The Inglewood Unified School District is doing something very “special” this year with targeted professional development. The Special Education Department is led by Marjorie Rudy, Executive Director of Special Education and Compliance and Dr. Alejandra Velez-Erickson, Director of Special Education.
Together, they are focused on ensuring that every special education teacher and general education teacher understands how to stay in compliance and provide rigorous instruction. In order to do so, it is their goal to provide targeted professional development that focus on writing effective IEPs, attainable goals, accommodations and modifications, emotional intelligence, and how to integrate these strategies in the general education classroom.
It is delightful to hear them talk more about the student’s abilities than disabilities. When asked about the various disabilities that students have, both of them see the “glass half full” and spend more time talking about what students can do and how to go from there.
Velez-Erickson says, “They have unique abilities and it is our responsibility to enable them to become productive citizens in this society, active learners, and as independent as they can be.” She also says there is an important part for parents to play as students matriculate through school. They need to have ongoing communication with their child’s teacher, asking open-ended questions, and listening to them. This empowers students to explain their day and what they are learning. This also builds vocabulary, speaking and listening skills.
The Special Education team believes if they provide targeted professional development that is steeped in deep collaboration, more teachers, both special education teachers and general education teachers will learn new strategies and share their expertise to provide rigorous instruction to all students.