About the Office for Special Education Planning and Policy Development (SEPP)
The Special Education Planning and Policy Office (SEPP) office supports school districts in the Commonwealth in their provision of special education and related services to more than 150,000 students with IEPs enrolled in public education programs. Annually SEPP’s responsibilities include overseeing the allocation of nearly $300,000,000 in federal special education funding through grants directly to public school districts and charter schools for this purpose, and for programs provided directly or by vendors contracted by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).
SEPP’s work seeks to strengthen the Commonwealth’s public education system so that every student, and most especially every student with disabilities, is prepared to succeed in postsecondary education, compete in the global economy, and participate in civic life, and in so doing, close all proficiency gaps. The main strategies for accomplishing our mission prioritize stakeholder collaboration and include: increasing public knowledge regarding special education and students with Individualized Education Program (IEPs); focused and strategic planning and use of funds; developing, modeling, and disseminating best practices; promoting communication and collaboration internally and externally; and supporting effective practice to improve and change the trajectory of student outcomes.
SEPP is a member of the DESE Center for District Support, which is committed to educational access and equity. All policy development and implementation within SEPP and the Center for District Support is in service to our core values. The Center for District Support recently refined its mission, vision and values as follows:
Fostering exceptional learning opportunities is our priority. We strive to ensure an equitable, inclusive, accessible education for all.
Every child. Every community. Every opportunity to realize student greatness.
- ACCOUNTABLE - We depend on one another to fulfill our individual and collective responsibilities.
- ADAPTIVE - We observe, adjust, and recalibrate our interactions and interventions to create positive learning experiences for students and their families.
- EQUITY AND RACIAL EQUITY - We strive to overcome systemic racism and all other forms of oppression in order to remove the predictability of success or failure that too frequently correlates with students’ cultural, disability, economic, and/or racial status.
- INCLUSIVE - We ensure that members of all identity groups are full participants in decisions that shape education policy and practice.
- STUDENT-CENTERED - Students are at the core of everything we do.
SEPP engages in statewide special education activities and priorities focused on improving outcomes for students with an Individual Education Program (IEP). Activities of the team include but are not limited to statewide data collection, analysis, and reporting; technical writing; development and provision of technical assistance; proposing, planning, and procuring professional development provided through expert providers/vendors. Responsibilities may also include special projects related to assessment, eligibility determinations, Individualized Education Program (IEP) development, creating and sustaining inclusive schools, early childhood and secondary transition, literacy, family engagement, compliance, student outcomes, diverse student populations, disproportionality, discipline, social emotional learning, educator preparation, strategic use of resources, and related topics; and intra/interagency collaboration regarding special education.
Duties and Responsibilities of an Educational Specialist
SEPP is seeking a motivated and passionate individual to join our highly skilled and productive team as one of the Educational Specialists. The selected individual will be a confident team member with skills that allow them to perform the duties listed below in partnership with SEPP team members and independently.
Professional preparation and public and/or private school teaching and/or administrative experience in special education will assist with the following duties:
- Collecting, reviewing, and performing analysis of education data related to compliance and performance metrics, with a special focus on discipline data for students with disabilities as well as reviewing district policies, practices and procedures for noncompliance in this regard. A key focus area for this position is student discipline, specifically the Massachusetts State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report Indicator 4, Suspension/Expulsion.
- Developing expertise in the Massachusetts special education disability category for emotional impairment;
- Serving as the point of contact and liaison to Systems for Student Success Office regarding behavioral interventions and support
- Collaborating with the other SEPP team members on the IEP Improvement project
- Collaborating with other DESE units on the Rethinking Discipline project
- Collecting and reporting data on Voluntary Coordinated Early Intervening Services (CEIS) and Mandatory Comprehensive Coordinated Early Intervening Services (CCEIS)
- Collaborating with SEPP team members to support the agency’s special education significant disproportionality project
- Serving as a liaison between the Safe and Supportive Learning Environments (SaSLE) team and SEPP; and
- Coordinating the submission of the State Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B application for special education
General Educational Specialist Responsibilities
Successful individuals will:
- Maintain knowledge of federal and Massachusetts state special education laws and regulations and knowledge of current trends and issues in the field of special education and specific disabilities;
- Use data to develop and write technical assistance resources, administrative advisories, guidance, professional development programs, and other continuous improvement initiatives at the state and local levels;
- Assist with proposing, planning, procuring expert providers/vendors, and coordinating statewide training and professional development activities for special educators, related services providers, families, and interested persons;
- Perform related duties such as maintaining records, preparing reports, attending meetings, and contacting vendor representatives and/or contractors;
- Act as a customer service liaison to provide technical assistance, guidance, and information to customers/stakeholders including but not limited to SEPP staff, agency staff, district staff, contractors, vendors, families, and other interested parties;
- Collaborate with other DESE units on assigned projects;
- Serve as the agency’s designee on interagency commissions, workgroups, councils, or project teams, as well as work with relevant advisory and interagency groups;
- Participate in development and implementation of interagency agreements as needed;
- Foster an inclusive culture and climate in SEPP and the agency that promotes diversity and addresses conflict constructively;
- Provide technical assistance and feedback on matters related to special education policy, laws and regulations, and recommended practice;
- Propose, write, and edit administrative and technical guidance documents, memoranda, training materials, SEPP publications, procurement documents, grant requests for proposal, and other written materials to be distributed internally or externally (as assigned);
- Contribute to the IEP Improvement Project and development of related resources to promote a data-driven inquiry process from referral to special education to implementation of students’ IEPs;
- Collaborate with DESE staff and key stakeholders to improve special education instructional practices statewide in order to increase student access to inclusive learning environments; and,
- Perform other related duties, as assigned.
