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Training Courses Support Student Learning

(Left to right) Charu Kamdar, Lucinda Wagman, Susan Hansen, Maribeth Donohue and Brenda Browne are honored at the fourth annual E-TIPS celebration. These staff members have earned 75 or more E-TIPS hours.

Occupational therapist Charu Kamdar finds E-TIPS classes stimulating and says they give her plenty of new ideas for her special needs students.

After completing an E-TIPS class, Maribeth Donohue, an Augmentative and Alternative (AAC) teacher at Cannon Road Elementary School, says she is able to immediately use what she learned in her classroom.

Other educators agree. No matter why they started taking the courses, the impact in the classroom is powerful. E-TIPS courses are voluntary after-school training focused on using technology to support students. E-TIPS stands for Educators using Technology to Improve the Performance of Students. The courses are offered via PDO and all require staff to complete assignments demonstrating skills that will support student learning.

Popularity in the classes is growing. The courses were originally offered to help special education teachers and paraeducators learn about assistive technologies that could help their students. Today, 36 percent of those who participate in E-TIPS are special education teachers; another 25 percent are general educators. Another 15 percent are special education paraeducators.

“The evidence is clear that when these strategies are used in the classroom, students who have trouble learning, learn,” says Susan Hansen, a special education paraeducator at Tilden Middle School. Hansen says she started taking the classes because “I felt it was the only way to level the field of learning for students with disabilities. The more I learned, the more I realized that technology was going to be helpful for all students in the classroom.”  

Classes are offered on a variety of topics. Many educators take courses on Kurzweil, Natural Reader, Inspiration or Word-Q, all of which help students with reading or writing. The Clicker classes, which support students learning to read and write, are also useful, easy to use and easy to explain, teachers say.

Each year, individuals who take 75 hours or more of voluntary training are recognized at an annual E-TIPS celebration. This year, the honorees were: Donohue; Hansen; Kamdar; Brenda Browne, a special education teacher at Kemp Mill Elementary School, and Lucinda Wagman, an occupational therapist with the Infants and Toddlers Program. Principals from Lakelands Park, Rosa Parks and Tilden middle schools also made presentations on the benefits of implementing the Universal Design for Learning in their schools.

More information on E-TIPS

Universal Design for Learning



Last Updated: 6/14/2011