LEAP Training-of-Trainers

Applicants should be currently employed by a MA educational collaborative or an ESE-designated district, and experienced in designing and facilitating professional development and consultative services for school districts.

LEAP logo
Offered by: 
Professional Development

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) and the Collaborative for Educational Services (CES) are pleased to announce an additional offering of the Low-income Education Access Project (LEAP) training-of-trainers program. Please note this is an application process. All applicants will be notified of acceptance.


ESE is working collaboratively with a cohort of MA districts to assess why disproportionality in special education identification and/or placement is occurring for low-income students, and to identify policies, procedures, and practices that are successful in preventing it and increasing supports for this student population. 

The key focus areas for this project are:

  1. Improving understanding of and teaching with poverty in mind
  2. Improving resources for educators and student support teams
  3. Improving services and placements for high mobility students
  4. Decreasing inappropriate eligibility determinations for special education
  5. Increasing identification of special education placements in the least restrictive environment

ESE has identified a need for trainers to support school districts in their efforts to understand the impact of poverty on identification, placement, and student outcomes, and to address these issues through appropriate systems and strategies in the classroom, school environment, and the community.

The LEAP Training-of-Trainers (ToT) Program was first offered in 2016, and members from 12 educational collaboratives participated in this first-cohort training. This statewide cadre of trainers is available to support all districts, regardless of a district's regional affiliation. Trainers are equipped to bring qualified training and consultative services to schools and districts and can bring access to resources and best practices to support district efforts.

Content topics of the training program include:

  • Cultural competency
  • The interaction among poverty, ethnicity and race, and learning
  • Disproportionality
  • Identification and assessments
  • Student support teams and MA tiered systems of support (MTSS)
  • Placement and least-restrictive environment (LRE)
  • Homeless and transient students
  • Basic brain and learning principles
  • School and classroom culture and learning
  • Working memory
  • Executive functions
  • Semantic memory
  • Episodic memory
  • Best practice strategies for enhancing learning experiences of students living in poverty in the inclusive classroom, including but not limited to those for improving student engagement, higher order thinking, perception of control, communication (pragmatic language and vocabulary), early literacy, social learning, self-regulation, organization, study skills, and task persistence and performance
  • Family and community supports and engagement

Attendees should bring their taptops to the program sessions.


Participants should be:

  1. currently employed by a MA educational collaborative OR from an ESE-designated district
  2. experienced in designing and facilitating professional development and consultative services for school districts

Facilitation and consultative experience is required as each participant will be expected to provide a variety of support services to districts upon program completion.

Dates and Location

This four-day training will take place July 24-27, 2017 from 9:00am to 4:00pm at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel & Trade Center in Marlborough.

2017-2018 Progam Requirements

All selected trainers must commit to participating in 100% of program activities:

  • Attendance at the four-day ToT: July 24-27, 2017, 9:00am - 4:00pm
  • Equivalent of three full-day community of practice convenings (to be scheduled between August 2017 and June 2018)
  • Active contribution to the LEAP online community space to give and receive ongoing collegial support
  • Active soliciation and facilitation of LEAP-related learning opportunities: Between August 2017 and June 2018, trainers are expected to actively seek opportunities to (co-)facilitate 4-6 LEAP-related professional learning opportunities in MA public schools.
  • As part of the LEAP ToT Program evaluation and ongoing development, participants are expected to record learning event information (type of learning event, district/school, date, etc.), attendance and participant feedback on forms provided by CES

Cost and Application

Please note this is an application process. All applicants will be notified of acceptance.

Course participation, related materials, and lodging for three nights are free for selected trainers. Continental breakfast and lunch are also included on each training day, dinner is included for the first three training days.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until July 1, 2017. Space is limited. Apply online on the right side of this page. You may also download and submit a paper application.


  • Albert Mussad

    Albert E. Mussad is a seasoned teacher and administrator, and has coached principals, supervisors and teachers in chronically underperforming urban schools to improve student outcomes. He earned a Bachelor's, Master's and Ph.D. degrees in language teaching, testing and learning from Georgetown University and a Master's degree in educational administration from Rutgers University.

  • Laurel Peltier photo

    Laurel Peltier holds an Ed.D. in Special Education Leadership and C.A.G.S. in Special Education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, as well as a professional license as a Special Education Administrator in Massachusetts.

  • Sharon Jones photo

    Sharon Jones has spent 34 years working in public school districts. She has worked as both a special education and general education teacher; assistant principal; educational diagnostician/consultant; inclusion specialist; and, most recently, in the role of Administrator of Special Education. Sharon also teaches courses on inclusion for the University of Massachusetts.

  • Darnell Thigpen Williams photo

    Darnell Thigpen Williams, Associate Director of Professional Development at the Collaborative for Educational Services for the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS) Education Contract, brings over 20 years of urban education experience in a variety of settings: classroom teacher, staff developer, curriculum specialist, program developer, and adjunct professor.

For more information, contact:
Events Manager
413.586.4900 x5935