Special Education in Institutional Settings

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Special Education in Institutional Settings

Provider for Special Education in Institutional Settings (SEIS), a program of DESE

The Collaborative for Educational Services (CES) is the Contracted Provider for SEIS, a program of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Since July 2008 we have worked with DESE to coordinate and deliver special education services to students in the care of the Department of Youth Services (DYS), Department of Mental Health (DMH), Department of Public Health (DPH), and the County Houses of Correction (CHC).

As the Contracted Education Provider for the SEIS Program, CES recruits, hires and trains special education teachers; collaborates with host agency leaders in educational program improvement; designs and implements a statewide web-based student information system; supports coordinated technology development and curriculum integration; and monitors compliance with federal and state special education regulations.

SEIS Program teachers receive specialized training through the CES Professional Development Department on how to help their students learn to the best of their ability. The student population in the institutional schools presents complex challenges for educators. Learning challenges may be physical, cognitive, and/or psychiatric, and educators must find ways to help students access the material, and express what they have learned. For example:

In the Massachusetts Hospital School, a young boy who is paralyzed may learn to manipulate his wheelchair and his computer through adaptive technology operated solely by his mouth.

At the Department of Youth Services, a court-involved teenage girl who reads below grade level due to attention and other learning disorders may 'engage' for the first time through a writing project that integrates rap music with core academic subjects.

In DYS schools, SEIS educators work closely with general educators to develop and deliver effective instruction for students with IEPs.  The SEIS teachers may consult with general educators about student accommodations and modifications; provide direct instruction as co-teachers in general education classrooms, or pull-out sessions with individual students.  In DMH programs SEIS teachers act as special and general educators, providing standards-based instruction to all students in these programs.  In CHC programs, SEIS educators consult with the general educators and provide special education to students. At the Massachusetts Hospital School, CES hires and supervises paraprofessionals who work in the classroom, specialists, and art and library educators.

Highlights of the past years working with the SEIS Program include the implementation of a professional development system, which includes up to 6 full days of training, onsite coaching, distance learning opportunities, webinars, and online resources. The integration of technology into curriculum and instruction has been a focus of training, and the use of tools, such as the Elmo, and interactive smart boards, has increased and contributes to improved student engagement.

In an effort to provide easier access to student data,CES has been developing a web based student information system. The system will allow the SEIS educators to access student data and reports in a timely fashion, so that the appropriate instructional decisions can be made, and ultimately lead to improved student outcomes.


For more information, contact: 
SEIS Contract Administrator
413.586.4900 x5966