Professional Development

The Bresnahan-Halstead Center is committed to work for the advancement of knowledge and quality services for people with disabilities through research, professional development, partnership/technical assistance, and scholarships. As part of this mission, the Center is committed to assisting not only professionals who work with students with disabilities but also families of these individuals to expand their knowledge and skills in their work with them. Because the ultimate goal of the Center is to improve the academic, social, emotional, and vocational outcomes of individuals with disabilities, we have made funding available to professionals and families to plan, organize, deliver, and evaluate professional development experiences.

Instructions for applying:

2015 Special Education Directors’ Academy

The annual Special Education Directors’ Academy was held in Vail, Colorado, July 8, 9, and 10, 2015. This year’s guest speakers were Mary Lynn Boscardin (University of Massachusetts Amherst), Patrick Tudryn (East Windsor Public Schools, Connecticut), and Rob Schulze (Johnson State College), focusing on Leadership: Facilitating Positive Change. Once again, the Bresnahan-Halstead Center and the Colorado Department of Education put together an Academy that provided innovative information and hands-on experiences to more than 40 administrators of special education programs and services throughout Colorado. Presenters shared research-based information on making special education leadership a priority in a results-driven world and the impact of such leadership. In addition, the attendees were inspired by Beau Goldsby, who shared with them steps on his journey through the special education system and the positive impact that results from making an individual student a priority. Formal and informal group discussions and reflection provided direction for participants as they prepared for the upcoming year.

Click the links below to view the presentations.

2015 Early Childhood Summit: Supporting Children’s Social and Emotional Growth

More than 100 professionals from the field of early childhood participated in the 2015 Early Childhood Summit in Vail, Colorado, June 15-17, 2015. Attendees were team members and individuals representing early interventionists, preschool special and general educators, and parents/family members as well as those serving in child care, Head Start, and other community partnership roles, all there to share and promote innovative and promising approaches in social emotional development for all children birth through 5 years of age within the context of their families and communities. Mary Louise Hemmeter, Professor in the Department of Special Education at Vanderbilt University, provided guidance and inspiration in 2 ½ days of large- and small-group activities in the development of collaborative, community implementation plans, encouraging participants to think, discuss, and plan for effective use of current practices within a community of learners. In addition, panelists from a variety of state agencies shared information and resources with the group. Participants left with action plans in hand, enabling them to meet the needs of each infant, toddler, or preschooler in their respective learning environments.

Self-Determination Instruction Across the Secondary Continuum

The Weld RE-4 School District (middle and high schools), with support from the Bresnahan-Halstead Center, designed and implemented the project Self-Determination Instruction Across the Secondary Continuum. Initiated in the spring of 2014, the project was designed to provide professional development and coaching for special education teachers in order to implement self-determination instruction that provides secondary age students with disabilities the opportunity to develop self-determination skills before entering postsecondary life. The project is moving through stages of professional development, data collection, coaching, and modeling/demonstration with middle and high school teachers/service providers to train and follow-up with oneon- one coaching in research-based instructional tools to meet specific outcomes identified across a grade level continuum of instruction. Ultimately, students who participate in the project and receive systematic selfdetermination instruction over time will develop skills that are not simply introduced and forgotten, but become a part of their innate abilities.