The goal of the Leadership Initiative is to provide professional development opportunities that assist leaders across educational disciplines in improving student achievement, including students with disabilities. Through a variety of interactive sessions with job-embedded, reflective opportunities, educational leaders engage with their peers to collaboratively examine relevant issues.
The Leadership Initiative was created in 1998 to assist administrators from all educational disciplines with resources and supports to enhance instruction and effectively meet the needs of all students, including students with disabilities. This initiative was designed to provide administrators with a more relevant and cohesive program of professional development offerings.
The Leadership Initiative is the merger of several previously distinct professional development activities which are now combined into one comprehensive initiative:
• Enhancing Instructional Programs Within Schools: Training in Special Education Administration for Principals and Other Administrators: comprehensive seven-day training program focused on special education administration. It involves specific competencies in systems change and the unification of special and general education as per Connecticut's Standards for School Leaders. The program combines interactive seminars with job-embedded reflection to assist participants with application and utilization of information in educational practice. The Connecticut State Department of Education has agreed to accept full participation in all sessions and documentation of post-activity application as fulfillment of the 36 clock-hour special education certification requirement.
• Series on Supervision and Evaluation: workshops focusing on issues directly related to the supervision and evaluation of instructional staff. The Connecticut State Department of Education has agreed to accept participation in each session as partial requirements for P.A. 95-58 which mandates 15 hours of training (or 1.5 CEUs) in supervision and evaluation during a five year CEU cycle.
• ConnCASE Leadership Forums: designed to facilitate dialogue between special education administrators and representatives of the Connecticut State Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education and Pupil Services, on current issues in special education. Other similar programs also address relevant topics in special education for all administrators.
SERC receives ongoing assistance in the design and delivery of this program through collaboration with the Connecticut State Department of Education, Connecticut Council of Administrators of Special Education (ConnCASE), and SERC's Principals' Advisory Group.
The Administrators' Advisory Group, created in 1986, was an unanticipated outcome of the Training for Administrators in Special Education Administration Program. Upon completion of this training on special education administration, participants are welcome to become members of the advisory group. This cadre of administrators meet informally with the Director of SERC and other SERC and Connecticut State Department of Education staff with respect to the Leadership Initiative to provide input regarding professional development of interest to educational leaders.
Districts that are currently represented within the Principals' Advisory Group include: Baltic, Bloomfield, Chaplin, Danbury, Essex, Guilford, Madison, Middletown, New Britain, New Canaan, New Fairfield, North Branford, New Haven, North Haven, Orange, Preston, Putnam, Stafford, Thomaston, Tolland, Southington, Vernon, Wallingford, Waterbury, and West Haven.
For the past four years, the Connecticut State Department of Education has recognized the Training in Special Education Administration for Principals and Other Administrators Program as fulfilling the 36-clock hour necessary for administrators to receive special education certification. The series on Supervision and Evaluation has been designed to meet partial requirement for P.A. 95-98, which mandates 15 hours of training (or 1.5 CEUs) in supervision and evaluation skills during a five year CEU cycle.