Supporting Administrators in Navigating Complex Student Issues

Supporting Administrators in Navigating Complex Student Issues

Ensuring all students receive a free, appropriate public education is the responsibility of Local Education Agencies (LEAs). In order to meet this responsibility, those serving as LEA representatives must have the knowledge and skills necessary to support the design and implementation of services and supports needed by students with disabilities. Building administrators often serve as LEA representatives. Therefore, The Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) has developed three online modules designed to support principals in their understanding of special education law, implementing strategies for communicating effectively with families, and creating systems to share information with families of students with disabilities. The purpose of these training modules is to share information and resources with administrators to assist them in developing and enhancing relationships with families. With the knowledge gained from the training modules, administrators will be well poised to support families and school staff in addressing student issues in positive, proactive ways.

To access the modules: Create an account through Click on the "register" link from the Login page. If an account has already been established, log into the account to enroll in the training. Once logged in, select the module(s) of interest. An overview of each module is provided below.  

Module 1: Understanding Special Education Law

In this module, school leaders will gain knowledge and information about special education processes and procedures to effectively communicate and work in partnership with staff, families and students to ensure students’ needs are being met.
The objectives of this module are:

  • Describe the role of the LEA representative in an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting

  • Explain the components of a student’s IEP

  • Discuss the availability of resources to support families and staff understanding of special education law

Module 2: Communicating Effectively

The purpose of this module is to convey the importance of communication as two-way exchanges regarding student learning. It is through effective written and verbal communication strategies that families and school staff are able to collaboratively partner to support student academic and social achievement.
The objectives of this module are:

  • Discuss the importance of communication which is essential to build rapport and relationships

  • Explain that communication should result in shared information between home and school

  • Identify ways to foster relationships and build common knowledge through verbal communication

  • Discuss strategies to ensure written communication is clear, concise, and appropriate to the needs of family members

Module 3: Sharing Information

Through completing this module, administrators will increase their knowledge and understanding of the importance of building authentic partnerships with families in order to more successfully impact student achievement.
The objectives of this module are:

  • Review the legal requirements regarding sharing information with families

  • Discuss how to create an atmosphere that is conducive to sharing information

  • Discuss methods and ramifications of sharing information

  • Examine the importance of shared decision-making and how to build partnerships

  • Discuss how to include families in sharing information in the special education process