Program Specialist in Assistive Technology and Intellectual Disabilities
The Virginia Department of Education’s Training and Technical Assistance Center (T/TAC) at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is seeking an experienced and dynamic professional to serve as a program specialist for personnel serving children and youth with disabilities. The professional will join a team of Program Specialists who provide training and technical assistance to schools, school divisions, and state-operated programs in the central and southside Virginia regions. This is a twelve-month non-tenure-track position that is grant-funded through June 30, 2023.
The Training and Technical Assistance Center's goal is to improve educational opportunities and contribute to the success of children and youth with disabilities (ages birth to 22) by increasing the capacity of school personnel, service providers, and families to meet the needs of children & youth with disabilities; and, to foster the state improvement goals for personnel development, which address improving the performance of children & youth with disabilities by enhancing the knowledge, skills, abilities, and performance of all personnel who work with them in Superintendent's Regions 1 and 8 of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
- Respond to the needs of school personnel in divisions/schools classified as needs improvement resulting in a Core Special Education Assessment(CSEA) visit as identified by the VDOE, by providing training and technical assistance in effective instructional strategies for students with disabilities in all content areas.
- Use a variety of training and technical assistance methods including in-person or virtual small and large group workshops, systems change processes, consultations, communities of practice, book clubs, web resources, distance training methods (i.e. webinars), literature searches, library information, consultation, electronic mail and video conferencing to provide training and technical assistance to personnel working with students with Intellectual Disabilities.
- Use a variety of training and technical assistance methods which promote the theory of Universal Design for Learning and respond to needs in assistive and instructional technology to assist students in gaining access to the general education curriculum (Standards of Learning/Virginia Essentialized Standards of Learning) and state assessments.Provide training related to Virginia Essentialized Standards of Learning (VESOL).Areas of need may include technology-related accommodations and modifications in all content areas, augmentative and alternative communication, computer and environmental access, reading and writing, and other AT for students with all disabilities.
- Assist with the acquisition and organization of resource materials pertaining to a variety of assistive technology (including augmentative communication devices and materials), program development, curriculum, and federal laws that govern services for students with disabilities for the two T/TAC libraries and assistive and instructional technology labs.This includes an understanding of how to use a variety of assistive technology devices including augmentative and alternative communication devices and apps and extensions, maintenance of AT devices, and the annual inventory of the assistive technology lab.
- Provide AT resources for students with significant disabilities including intellectual disabilities and physical disabilities.
- Participate in professional development to stay abreast of emerging and current assistive technologies.Assist other program specialists with professional development related to learning new assistive technologies (products and processes) and learning about evidence-based practices in working with students with disabilities.
- Assist with coordinating local and regional assistive technology groups/teams to include membership from schools, State Operated Programs and early intervention programs.Activities include assisting with needs assessments and supporting both in-person and virtual workshops and/or conferences.
- Promote and lead school divisions through a systems change process for developing and implementing assistive technology teams and promoting AT practices within inclusive environments(division/system-wide and/or school-wide).
- Assist teams in identifying resources, creating procedures, and learning to provide assistive technology consideration and assessment.
- Assist professionals and families in understanding evidence-based practices related to serving children and youth with Intellectual Disabilities and using assistive technology.
- Assist school divisions with needs assessments and provide support for systems change efforts related to serving children and youth with disabilities.
- Collaborate with the Virginia Department of Education,Statewide T/TACs, Partnership for People with Disabilities, Autism Center for Excellence, School of Education, local school divisions, and other professional and public agencies.
- Write E-blasts for publication to our listserv of consumers, and contribute to social media platforms postings.
- Actively participate as a member of the T/TAC Program Specialist Team, sharing all team responsibilities including facilitating team meetings, providing leadership on organizational teams, and collecting evaluation information.
- Participate on VDOE state-directed project teams including the AT Network and I'M Determined Project.
- Work independently and with teams on a variety of tasks to develop products to assist professionals, students, and families.
- Additional duties assigned by the Virginia Department of Education and the T/TAC Co-Directors and Program Specialists’ teams.This is an enterprise wide position
Minimum Education & Experience
- Valid Virginia teaching license or ability to obtain with endorsement in Intellectual Disabilities K-12 or similar license from another state.
- A Master’s degree in Special Education, Assistive Technology, or in a related services field.
- A minimum of five years of recent experience ( within the last 5 years) supporting students with intellectual disabilities in the areas of instruction and assistive technology, including augmentative and alternative communication.
- Demonstrated use of effective leadership skills in an administrative role in special education positions (e.g., lead teacher, program coordinator, instructional specialist) with a strong emphasis on inclusive education.
- Demonstrated knowledge of federal and state regulations, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA 2004), ESSA, Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia, Virginia School Accreditation Standards, Virginia Standards of Learning, and the Virginia Essentialized Standards of Learning.
- Demonstrated knowledge of effective practices and current issues in working with children and youth with intellectual disabilities.
- Knowledge and use of assessments for students with significant intellectual disabilities.
- Demonstrate the ability to use distance technology to provide training and technical assistance to professionals and families.
- Demonstrate the ability to work independently and as part of a collaborative team to promote successful outcomes for youth with disabilities.
- Demonstrate an understanding of adult learning principles used in training and technical assistance.
- Skills and experience in working as a member of an interdisciplinary team.
- Comprehensive knowledge of the effects of disabilities on students and their families.
- Demonstrated ability in developing and providing professional development and consulting with other professionals.
- Knowledge of and participation in the leadership and facilitation of implementation science/ systems change initiatives.
- Working knowledge of Windows and Microsoft Office operating systems and familiarity with the utilization of mainstream computer applications (e.g., email and Internet).Knowledge and use of virtual platforms such as Zoom and Google Meet, as well as engagement tools such as Peardecks, Jamboard, and Miro boards.
- Ability to facilitate teams in a variety of situations, including meetings or systems change initiatives.
- Efficient management of professional time, independently and as a team member. Include any descriptions regarding involvement in school or division level teams.
- Ability to travel, using one’s own personal vehicle, to school and program sites with occasional overnight stays.
- Ability to work flexible hours including early mornings, late afternoons, and occasional evenings and weekends.
- Excellent oral and written communication skills.
- Demonstrate experience working in and fostering a diverse faculty, staff, and student environment or commitment to do so as a faculty member at VCU.