Special Education Professional Learning Services

Improve Instruction and Academic Achievement for Students with Disabilities

Across the nation, wide achievement gaps persist between students with disabilities and those without. Many special education teachers are not adequately prepared to teach reading and math. Until they are, the gap between general education and special education students will remain. CORE works with special education teachers and paraprofessionals to build their instructional skills so that they have the same expertise in evidence-based reading and math practices as general education teachers.

Our on-site, job-embedded professional learning provides:

  • Personalized training in the science of how to teach math and reading, particularly to students with learning difficulties, including dyslexia
  • Instruction on integrating  high-leverage practices (HLPs) into instruction
  • Assistance identifying and implementing evidence-based curricula, appropriate materials and assessments
  • Coaching, including modeling lessons, analyzing data, reviewing IEPs, and setting goals for robust student outcomes
  • Guidance to establish processes to reduce the over-identification of students in need of special education services and the over-representation of English learners and children of color

Need assistance to evaluate and improve your  systems, policies and procedures to better support students with disabilities?

CORE and our partner Pivot work with districts to evaluate existing general education and special education systems and develop action plans to improve practices and build capacity. We also provide guidance to develop and implement Multi-tiered Systems of Support to ensure every student receives high quality teaching and equitable academic and behavioral supports. Learn more.

Raise the bar for your special education students. Strengthen special education and general education teachers’ instructional skills to ensure all students excel, especially your most vulnerable. Contact us to discuss how CORE can create a custom professional learning program for your team.

Meet CORE's Special Education Experts

  • Gail Adams, M.Ed. — Literacy, K–12
    Gail Adams, M.Ed. — Literacy, K–12
Gail Adams, M.Ed. — Literacy, K–12

Gail Adams is an Educational Services Consultant with CORE. Gail is a veteran educator who is certified in general education, special education and as a reading specialist. She has thirty years of experience as a teacher and seven years as a district level program specialist. In addition to working for the Poway Unified School District, Gail has served as an educational consultant for the San Diego County Office of Education and  the North County Professional Development Federation. As a contributing author and trainer for materials developed under two California reading grants: Teaching Reading in Every Classroom and Effective Intervention Academy, Gail worked closely with teachers and students in grades 4-8. Gail is a nationally certified trainer for several intervention programs: REWARDS, Phonics for Reading, Read Well, Third Quest and Read Naturally. She is co-author of the Six Minute Solution : A Reading Fluency Program, eSolution: Fluency, Vocabulary and Comprehension and Words for Academic Writing.

  • Beverly A. Jagla, M.Ed. – Literacy, K-8
    Beverly A. Jagla, M.Ed. – Literacy, K-8
Beverly A. Jagla, M.Ed. – Literacy, K-8

Beverly A. Jagla has been an Educational Services Consultant with CORE since 2003. She holds a Master of Education degree in special education from Central Washington University and received her Superintendent’s Credentials from Seattle Pacific University in 1995. Her teaching experiences include first grade, special education (K–6), gifted and talented (1–6), work in the British Primary Schools near London, and over 20 years as an adjunct professor with Central Washington University in its Teacher Education program. She was an elementary principal for 12 years in a K–5 school and an Assistant Superintendent for 13 years, working with curriculum, instruction, and professional development. Beverly has also served as an Acting Superintendent.

Beverly’s experience with CORE has included work in urban, suburban, and rural settings. She has done site implementation work with reading programs in Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, New Mexico, North Dakota and Washington. She has delivered specific trainings in reading instruction in California, Colorado, Indiana, Mississippi, Montana, New York, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington. She is totally committed to helping all children develop proficiency in reading and language arts skills.

  • Sewellyn Kaplan, M.S. – Literacy, Middle & High School
    Sewellyn Kaplan, M.S. – Literacy, Middle & High School
Sewellyn Kaplan, M.S. – Literacy, Middle & High School

Sewellyn Kaplan is an Educational Services Consultant with CORE. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Riverside with a dual major in Spanish and English, and her master’s degree in Learning Disabilities from California State University, East Bay. She also holds an Administrative Credential in the State of California. Between degrees, Ms. Kaplan was a teacher and then the owner of a folk-art store (for 13 years), giving her a strong sense of entrepreneurship. In public education, she worked as a high school literacy coach for a large urban school district where she implemented all reading interventions and monitored the implementation of the Response to Intervention strategies. As a Special Education teacher, Ms. Kaplan also spent eight years teaching all students in an inclusive alternative high school setting. Her focus was on reading instruction. During that period, she received numerous awards, including Teacher of the Year, the Humanitarian Award, and the Warren W. Eukel Teacher Trust Award. Lastly, Ms. Kaplan was an Assistant Principal/Instructional Specialist at a large urban high school tasked with implementing all English Language Arts and mathematics curricula and working closely with teachers to improve instruction.

