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, the team has developed and implemented two surveys on teacher attrition and vacancy. The team will use this data to determine targeted areas for addressing teacher shortages. A team including LEAs is selecting strategies specifically related to special education teacher shortages to pilot. In addition, current recruitment efforts have been targeted through online recruitment fairs and through partnerships with local school districts through Grow Your Own programs such as Teacher Academy.