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New DPI program aims to reduce special education staffing challenges, support new special educators

Special Educators Induction Program begins implementation this fall
Thursday, July 27, 2023


DPI Media Line, (608) 266-3559
MADISON — As staffing challenges impact the education profession, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has introduced a new program designed to assist school districts in attracting, preparing, and retaining special educators.
The Wisconsin Special Educators Induction Program, funded through an IDEA Discretionary Grant, provides resources and support in offering induction program opportunities for new special educators to Cooperative Education Service Agencies (CESAs) around the state. By using a three-prong approach involving “just in time” professional learning, coaching sessions, and support networking opportunities, the DPI aims to support first- or second-year special educators and special educators holding a license with stipulations. A recent Wisconsin DPI Educator Preparation Program and Workforce Analysis Report found teachers retention rates in the state are 67 percent after their first five years.
“Attracting high-quality special educators is incredibly important, and taking the necessary steps to keep these dedicated professionals in our schools is the next, equally important step," State Superintendent Dr. Jill Underly said. "I am so excited to launch this program which is designed to support the journey of our prospective educators. The Wisconsin Special Educators Induction Program stands to make a real difference for our educators and our learners, and I am proud of the work that staff at the department and across the state have already done to get it started.”
Through a regional approach, each CESA has a designated trainer, coach, and facilitator to lead the program. Each CESA has the capacity to have 25 special educator participants in the first year of the implementation of the program with first-year educators and those who are not fully licensed receiving priority. The implementation portion of the program is slated to begin this fall. Sessions include training in the high leverage instructional practices and special education compliance content, including explicit instruction, student engagement, social emotional skills, comprehensive special education evaluation, individualized education program development and meeting facilitation, and progress monitoring. There is no cost to school districts, and those districts participating will receive up to $1,500 per participant to offset the costs associated with participating.
For more information on the Special Educators Induction Program, visit the DPI’s dedicated webpage. School districts interested in participating in this program and nominating a new special educator should contact their local CESA.

Official Release