Educators from Collaborative for Educational Services Publish Book on IEP and 504 Teams

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Article Author: Alia Spring
Publication Name: MOEC
Article Date: 4/13/2022
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NORTHAMPTON — The Collaborative for Educational Services (CES), a member of the Massachusetts Organization of Educational Collaboratives (MOEC), is pleased to announce that two of its educators recently published a book on the topic of Individual Education Programs (IEP) and 504 Teams.

Laurel Peltier, Ed.D. and Albert Johnson-Mussad, Ph.D., CES educational consultants and coaches, are the authors of the book, “Responsive Collaboration for IEP and 504 Teams.”

The book was written to empower all members of IEP or 504 teams, and guide educators and parents through the implementation of a responsive decision-making process on behalf of students.

“Congratulations to Laurel and Albert for publishing this book. Both are experts in their field and so passionate about what they do,” CES Executive Director Todd Gadza said. “This book will be a valuable resource for teachers and parents, and will undoubtedly
benefit students.”

Drawing on the principles of social justice and responsive practice, the book provides a framework that identifies opportunities to build connections between educators, establish relationships with service providers, strengthen school-family partnerships, address inequities, and develop student self-determination.

Readers will learn about referral and eligibility determination, individualized plan development, responsive teaming over time, and other key practices related to responsive teaming, with references to implementation tools. The book also considers how the pandemic has affected students and will offer tools to improve the fit between
the students’ individual learning profile and schooling.

“We created the book to support educators, including administrators, teachers and related service providers, to understand how to transform the work that they do into an opportunity for equitable student growth and family-educator-community engagement,” Dr. Peltier said.

The work is an outgrowth of the collaborative’s Special Education Team Leadership Institute (SETLI), which is funded by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. SETLI’s mission is to provide special education team leaders with tools to foster family and community engagement and improve student outcomes by facilitating team meetings that focus on best practices in the field. The institute has generated a
growing and active Community of Practice for those professionals leading IEP teams, who also participate in an annual conference open to educators from across the state. This year, the conference will be held virtually on May 13.

“We wrote this book to support everyone at the table – educators, parents and caregivers, and young people – toward equitable participation in an educational program that optimizes the learner’s opportunity for excellence,” Dr. Johnson-Mussad said. “We offer tools and resources to lift up the young person’s strengths and meet their current challenges.”

Dr. Peltier has 34 years of experience in the education sector and holds a professional license as a Special Education Administrator in Massachusetts. She is an expert in special education curriculum, instruction and assessment, moderate-severe disabilities, autism, family and community engagement, and special education leadership. She also brings experience as the parent of a child with autism and intellectual disabilities. She
lives in Amherst and joined the collaborative in 2016.

Dr. Johnson-Mussad is approaching his 33rd anniversary as an educator, holding positions from teacher and curriculum director to assistant superintendent. He travels nationally to facilitate professional development for school leaders, teachers and other licensed educators in instructional leadership; English learner education; world language and bilingual education; adolescent literacy education; and improving outcomes for students in poverty. He joined the collaborative in 2014. He resides in
Greenfield with his husband, Glenn Johnson-Mussad, who serves on the Greenfield School Committee.

“I wish to congratulate Laurel and Albert on this outstanding accomplishment,” MOEC Executive Director Joanne Haley Sullivan said. “Like many collaborative educators from across the state, the pair have worked with school districts and DESE to advance strong educational practices and provide ongoing resources and support to
professionals in their field. I commend them for their hard work and dedication.”

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