Special Education Team Leader Institute (SETLI)

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Special Education Team Leader Institute (SETLI)

The Special Education Team Leader Institute (SETLI), in partnership with and funded by the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE)’s Office of Special Education Planning and Policy Development, is designed to equip special educational team leaders with tools to foster family and community engagement and improve student outcomes by facilitating team meetings that are collaborative and compliant with regulations and best practices in the field.

Attention: the 2021/22 SETLI application period will run from April 15 through May 15, 2021.

The Institute will provide up to thirty participants annually with a year of courses and technical assistance that foster their ability to lead Individualized Education Plan (IEP) teams in the development of educational plans that reflect the individual needs of students.

Participants will learn to

  • facilitate team meetings;
  • create and write clear and effective IEPs;
  • foster good faith relationships and collaboration;
  • partner with district leaders to identify and implement a capstone project that addresses a needed change in practice to improve compliance and collaboration; and 
  • develop support networks to foster the implementation of best practices in the education of students with special needs. 

There are no required courses for teachers who are licensed in special education that explicitly address facilitation, mediation, understanding the law and compliance, or collaborative problem solving. This year-long, rich experience will build these competencies and increase the effectiveness of participants in this role. 

The Institute will provide the opportunity to earn 135 no-cost PDPs, and will offer 6 for-cost graduate credits through Fitchburg State University (at an additional cost of $540 for graduate credit). Participants who choose to pursue graduate credit will be asked to complete additional readings (text available from CES upon request) and one additional posting during each of the online sessions in order to meet Fitchburg State University requirements for the course.

District Approval

Applicants work with their district leadership, in particular their Special Education Director, to file their application. It is assumed that your district Special Education Director will be aware of your application to the program and district or building administrators will approve your release for all scheduled activities. Please ensure you have this permission prior to submitting your application.

This is a state-wide initiative and practices are designed to support compliance with the Massachusetts Coordinated Program Review process as well as state and federal special education regulations.

The SETLI model will consist of multiple courses and activities, online learning, a variety of assignments, coaching, and communities of practice, ending with a capstone project.


This Institute is designed for full time education team leaders or coordinators working in a MA school. These participants should be assigned to chair IEP team meetings for students with disabilities. This includes but is not limited to: Special Education Team Leaders (ETLs), Special Education Teachers, Principals or Assistant Principals, Out of District or Program Coordinators.

This Institute is not designed to support people who are leading 504 Teams in terms of the legal requirements of these plans.


For more information, contact

Laurel Peltier photo
Curriculum and Instructional Specialist in Special Education
Sharon Jones photo
Curriculum and Instructional Specialist in Special Education