Three SERC PBIS trainers among first to get endorsed through TOT

A select group of endorsed Northeast trainers of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) now includes three SERC consultants, making SERC the agency with the most endorsed trainers to date.

SERC’s Eben McKnight was among the first of just five in Connecticut and Massachusetts to receive the endorsement. As of December 2017, with the addition of Amanda Pickett and Missy Wrigley, three of the seven endorsed trainers are from SERC. Additional SERC consultants are expected to receive the endorsement in 2018 and 2019, as the agency continues to build its capacity as a leading PBIS trainer in Southern New England.

The Northeast PBIS Network “Training of Trainers” (TOT) is funded under Connecticut’s School Climate Transformation Grant (SCTG), which is intended to help Connecticut implement a multi-tiered intervention framework across the state. One of the goals of the grant is developing a network of trainers to provide training, support, and coaching to districts on implementation.

Once their training is completed, participants are endorsed as a Northeast PBIS trainer. Endorsed trainers receive ongoing TOT activities and trainings, have access to a comprehensive support network, including extensive training materials, and build connections with partners locally and nationally.

The Northeast PBIS Network conducts the training through collaboration between the CT State Department of Education and Center for Behavioral Education and Research (CBER) at the University of Connecticut. Eben, who earned a master’s degree in special education from the University of Connecticut last spring, is Connecticut’s representative on the Northeast Network Advisory Group.

In addition to receiving ongoing training, SERC’s endorsed trainers continue to share with others statewide and nationally:

  • At the Northeast PBIS Forum in Mystic, Eben co-presented on using the “drill-down” feature of the School-Wide Information System (SWIS) to address disproportionality in discipline.
  • Also at the forum, Amanda and SERC’s Sarah L. Jones, who is the statewide coordinator of Connecticut’s SCTG, presented on introducing Tier II interventions into a system of support.
  • SERC and CSDE representatives presented at the forum with preliminary data on the School-wide PBIS Tiered Fidelity Inventory (TFI) that assess PBIS implementation. Later, at the SCTG Project Directors Meeting in Chicago, Sarah presented a revised poster on Connecticut’s SCTG and TFI Data.
  • SERC’s PBIS consultants stay connected to the latest research and practices in PBIS. In November they attended the 13th Annual New England PBIS Forum hosted by the May Institute in Norwood, Mass. Upon return, the consultants provided their SERC colleagues with an overview and practice based on some of the learning at the New England event.
Connecticut was one of 12 states to receive an SCTG. For more information, go to

SERC consultants become licensed restorative practices trainers

SERC has prepared to support schools seeking to implement a more flexible school-wide approach to behavior policies and practices.

Amanda Pickett and Sarah L. Jones have participated in the Trainer of Trainers (TOT) through the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP), which covers how to provide instruction in the various elements of restorative practices. They are now licensed IIRP trainers in “Introduction to Restorative Practices” and “Using Circles Effectively,” and provide training and technical assistance in aligning these practices.

Restorative practices are used to build community and respond to challenging behavior through authentic dialogue, coming to understanding, and making things right, according to IIRP. For more information about licensed trainers at IIRP, go to

For professional learning and technical assistance opportunities in this area, contact Amanda at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Sarah at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SERC holds Capitol ceremony for parent leaders

SERC honored nine Connecticut parents with a Parental Involvement Recognition Award at a November 16 ceremony at the State Capitol.

The setting demonstrates the importance of family engagement to schools and communities across Connecticut. SERC and the CT Parent Information and Resource Center (CT PIRC), which is operated by SERC, have issued parent awards nearly every year since 2012 in collaboration with the Connecticut Commission on Women, Children and Seniors (CWCS).

The 2017 awards went to Nasreen Al Omari of East Hartford, Rachel Chaleski of Danbury, Jean Kovitch of Bristol, Marie Moorning of New Haven, Tatiana Ponder of Bloomfield, Erica Poplawski of Thompson, Veronica Rosario of East Hartford, Kristine SanGiovanni of East Haven, and M. Jeffry Spahr, Esq., of Norwalk.

SERC calls on Connecticut schools, program coordinators, and others to nominate parents who have shown active involvement in their child’s or children’s school or community; support of their local school and contributions to high-quality education for all children; evidence of their ability to make a difference in their local school or community; and dedication and advocacy to ensure equity for all parents and their children. Most of the awardees were introduced at the ceremony by an individual who had nominated them, such as a school or district administrator.

Speakers at the Connecticut ceremony included Wendy Waithe Simmons, SERC’s director of development, community affairs, and equity; Ingrid M. Canady, SERC executive director; Steven Hernandez, CWCS executive director; and Nancy Leonard, senior program officer with the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund. SERC Project Assistant Lauren Johns presented each awardee with their certificate and small glass plaque.

SERC holds the award ceremony on National Parental Involvement Day, created by the St. Louis-based organization Project Appleseed. To inquire about future Connecticut awards, contact Lauren at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For SERC’s social media coverage of the 2017 awards, see

SERC’s Election Day PD covers the bases

SERC consultants panned across the state on Election Day 2017 to provide their annual support to school districts reserving the day for professional development.

Some of the topics SERC provided were: leading for transformational change, Secondary Transition IEPs, standards-based IEPs for special educators, reading supports for paraeducators, instructional strategies and active learning, Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) curriculum development and standards-based reporting, and follow-up training on assistive technology and accessible educational materials.

To inquire about in-district training or technical assistance, contact Alice Henley at 860-632-1485 x311 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SERC announces closed days

SERC is implementing a series of administrative furlough days in response to a budget shortfall for the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

SERC will be closed on December 26, 27, and 28; and the following Mondays: January 8 and 29; March 5 and 12; and April 2, 9, and 30. Under the guidelines of the furlough, all SERC operations must be officially closed on those days, and SERC staff will be unavailable. SERC will operate under normal business hours on all other business days.

For additional information, please refer to our full announcement here.