Fifty educators from across the Commonwealth gathered at the Hotel Northampton to celebrate completion of the first Special Education Team Leader Institute (SETLI) program. Participants shared capstone work, received certificates and heard keynote speaker Russell Johnston, Senior Associate Commissioner of the Center for District Support, speak of the importance of their work with special education students. Co-facilitators for this year’s cohort were Laurel Peltier and Sharon Jones.
SETLI, in partnership with and funded by the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE)’s Office of Special Education Planning, provides special education team leaders with tools to “foster family and community engagement and improve student outcomes.” Participants were clearly inspired by their work in the program. “This has been an incredible experience,” said Marianne Lockwood, a teacher with the Northampton Public Schools, “We’ve created a whole network and we talk all the time about practice. It has lit a fire in terms of what I can do in my own school.”
Laurel Peltier noted “It’s exciting to see how our first SETLI cohort has embraced the call to lead IEP teams in a way that emphasizes collaboration and compliance as key elements of their work. I felt proud of each member of the cohort for their willingness to take what we learned together and apply that knowledge to practical, sustainable change in each of the districts represented. Even more exciting is the community of support and friendship that the people in this cohort have built. They are truly demonstrating respect, kindness, cooperation and a sense of hospitality toward students, families, colleagues and one another as they lead IEP teams across the state.”
Next year’s cohorts will include 60 educators, with the program kicking off in early August.