Project ACCESS will begin the second cohort of our newest teacher training initiative, Project ACCESS Autism Credential/Project ACCESS Autism Team Support (PAAC/PAATS) this fall, designed with the goal of improving services and outcomes for children who have autism. For several years, we have been collecting feedback from Missouri educators and administrators and carefully considered recent research regarding best practices in teacher professional development. The “sit-and-get” professional development model doesn’t always translate into the classroom changes we believe are important. After much reflection, we decided the time had arrived for us to expand our repertoire of teacher training in a bold new way, so we started the PAAC/PAATS program, having completed the inaugural cohort this semester.
A rewarding, true partnership – School District, Teacher, Project ACCESS
This partnership-based initiative is a two-year program whose primary component features classroom coaching with teachers, providing feedback and guidance as the teachers learn skills to fidelity. Individuals who complete the initiative earn the Project ACCESS Autism Credential (PAAC) and will be included on a list published by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
The initiative includes:
- A flipped instructional model, including online “content knowledge” and active learning/useful product-creating “live” sessions
- Lessons are competency-based, applicable to the classroom and aligned with evidence-based interventions in the Missouri Autism Guidelines Initiative. A strong foundation in ABA skills is included.
- The trainings will be held in chosen cohort schools, either in-person or via Zoom web conferencing, twice per month and with minimal disruption to the educational day
- Up to 12 hours of graduate credit and a graduate certificate will be available as an option for participants
- For the first semester all instructional content is provided for free by Project ACCESS. The district will incur a $250 per teacher per semester fee for the second semester that covers a small percentage of the cost for materials, supplies, coach travel and the costs associated with bringing nationally-known speakers to the conferences.
- Individuals who are not teachers but who would like to participate in the education component (no coaching will be provided) will earn the Project ACCESS Autism Team Support (PAATS) designation.