A momentous September at SERC leads us into a busy and exciting 2016-2017 school year!
The first month of the 2016-17 school year was one of the most significant ever for SERC: The agency gained a new permanent Executive Director.
On Sept. 26, SERC’s Board of Directors officially selected Ingrid M. Canady to lead the 47-year-old agency, which last had a new director nearly 30 years ago. Ingrid had served as interim director for nearly two years.
The Board, which was formed in 2014 under a new law that established SERC as a quasi-public agency, conducted a thorough nationwide search for a new executive director following the retirement of Marianne Kirner.
“We have been extremely fortunate to have Ingrid be among those at SERC who is able and qualified for this position,” said George A. Coleman, SERC’s Interim Board Chairperson. “She has demonstrated to the Board her competence and passion for this work.”
Ingrid joined SERC in 2003. Prior to her appointment as Interim Executive Director, she served as Associate Director, the Assistant Director for Program Development and Partnerships for Equity, Workforce Development Coordinator, and SERC Education Consultant.
“I’m truly blessed and honored to be part of SERC’s future,” Ingrid said. “I look forward to the continued work with the Board of Directors, staff, and partners as we create an equitable and supportive educational environment on behalf of our children and families.”
Before the school year began, SERC consultants traveled to several districts for their back-to-school professional development. Some highlights are included below.
- Hamden educators received an overview of the Educational Benefit Review Process. This process is designed to assess whether IEPs provide educational benefit—i.e., whether they increase student access to, participation in, and progress in general education.
- Large groups of paraeducators with Hartford Public Schools received overviews of autism, IEPs and the inclusive classroom, and collaboration (the groups for this topic also included behavior specialists and teachers).
- In Regional School District 16, SERC consultants covered critical reading and thinking skills and CT Core math standards.
- In Manchester Public Schools, SERC covered collaborative teaching for bilingual students—partnering With ELL Staff to Support Language Acquisition.
- Bethel, Norwich, and Plainfield were among districts learning about mental health, social-emotional and executive functioning, de-escalation, and related topics. Some other districts received training related to their schools’ participation in Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS).
September also includes the CSDE Bureau of Special Education’s annual Back to School meeting, which SERC runs. CSDE’s Mike Tavernier and SERC’s Stephen Proffitt led the planning of this year’s event, held Sept. 14. This year marked the first with the BSE Chief, Isabelina Rodriguez, holding the additional role of Chief Academic Officer. Margie Gillis of Literacy How delivered a keynote on dyslexia.
Finally, 2016-17 marks another year of the Parent Trust Fund, administered by SERC and its CT Parent Information and Resource Center (CT PIRC) through a partnership with CSDE. In September, SERC staff reviewed the grant proposals for supporting parent leadership training programs across Connecticut.
The Parent Trust Fund Collaborative Management Team includes representatives from SERC/CT PIRC; the CSDE; the CT Center for School Change; the CT Commission on Women, Children & Seniors; the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund; and the University of Connecticut College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources, Department of Extension. The grant is funded by the CSDE with additional support from the Graustein Fund.
Winners in this competitive year are expected to be announced in October.