Special Education in Institutional Settings (SEIS)
The Collaborative for Educational Services (CES) is the Contracted Provider for SEIS, a program of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).
To provide high quality special education services within a statewide education program in an interagency context, that will support SEIS students to transition from the host agency settings to the community and facilitate student success in postsecondary and career pathways.
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 outlined in Technical Assistance Advisory SPED 2021-3: Shared Responsibility for Special Education Services in Institutional Settings.
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.
Through the SEIS Program, CES ensures that special education services are provided to eligible students residing in host agency facilities. To the extent that resources allow, SEIS provides the special education services designated on the students’ Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). The school districts responsible for the students must provide any special education services that SEIS does not provide. The students’ school districts retain sole responsibility for evaluating, developing, and issuing an IEP and providing the notices associated with the mandated procedural safeguards. Additionally, in certain DMH and DPH facilities, SEIS provides a full day general education program to students.
The SEIS Professional Development and Curriculum department, in collaboration with the CES Professional Development Department, provides structured professional development (PD) to support educators to help their students learn to the best of their ability. Within the Host Agencies we work with a diverse population of students with varying degrees of need. This requires the educators to have a toolkit of strategies to be able to make the curriculum accessible and to reach all learners.
There are over 250 special education students in more than 70 institutional settings across Massachusetts, all of whom have the right to a quality education. These students range from students with serious medical conditions, who may reside at the Pappas Rehabilitation Hospital for Children until they reach 22 years of age, to transitional age students in the County Houses of Correction or Department of Mental Health Adult programs who have self-identified as needing special education services, to students who have been placed into the care of the Department of Youth Services, or the Department of Mental Health.
SEIS Program Locations
Department of Youth Services (DYS)
The SEIS Program provides special education services to eligible youth in DYS facilities. The students’ local school districts retain responsibility for evaluating, developing, and issuing an IEP and providing the notices associated with the mandated procedural safeguards. The DYS program and SEIS staff may assist the student’s school district in the evaluation process upon request and subject to resource availability. SEIS special education teachers work in conjunction with the DYS general education teachers to provide special education services and promote inclusion through a co-planning and co-teaching model.
In DYS schools, SEIS educators collaborate at a minimum weekly with general educators to develop and deliver effective instruction for students with IEPs. The SEIS teachers consult with general educators about student accommodations and modifications and provide direct instruction as co-teachers in general education classrooms or pull-out sessions with individual students.
Department of Mental Health (DMH)
Within the six DMH programs where CES is the contracted education provider, there is educational space provided to support students, including special education services for eligible students. Through a variety of program models with some integration of clinical supportive services, SEIS provides core content courses while embedding special education services and seeks to assist students to maintain progress in the general education curriculum. As practice, SEIS works with the local school districts to ensure the student receives academic credit from the sending district for coursework completed while in the DMH program.
Department of Public Health (DPH)
DESE provides special education services to eligible students ages 5 through 22 at the Pappas Rehabilitation Hospital for Children (PRHC) operated by the Department of Public Health (DPH).
At PRHC, CES provides ongoing support through technology, instructional coaching, PD and other targeted initiatives throughout contract years.
County Houses of Correction (CHC)
CES, in collaboration with DESE and the thirteen CHC Education Directors, works to identify school aged learners through age 22 to provide the necessary special education supports identified through the team process with their LEA and outlined within their IEP.
Continuous Movement Forward
Highlights of the past years working with the SEIS Program include the use and improvement of a web-based Student Information System which houses many different data sets regarding the SEIS student population. CES also hosts IEP Reconvene and SEIS Initial Education Meetings to improve student outcomes by cultivating a shared responsibility among various stakeholders using an exit upon entry approach. We also provide a robust professional development system that includes meaningful and individualized PD opportunities around High Leverage Practices, Social Justice and Equity and trauma-informed practice, and Universal Design for Learning; statewide instructional coaching; and a comprehensive and robust mentoring and New Teaching Induction programs. CES utilizes current curricular and assessment resources, and students also have access to online learning platforms that facilitate and support credit recovery. Technology is integrated into all SEIS services, and our programs have 1:1 technology featuring Chromebooks.
Teresa Poteat, M.Ed.
Teresa Poteat joined CES/SEIS in January 2022. Her diversified academic and professional experiences uniquely prepared her for this position. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Classical Studies with a minor in Education at Smith College and her M.Ed in Special Education from American International College. Teresa worked in public schools for fifteen years in a myriad of roles such as paraprofessional, inclusion and substantially separate classroom teacher, team leader, and supervisor of special education at the middle and high school levels. Teresa’s educational philosophy is embedded in the belief that the most important role for all educators and administrators is to advocate and support all students to ensure each student receives equal access to the curriculum. “It is our responsibility to prepare our students for whatever future endeavors they choose, whether it be college, technical school, military, or the workforce. We also need to prepare our students with the skills they need to live independently, be critical thinkers and problem solvers, and to be empathic and accepting of others.”
Position: SEIS Contract Administrator