1) Inclusive Teacher and Leader Preparation and Practice: Efforts are focused on aligning High-leverage Practices (HLPS), Evidence-based Practices (EBPs) with Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and culturally and linguistically responsive practices for use among all teachers and leaders within MS. To support their efforts, the MS team is developing common language related to inclusive practices to be used statewide, provides professional development on HLPs, and is reviewing state program guidelines to ensure alignment.
2) Policy: There are several current policy initiatives underway. These include drafting statewide guidelines for induction and mentoring, and a coordinating license; revising preparation program review for required teacher education courses in classroom and behavior management and introduction for special education. In addition, the team is drafting a special education director’s license and considering a plan for development of P-20 collaboratives.
3) Recruitment and Retention: To combat teacher shortages across MS, this committee is working in partnership with TeachPlus MS to develop recommendations for a statewide data dashboard. The goal is to be able to use this data dashboard to help identify and target teacher recruitment and retention efforts based upon local needs.
Additionally, in collaboration with local school districts, the team piloted an induction and mentoring program specifically for novice special educators, with the goal of retaining these teachers. The state department is planning to scale-up the induction and mentoring program for novice special educators statewide.