Did you know that Dr. Tessie Bailey, Director of the PROGRESS Center, spent several weeks in Palau and Guam working with educators, coaches and leaders to support the development and implementation of high-quality educational programming for students with disabilities? This visit followed an on-site training event with all special educators from Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) in May 2022.
Many people may not be aware that Palau is a sovereign nation that receives IDEA funding and access to federally funded technical (TA) assistance through the Compact of Free Association with the United States. As part of PROGRESS Center’s field-initiated TA efforts, Dr. Bailey conducted three virtual training sessions over the summer focused on developing IEP present level statements and measurable annual goals with the country’s special education staff (~20 participants). Following successful completion of the assigned virtual activities, Dr. Bailey partnered with June De Leon of Guam CEEDERS to provide on-site training to teams of elementary special and general educators to build their capacity to 1) collaboratively develop special education aids and services that promote involvement in and benefit from general curriculum, 2) identify roles in service delivery, and 3) develop strategies for ensuring opportunities for ongoing collaboration. Following the two-day training, Dr. Bailey and Palau education leaders observed several teams present their University of Guam culminating class STEM projects demonstrating how general and special educators can collaborate to provide accessible, quality STEM core instruction aligned to academic standards.
After a 3:00 a.m. flight from Palau to Guam, Dr. Bailey joined partners from the National Center for Systemic Improvement and the Office of Special Education Program's Director Valerie C. Williams at the Pacific Collaborative Convening in Guam. The event attracted more than 90 special and general education leaders from the CNMI, Guam, Marshall Islands, Palau, American Samoa, and the Federated States of Micronesia ready to engage in cross-island conversation to address a range of topics focused on ensuring compliance with the IDEA and improving outcomes for students with disabilities. The PROGRESS Center’s presentation focused on promoting high expectations for students with disabilities and building local capacity to develop and implement specially designed instruction (SDI) aligned to student needs. The session demonstrated how leaders can use our PROGRESS Center IEP tip sheets to support local educators and our Stories from the Classroom videos to begin critical conversations about support students with disabilities. Learn more about the work of the convening in this article from CNMI's leading newspaper Mariana's Variety.
While most of the 4-day Pacific Convening targeted educational leaders in the Pacific region, Dr. Bailey was able to provide a two-day IEP training workshop for about 20 special education coaches from Guam. These coaches, some very experienced and some new to the position, are responsible for supporting special educators across Guam in the development and implementation of high-quality educational programming through the IEP. Prior to the event, participants participated in a two-part virtual professional learning event that utilized the PROGRESS Center self-paced modules in a flipped classroom model
The PROGRESS Center and Dr. Bailey were honored to be invited to share PROGRESS Center resources with the dedicated educators working with students with disabilities in the Pacific Islands. Not only did the trip come with singing and amazing food, it provided PROGRESS Center a valuable opportunity to better understand the needs of local educators and refine its professional learning approaches.