Haring Center

October 21, 2020

Inclusion in Online Learning: Professional Development and Training

As online learning rapidly became the ‘new normal’ this year, the Haring Center stepped up to ensure inclusion was at the forefront. The Haring Center’s Framework for Online Support comprises a tiered system, at the base of which is ensuring support for families’ basic needs, and moves up through managing behaviors, developing curricula and monitoring progress to adapt as necessary. Each of the Haring Center’s three teams is working from this framework to promote inclusive online learning through its integrated model of research, training and demonstration.

The Haring Center’s Professional Development and Training Team provides expert training. With the onset of the pandemic, the team’s specialists have been supporting educators and leaders to adapt to online learning in an inclusive manner.

“No educators took ‘Teaching in a Global Pandemic 101’ in their teacher preparation programs,” says Ariane Gauvreau (PhD ‘15), senior director for professional development and training. “Teachers are faced with really big challenges right now, and at the Haring Center we’re working hard to empower them to meet the needs of all learners and families.”

The Haring Center is continuing to provide ongoing support statewide to schools from preschool through high school. This may look like working with administrators to create equitable systems and policies that will ensure all families have access to technologies. It may also look like walking teachers through using a green screen to create more engaging ways of delivering instruction in preschool settings.

The Professional Development and Training Team also developed a three-part webinar series to disseminate best practices for online learning with partners across the state as they begin the 2020-21 academic year.

The first webinar covers the current needs of families and how to build community in online settings. The second dives into planning and assessment during online learning.

“We’re encouraging educators to think about how families can be more involved with assessment,” says Gauvreau. “We have an opportunity to authentically position families as their child’s first teacher and to learn from families in ways we aren’t always able to in face-to-face settings.”

The third webinar explores strategies for virtual home visits and supporting families’ individual needs. Gauvreau explains that teachers can leverage technologies to center child preferences and promote participation.

“We know that the needs of families around children’s behavior and communication have increased, and will continue to increase as school and childcare closures persist. It’s crucial that teachers feel confident in their abilities to provide individualized support to families,” she says.

In addition, the Haring Center offers a selection of online learning opportunities, both live and recorded, covering topics such as supporting parents with challenging behaviors at home and leveraging technologies to support families.

Gauvreau notes that the use of virtual trainings has enabled the Haring Center to reach a broader audience, including providers out-of-state, as well as fostering collaboration across school districts.

“During our first webinar, participants wanted to learn not only about how the Haring Center is doing online learning, but also how colleagues in other districts are doing it,” she says. “It’s exciting to be in this space where we can connect educators and support collaboration across programs.”

Gauvreau believes the pandemic will change the landscape of professional development delivery in the future.

“Delivering professional development online increases access for groups of people who otherwise would not be able to join us at the Haring Center for a face-to-face training,” she says. “We hope this enables us to expand our reach and connect with communities outside Puget Sound and beyond.”