The Massachusetts FOCUS Academy (MFA) is offering nine (9) graduate level online or hybrid courses Spring Semester 2016

The MFA course application process is now closed for the spring semester. Please check back in June for the fall semester.

Courses begin the week of February 22nd and end the week of June 13th

Introduction

The Massachusetts FOCUS Academy (MFA) offers courses that provide participants with the skills, knowledge and instructional strategies to improve the outcomes for all students including those with disabilities in safe and supportive inclusive environments.

General Course Information

The MFA is offering nine (9) courses for the spring semester, beginning the week of February 22, 2016. If a course includes a face-to-face meeting in addition to the online discussion forum, it is noted in the course description below. Participants will be notified by the course instructor of face-to-face meeting dates and locations prior to the beginning of the course.

Participants will receive 67.5 PDPs upon course completion and will also have the option to purchase graduate credits at a discounted rate through each of the partnering institutions of higher education. Information regarding registration for course credit will be covered by the course instructor at the beginning of the course.

Courses will be taught using the BlackBoard online learning platform. Some technical assistance will be provided, but participants are expected to have basic understanding of the Internet and basic computer knowledge and skills. Participants must also have regular access to the Internet. The courses are asynchronous, and content is delivered through assignments, weekly readings and an online discussion board. This does not mean that these are self-paced courses. Participants are expected to regularly attend class by logging into BlackBoard and interacting with the course instructor and their peers (posting questions, sharing reflections, discussing assignments, etc.).

Educators should plan on spending 8-10 hours each week on coursework and may only be enrolled in one course per semester.

Eligibility

Teams of at least two but no more than six educators who are currently working in a Massachusetts Public School District or school are eligible to apply.

Criteria for Selection

During the weeks of January 11th through January 26th, applications from teams of educators from ALL districts will be accepted to fill the limited available seats in the courses.

Requirement

The ESE requires each educator to provide a letter of support from their supervisor/principal declaring that the course is aligned with the educator’s and school’s professional development plan.  This letter of support should be sent to mtss@doe.mass.edu upon application submission.

Application Deadline:

Applications will be accepted until 5:00pm on Friday, January 26, 2016.  Space is limited and courses may be filled before the deadline. 

Completed applications will be reviewed and teams will be accepted on a rolling admission basis during the week of January 11, 2016 – January 26, 2016.

Assessment of Students with Disabilities who are English Language Learners  pdf format of Assessment of Students with Disabilities Who are Englis
docx format of                             Assessment of Students with Disabilities Who are Englis
This course will provide educators the knowledge of linguistic and cultural factors and their impact on educational assessments for students with disabilities who are English language learners. Participants will learn strategies for addressing the over identification and disproportionality of students who are ELL in special education. This course is taught by experts in the field from Lesley University. This course requires three face-to-face sessions: Section A – 2/28/16, 4/3/16 & 5/29/16 , Section C –TBD. Cost for 3 graduate credits: $490, Application for this course is now closed.

Collaborative Co-teaching: Meeting the Needs of All Students  pdf format of Collaborative Co-teaching: Meeting the Needs of All Stu
docx format of                             Collaborative Co-teaching: Meeting the Needs of All Stu
This course will provide educators with competencies that enable them to work effectively to design and implement collaborative, co-teaching approaches, and to facilitate the delivery of research-based instruction to all students in the inclusive classroom. Participants will review appropriate assessments for both instructional and non-academic needs of students. The course is taught by experts in the field from The Collaborative for Educational Services. Cost for 3 graduate credits: $335, Click here to apply for this course

Creating and Sustaining Positive School-Wide Learning Environments  pdf format of Creating and Sustaining Positive School-Wide Learning E
docx format of                             Creating and Sustaining Positive School-Wide Learning E
This course is designed to provide educators with the skills and knowledge to design and sustain positive, school-wide learning environments within a tiered system of supports. Participants will review the research regarding the interaction between behavior and learning, and learn successful models of primary, secondary and tertiary supports and interventions. This course is taught by experts in the field from Fitchburg State University.  This course has one required face-to-face session:  Section A – Saturday 3/19/16, Section B & C – Saturday 4/2/16. Cost for 3 graduate credits: $285, Click here to apply for this course

Differentiated Instruction  pdf format of Differentiated Instruction 
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This course is designed to provide educators the skills to design learning environments that meet the needs of diverse learners including those with disabilities and those who are English language learners within a tiered system of support. Participants will review theories of learning and instruction and the learning characteristics of students with high-incidence disabilities. The course is taught by experts in the field from Ribas Associates. Cost for 3 graduate credits: $285, Application for this course is now closed.

Partnering with Families of Middle and High School Students with Disabilities  pdf format of Partner with Families of Middle & High School Students
docx format of                             Partner with Families of Middle & High School Students
This course will provide educators with the knowledge and skills required to develop and strengthen collaborative partnerships with families of middle and high school students with disabilities, in order to assist students to successfully transition to adulthood. Participants will learn conceptual frameworks for family engagement; how to build optimal conditions of communication and trust; requirements of the law; asset mapping; and strategies specific to adolescence, family systems, and cultural competence. The course is taught by experts from the field from the Federation for Children with Special Needs. Cost for graduate credits: $285, Click here to apply for this course

Partnering with Families of Preschool and Elementary School Students with Disabilities  pdf format of Partner with Families of Preschool & Elementary Student
docx format of                             Partner with Families of Preschool & Elementary Student
This course is designed to provide the knowledge and skills required to develop and strengthen collaborative partnerships with families of children with disabilities in preschool and elementary school. Participants will learn models of partnership, the requirements of federal and state laws, research findings, effective communication, family systems, and community resources for students with disabilities and their families. The course is taught by experts from the field from the Federation for Children with Special Needs. Cost for 3 graduate credits: $285, , Click here to apply for this course

Universal Design for Learning: Addressing Learner Variability  pdf format of Universal Design for Learning: Addressing Learner Varia
docx format of                             Universal Design for Learning: Addressing Learner Varia
This course reviews the principles, applications, and research background of UDL including the convergence of assistive technologies and UDL. Participants will learn how to design and implement lessons that address the variability of all learners in inclusive classrooms within a tiered system of support. The course is taught by experts from the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST). Cost for 3 graduate credits: $285, Click here to apply for this course

Universal Design for Learning: Addressing Learner Variability in Mathematics Instruction  pdf format of Addressing Learner Variability in Mathematics Instructi
docx format of                             Addressing Learner Variability in Mathematics Instructi
This course reviews the principles, applications, and research background of UDL including the convergence of assistive technologies and UDL as they apply to teaching and learning mathematics. Participants will learn how to design and implement math lessons that address the variability of all learners in inclusive classrooms within a tiered system of support. The course is taught by experts from the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST). Cost for 3 graduate credits: $285, Click here to apply for this course

Universal Design for Learning: Student Affect and Engagement  pdf format of Universal Design for Learning: Student Affect and Engag
docx format of                             Universal Design for Learning: Student Affect and Engag
This course examines how motivation and emotions interact with learning. Predicated on the principles of UDL, participants will learn how to design and implement lesson plans that ensure the engagement and participation of all learners in inclusive classrooms within a tiered system of support. The course is taught by experts from the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST). Cost for 3 graduate credits: $285, Click here to apply for this course

If you have any questions, please send an email to mtss@doe.mass.edu.