Commonwealth Connections Academy, a “school without walls”, is an innovative virtual educational program serving K-12 students throughout Pennsylvania in a non-classroom-based environment. A learning team, consisting of a Parent/Learning Coach, a Certified Teacher and educational specialists, work collaboratively with students using a standards-based hybrid curriculum that includes both online and offline options. This is a unique opportunity to be part of an exciting new public schooling model that creates alternative teaching and learning options for students, parents and teachers by leveraging the latest technologies, capitalizing on recent policy initiatives and embracing a cutting edge approach to education.
Commonwealth Connections Academy is a public cyber charter school authorized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The school serves students in grades K–12 from anywhere in Pennsylvania. CCA is nationally accredited by the Commission on International and Trans-regional Accreditation (CITA) and the Middle States Association. 95% of all CCA parents agree their children are satisfied with the program in a 2012 survey.
Working from an office in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the Senior Director of Special Education will ensure that the school is providing appropriate programs in the least restrictive environment for all students with special needs. This will include oversight of all special education procedures and processes. The Senior Director of Special Education will manage and supervise staff and develop procedures to ensure the proper maintenance of student data and procedures for communication with parents. The individual’s primary responsibility will be to ensure that the school operates in compliance with special education law and procedures at all times. Decision-making skills are significant to the job, affecting a large segment of the organization, students, and teachers. Candidate must be knowledgeable of best practice in special education instruction, teaching methodology, research-based interventions, assistive technology and understanding of IDEA disabilities for students receiving special education services. Knowledge of special education laws and regulations is required. Candidate must be able to demonstrate the ability to function effectively as a team member in determining appropriate services for the children through such meetings as Eligibility, IEP, Behavior Intervention Plan and Manifestation Determinations, etc.
• Interpret and articulate special education and Section 504 regulations, policies, and procedures to principal, teachers, and parents to ensure compliance;
• Maintain standardized processes, forms and protocols for all special education and Section 504 procedures;
• Monitor and review the educational status of all students with IEPs and 504 plans to ensure they are progressing in the curriculum and that CCA is meeting their individual needs, make adjustments as needed;
• Review and verify special education documents in a timely manner; request special education documents from prior school districts via internal procedure;
• Supervise all Special Education Administrative staff;
• Oversee professional development for general and special educators including school administration;
• Train and support special education staff: web-based special education compliance program, specially designed instruction resources, assistive technology, and other relevant special education resources;
• Institute and maintain a documentation system within the Connexus System that captures and organizes all data related to special education and Section 504;
• Serve as the LEA in evaluation and IEP meetings;
• Conduct regular special education staff meetings in collaboration with the Special Education Administrative team;
• Coordinate PASA and analyze results;
• Collaborate with corporate staff at Connections Education and members of the local school team concerning all facets of programming for students with special needs;
• Work directly with parents to answer questions and ensure that all school actions are in compliance and are in the interest ensuring a free appropriate education in the Least Restrictive Environment;
• Establish an advanced understanding of Connections Education’s curricula options, and how they can be adapted and implemented to meet specific student needs such as: Supplemental Instructional Support Programs and Specially Designed Instructional support programs;
• Introduce innovative ways of supporting special needs students in a virtual environment;
• Serve on internal educational committees; and
• Additional duties as assigned.
• Master’s degree in Special Education required;
• Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree strongly preferred;
• 5+ years of experience in a direct management level position required;
• Special Education Supervisor’s Certificate, Principal’s Certificate or Superintendent’s Letter of Eligibility;
• Expert knowledge and understanding of IDEA and Chapter 711; PA School Code;
• Advanced knowledge of Section 504 law and compliance;
• Understanding of Pennsylvania’s Charter School Laws;
• Proficient knowledge of and effective implementation of Assistive Technology;
• Comprehension of RTII;
• Technologically proficient (Microsoft Office products);
• Excellent communication skills, both oral and written;
• Customer focused approach;
• High degree of flexibility;
• Demonstrated ability to work well in fast paced environment; and
• Occasional travel required;
• Relocation assistance will be considered.
Connections Academy - 14 months ago