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KU center begins work on $2.5M grant supporting professional learning for teacher trainers

Monday, March 01, 2021

LAWRENCE — Accessible Teaching, Learning, and Assessment Systems (ATLAS) at the University of Kansas has received a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. The Special Educator Technology-Based Training of Trainers (SETTT) for Success grant supports the development of a learning portal to support teacher trainers, with a focus on the educational needs of students with significant cognitive disabilities. 

Academic expectations have dramatically increased in the last 10 years for this population of students. As a result, professional learning approaches for special education teachers have also become more complex. 

“Teacher trainers lead busy lives, often have multiple job responsibilities and are expected to support teacher learners in a broad range of knowledge categories,” said Sarah Koebley, ATLAS associate director of professional learning and principal investigator of SETTT for Success. “This grant fills a gap for trainers who need support in their work with teachers of students with significant cognitive disabilities.” 

SETTT for Success provides the learning resources and supports that teacher trainers need to design, conduct and evaluate quality professional development for educators working with students with significant cognitive disabilities. 

The grant also supports teacher trainers through coaching and peer connection in an online community of practice. The SETTT model is flexible and designed to meet the needs of each teacher trainer. 

The five-year grant project is a collaboration between ATLAS staff and multiple state departments of education from across the country, including Rhode Island, Maryland and Iowa.  

About Accessible Teaching, Learning, and Assessment Systems (ATLAS) 

ATLAS, a center within the Achievement and Assessment Institute at the KU, promotes learning by creating accessible and academically rigorous technology-based learning and assessment systems. The center serves students with and without disabilities and their teachers through several projects focused on improving student outcomes. ATLAS’s learning map models, assessment design and teacher resources are informed by the center’s research projects and by innovations in psychometrics that support the measurement of map-based learning. Visit atlas.ku.edu to learn more about ATLAS.