In all roles, she has been instrumental in developing and delivering professional development. Of particular note in education is her experience in both learning differences and very diverse populations of students, enabling her to offer teaching strategies for all populations.

In her career with CORE, she has had the opportunity to work with all grade levels, K-12, in implementing and assessing a wide variety of literacy programs, with an emphasis on supporting access to growth for all students. She has led trainings in vocabulary development, fluency, writing, and reading strategies. In the past few years, she has also had the opportunity to work with elementary school teachers, again with a focus on literacy.

In her numerous roles, Ms. Kaplan has worked closely with both teachers and students to ensure success and a love of learning that will endure a lifetime.

  • Elestine Smittick — Literacy, K–6
    Elestine Smittick — Literacy, K–6
Elestine Smittick — Literacy, K–6

Elestine Smittick is an Educational Services Consultant with CORE. Elestine recently relocated to the Memphis, Tennessee area from Los Angeles. She have worked for over 20 years as a literacy consultant. Elestine values the opportunity to support schools and districts with literacy instruction that meets the needs of all students. After 33 years in public education as a teacher and administrator, she made the leap to jump into literacy consulting as part of her retirement pan.

Elestine values the opportunity to continue her support for districts and schools as they work together to improve literacy instruction for All students. She is a true believer that working together we can help all students reach their greatest potential.

  • Teresa Roeder, M.Ed. – Literacy, preK-12
    Teresa Roeder, M.Ed. – Literacy, preK-12
Teresa Roeder, M.Ed. – Literacy, preK-12

Teresa M. Roeder has a long and distinguished history with CORE. She worked as a full-time consultant during CORE’s developmental period, helping to create CORE’s services and products and is presently an Educational Services Consultant. Ms. Roeder returned to her school district, San Ramon Valley in California, where she worked in the Office of Instruction and Assessment, responsible for professional staff development districtwide, curriculum development, and implementation of the K–3 Assessment Plan aligned with a standards-based reporting system; served on the District Assessment Team; was the K-12 District Inclusion Specialist; and most recently assumed a position at the high school level as a teacher of English and a Resource Specialist for students identified as dyslexic for participation in special education. She has served in the capacity of a Teacher Leader, Mentor Teacher, and districtwide new teacher coach and Literacy Specialist, providing professional staff development in general education and special education in grades K–12. Further, Ms. Roeder has served as an instructor in the Reading Certificate Program for the University of California, Berkeley.

Just before returning to CORE, she served as Executive Editor for LeapFrog School House and was a contributing member to a research study involved with the University of London. Ms. Roeder holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and sociology from the University of Sonoma with an Elementary Credential, a Learning Handicapped and Severely Handicapped Specialist Credential, and resource specialist’s advanced degree.

Leverage MTSS to Support the Learning Needs of All Students

Multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) are designed to improve academic, behavioral and social-emotional outcomes for all students, whether they are struggling or have advanced learning needs. CORE helps educators develop the knowledge and skills to implement sustainable MTSS frameworks.

MTSS offer a framework in which to provide high quality instruction and interventions matched to student need. Implementing MTSS requires knowledge at all levels, resources, and organizational structures. CORE supports schools and districts with the design of effective MTSS frameworks and the necessary changes to processes and practices needed for MTSS to truly impact student achievement.

CORE MTSS experts work with:

  • Leadership teams to implement a coordinated system of prevention and intervention designed to prevent academic failure and to proactively intervene when students are at risk
  • Teachers to coach them on how to identify student need, monitor student progress, and adjust interventions using data-driven decision-making

Understanding Dyslexia: Why Early Prevention and Intervention are Crucial

Unlike learning to speak, reading is not a natural process. Reading has to be taught. For many, learning to read is one of the most difficult cognitive tasks they will ever encounter, especially for those with dyslexia.

According to the International Dyslexia Association (IDA), dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.

Read the white paper by Dr. Dale Webster, Chief Academic Officer for CORE, to learn more about how early assessment and research-based instruction for prevention and intervention for reading difficulties can stop the struggle to learn to read for your students.