Special education administrators statewide responded enthusiastically to the first offering from the Special Services Professional Development Academy (SPDA), a new shared service from the Educational Services Commission of New Jersey (ESCNJ).

The “Academy Initiation Mini Conference” drew over 70 special education administrators from as far as Bergen and Camden counties, to ESCNJ’s Piscataway campus in central New Jersey.

The Keynote Speaker for the SPDA conference was Kathleen Rotter, Ed.D. who led a comprehensive “Managing the IEP Meeting,” workshop.

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The IEP (Individualized Education Program) is the legal document mandating public schools to meet the special needs of students as defined by state and federal law.

Dr. Rotter, an Associate Professor at The College of New Jersey, has been an expert witness in over 40 due process hearings pertaining to students with disabilities, and a speaker at numerous national and state conferences.

“Given the SPDA’s mission to identify best practices and promote greater collaboration among special education professionals, we were pleased with both the turnout and the quality of Dr. Rotter’s presentation,” said Assistant Superintendent for Learning/Ed. Services Gary Molenaar.

In September 2019, the ESCNJ will have completed construction on a new 50,000 square foot Future Foundations Academy, which includes two contemporary conference rooms with a 300-seat capacity.

“I think administrators, teachers, and aides want to be current on best practices, and welcome having time to collaborate in a convenient location,” said Supervisor Dr. Rosaura Bagolie.

Upcoming SPDA offerings include:

  • (Dec. 4) Seclusion and Restraint, Dr. Erik R. Solberg, Ph.D. BCBA-D
  • (Feb. 6) Current Legal Issues and Updates: Isabel Machado, JD
  • (March 13) School Avoidance, Debra G. Salzman, Ph.D.
  • (May 1) Mindfulness, Dr. Terry Burik and Dr. Aili Pogust
  • For additional information, please contact Supervisor Sharon Marinello at s.marinelio@escnj.k12.nj.us, or 732-777-9848 Ext.6570.

The ESCNJ provides services and programs for school districts statewide, and operates seven schools in Middlesex County for student’s ages 3-21 with autism spectrum disorders, multiple disabilities, and at-risk behaviors. The largest Educational Services Commission in New Jersey, the ESCNJ coordinates transportation services for over 12,000 students, and manages a 1,200 member Co-op Pricing System, the largest cooperative buying program in New Jersey.