Below are characteristics we will look for in the selection process. We recognize that the depth of each individually and the balance of all of them collectively may vary from candidate to candidate and as such, encourage applications from individuals with a range of background experiences and skills. The strongest candidates will have some relevant knowledge, skills, and experience, and a willingness to develop others.
Desired Knowledge, Skills, and Experience:
Desired Mindsets and Attributes:
- Superior project management skills. Successful candidate will be able to multi-task to manage multiple, shifting, competing priorities in a high-demand, fast-paced environment by managing their time, information, and projects;
- Excellent written and oral communication skills, including public speaking ability;
- Comfort in speaking in and presenting to small and large groups;
- Strong skills in data analysis including the ability to create data collection systems, analyze data, and make decisions based on the analysis;
- Ability to determine the applicability of data, exercise sound judgment, draw logical conclusions, and propose strategies for programmatic implementation;
- Strong ability to comprehend, analyze, and communicate complex information quickly;
- Strategic initiative; especially in problem-solving and anticipating risks;
- Ability to foster positive, professional relationships between and among staff, customers/stakeholders, and partners of diverse backgrounds and diverse abilities;
- Ability to write clearly, and deliver information in writing and orally that is organized, responsive to diverse audiences, and professional;
- Strong in-district experience educating or overseeing the education of students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and supporting these students in the least restrictive environment (LRE), preferably in inclusive classrooms;
- Knowledge of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and awareness of the Result Driven Accountability (RDA) framework for special education including systemic strategies for improving outcomes for students with IEPs, and federal education law;
- Knowledge of Massachusetts special education laws and special education regulations;
- Knowledge of the Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993 and awareness of current Massachusetts education improvement initiatives;
- Understanding of creating and sustaining inclusive schools, educational access and equity, social emotional learning, strategic resource management, and/or academic content; and
- Experience using computers and applications such as word processing, database, presentation, and spreadsheet software; using technology to research, manage databases, use application software programs, and produce written documents, reports, and analyses.
People who are successful working on our team demonstrate a mindset aligned with the following:
- A passion for promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in education;
- A commitment to cultural awareness, cultural responsiveness, and cultural proficiency for oneself and the ability to support others in this priority;
- Ability to get others involved in solving problems and to guide them to the accomplishment of a task;
- Ability to perceive the needs, concerns, and struggles of stakeholders and is skillful in resolving conflicts;
- Ability to work independently as a self-starter and as part of a collaborative team;
- Demonstrate that work is important to personal satisfaction and receptive to critical feedback.
First consideration will be given to those applicants that apply within the first 14 days.
Minimum Entrance Requirements:
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) is in the process of updating the job specifications and minimum entrance requirements for this title. Therefore, the Department will screen resumes based on the following:
Applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree and at least four years of full-time, or equivalent part-time, professional educational experience in a specific or related content area, educational program/or service;
a Master’s degree or higher in a specific or related educational content area may be substituted for two years of the required experience - 30 semester hours equals one year of experience for substitution purposes.
Education toward a degree in a specific or related educational content area will be prorated on the basis of the proportion of the requirements actually completed.
Based on assignment, possession of a current and valid Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Operator's License or the equivalent from another state may be required.
An Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Employer. Females, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.
Educational Specialist C (BA)
United States-Massachusetts-Malden - 75 Pleasant Street
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Feb 4, 2020, 1:40:52 PM
Number of Openings:
71,102.20 - 104,970.32 Yearly
If you have Diversity, Affirmative Action or Equal Employment Opportunity questions or need a Reasonable Accommodation, please contact Diversity Officer / ADA Coordinator: Sarah Harding - 781-338-6103
10-SEIU Local 509 - Education