Florida among five states partnering with UF center to transform teaching of students with disabilities
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — School districts and special education interests in five states — Florida, California, Connecticut, Illinois and South Dakota — are partnering with a new, federally funded center at the University of Florida on an ambitious effort to transform their preparation of effective teachers and leaders serving students with disabilities.
The CEEDAR Center at UF’s College of Education is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs. “CEEDAR” stands for Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability and Reform. The center is receiving $5 million annually over the next three years, with a possible extension for two additional years, to help states strengthen their standards and methods for preparing, licensing and evaluating their teachers and school leaders.
“This collaborative effort will allow the special education field to take a giant step in improving the education of students with disabilities,” said CEEDAR Center Director Mary Brownell, a UF professor of special education. “Our partnering states recognize this need and want to ensure that their general and special educators have the necessary skills and support to improve the achievement of students with special needs.”
The five states launching the effort are receiving what the CEEDAR team refers to as “intensive technical assistance.” Center faculty are organizing research-proven professional development and networking programs for teachers and school leaders, offering instructional support and online teaching resources, and helping the states align their teacher preparation and evaluation systems with the highest professional standards. Each year through 2017, five additional states will be selected to receive this highest level of support and instruction, eventually benefitting tens of thousands of children in 20 states.
The CEEDAR Center has created a website (http://www.ceedar.org) offering resources for any educators or groups interested in revising state licensure and certification standards, reforming teacher and leader preparation, and evaluating educator preparation programs using student data.
The CEEDAR Center’s national partners include the American Institutes for Research, Council of Chief State School Officers, University of Kansas, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, Council for Exceptional Children, Council for the Accreditation for Educator Preparation, National Association of State Directors of Special Education, and TASH.
“Providing students with disabilities with effective, research-based instruction is the best way to ensure they achieve college and career readiness — a goal we have for all students. We are looking forward to being able to contribute to this agenda with our intensive and targeted technical-assistance partners,” Brownell said.