accompanying Rubric created by VCU-ACE provide clear indicators for teacher performance. These Performance Standards also align with the Virginia Department of Education's Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria. To view these VCU-ACE documents and learn more about them, please visit our ASD Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria page. After you have the opportunity to use the tools we would welcome any feedback that you may have. Please send any questions or feedback to Noel Woolard at

VCU-ACE Tiered Model of Professional Development

Looking for resources and activities to improve your knowledge, skills and the services that are provided to individuals with autism spectrum disorder? Then the Tiered Model of Professional Development may be just for you!

The Tiered Model of Professional Development provides an array of training activities designed to meet the multi-levels of learners and division leaders throughout the state of Virginia. Whether you are new to the field, a professional developing your skills, a parent seeking information, or a division leader looking to refine practices and procedures within your school or division, the VCU-ACE Tiered Model of Professional Development has resources and activities to assist in meeting your needs.

Individual learners will find that many of the training activities can be completed to obtain continuing education units and points towards recertification of teacher licensure.

Division leaders can use the VCU-ACE training activities as a way to provide professional development within the division. The training activities can be selected and required for an individual educator or groups of educators to complete. In some cases, the training activities can be completed independently by the educators in your division, while in other cases, it will be beneficial to provide supplemental professional development that will further promote understanding and implementation.

No matter what your role may be, the Tiered Model can work for you!

Communication Inventories Now Available

VCU-ACE is excited to offer two new tools for educators working on communication skills with their students! In addition to our other resources and information on Communication developed through our State Goal work, we are happy to offer these two Inventories for educators to use with students who have difficulties in the area of communication.

The first tool is the Expressive and Receptive Inventory for Emerging Language Learners. This Inventory has been designed for teams to use with students who have limited communication skills so they can look at skills to target. The Inventory looks at both expressive and receptive communication skills. Teams can use the Inventory to determine priority areas for instruction which can in turn lead to meaningful goal development. To access the Inventory, please visit our website. A webcast has been developed explaining how to use this Inventory.

The second tool is the Augmentative and Alternative Communication Inventory. This Inventory includes a number of pieces that help teams look at the student’s needs and determine a mode(s) of communication that is appropriate to teach that student. The Inventory includes a Feature Analysis that looks at the different needs of the student to help best match them with the system(s) that will meet those needs. To access the Inventory, please visit our website. A webcast has also been developed explaining how to use this Inventory.

For additional information on either of these tools, please contact Selena Layden at

Start Your Year with the Foundations!

Our newly revised Foundations of Autism course begins October 27. This course provides participants with an understanding of the primary characteristics of ASD, which include impairments in communication and social development and the presence of repetitive patterns of behavior. Secondary characteristics, including sensory processing differences and motor deficits are also explored. The course discusses the impact ASD has on the person as well as the family unit. The course also provides an overview of learning styles, the history, cause, and early signs of ASD. Register now!

Progressing Through Transition: A Young Man’s Perspective

Justin George is a young man with autism and ADHD. He also has anxiety. This webcast will be delivered by Justin. In his own words, he will discuss how strategies, people and placements helped him move from middle school, high school and now to college. Strategies on how he moved forward became more self-determined and have used his interests and love of amateur radio and weather reporting to continue to become more successful as he continues to progress through his transitions in life will be discussed.
This webcast will air on Tuesday, September 9 at 3:30 p.m. Register now to view this compelling webcast!