Grant Documents

Complete Grant Application (PDF, 14.3 mb)

The complete State Personnel Development Grant application, submitted on June 27, 2011 by the Connecticut State Department of Education and SERC.

Letters of Support (PDF, 1.4 mb)

Letters of Support for the CT SPDG application

Grant Narrative (PDF, 2.2 mb)

The Narrative portion of the CT SPDG Grant Application, entitled “Development of a Statewide System of Academic and Behavioral Interventions and Supports”

Overview for Prospective Schools

A Statewide System of Academic and Behavioral Interventions and Supports


CT’s SPDG has been developed to expand and sustain a coordinated, statewide system of professional development, coaching, and support to schools, PreK-12, to improve educational outcomes for all students through the provision of a continuum of academic and behavior supports. It will increase the number of schools in CT implementing scientifically research-based core literacy instruction and school-wide positive behavioral supports driven by common core state standards and personal/social learning expectations. Through the provision of quality instruction, multi-tiered interventions, and analysis of data to inform educational decisions, participating schools will strive to improve the academic achievement of all students with a specific focus on students with disabilities, students of color, and students acquiring English. In addition to programming on CT’s SRBI Framework, comprehensive reading instruction, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), and data driven decision-making, participants will receive support on determining educational benefit for students with disabilities, developing standards-based IEPs, and increasing family/community engagement.

Eligible Applicants and Requirements of Participants

All public schools, PreK-12, including public charter and magnet schools, within the state of CT are eligible to apply. The Superintendent of Schools must be committed to:

  1. Establishing a District Leadership Team in 2014 (if such a team is not in place), maintaining this Team throughout the funding cycle (2014-2017), and delineating mechanisms for sustaining the Team after the SPDG; this Team will provide support to the School Team(s) selected to participate, including guidance/procedural changes, funding/resource allocation, and visibility/ stakeholder support;
  2. Identifying a SRBI District Coordinator (if one has not already been identified) to sustain coordination and expansion responsibilities during and after the SPDG;
  3. Supporting building principal(s) to identify a School Leadership Team (if such team is not in place) to serve as school-based coaches and manage implementation of the grant and its various components;
  4. Actively collaborating with SERC and the CSDE to identify lessons learned and to contribute to the research base through all funding years; this includes participation in annual leadership networking meetings and regular use and submission of data;
  5. Participating in all evaluation activities as outlined by the Project Evaluator contracted by SERC and the CSDE.

Benefits of Participation

Each school in the 2014-2017 Cohort will receive the following support in Year 1 of the SPDG:

  • Six (6) days of differentiated, statewide professional development (September 2014 – April 2015);
  • Six (6) days of on-site, job-embedded technical assistance and coaching support that will be tailored to meet the needs of each school (October 2014 – June 2015);
  • A $3000 stipend to defray costs for substitute coverage, data collection systems, and instructional materials;
  • Annual use of School-Wide Information System (SWIS) to track office referral data; and
  • Facilitated self-assessment of implementation.

Organization of Grant

SPDG Organizational Structure

Phase I: Exploration and Installation

Phase I of the project will strengthen the skills and capacity of district and school leadership to ensure fidelity and sustainability of implementation. Using CT’s SRBI Framework, school-based teams will be provided with training regarding School-wide PBIS and Foundations of Core Reading Instruction. Schools already using CT’s SRBI Framework to implement systems of instruction, assessment, and decision-making with fidelity will be afforded an opportunity to examine their current practices, identify areas for improvement, and work with technical advisors to strengthen core instruction and overall school climate.

Phase II: Initial Implementation

Phase II of the project will provide school-based teams with strategies and tools to establish/refine their continuum of academic and behavioral interventions and supports reflective of their students’ diverse strengths and needs. This includes, but is not limited to, understanding function of behavior as it relates to students’ identity development and achievement. In addition, schools will receive training focused on strategic decision-making in order to provide targeted and intensive reading interventions and supports to improve students’ access to learning. Accelerating student learning to attain grade level standards will be a primary focus. On-site technical assistance/coaching will be provided to facilitate implementation of a continuum of support to ensure educational benefit for all students. This will be supported by the development of standards-based IEPs and meaningful family/community engagement.

Phase III: Full Implementation and Sustainability

Schools will receive customized technical assistance focusing on the analysis and use of data to make informed decisions regarding replicable practices and how to refine/enhance curriculum, core instruction, and/or the learning environment. On-going support for school-based coaches and statewide networking will foster sustainability of the project beyond the life of the grant.

Preparing the Application

All applications must be prepared in accordance with the specifications below. Proposals should be double-spaced, size 12 font, and not exceed 10 pages.

Applications must include:

  1. Signature page with original signatures (see Appendix A);
  2. Data summary (see Appendix B);
  3. Narrative of no more than (10) pages which addresses the following:
  • a. Evidence of staff’s commitment to improving academic and behavioral outcomes for all students, including students with disabilities, students of color, and students acquiring English.
  • b. Evidence of how an integrated model of reading and behavioral interventions and supports complements the school’s improvement plan/reform efforts that currently exist.
  • c. Description of what the continuum of academic and behavioral interventions and supports at the building level currently looks like.
  • d. Explanation of how instructional practice and learning environment reflects a culturally responsible approach to literacy and behavior for all students, including students with disabilities, and how inequities are recognized and addressed.
  • e. Description, with examples, of types of assessments used and how staff currently collect, manage, and analyze data to make informed decisions to improve student learning.
  • f. Explanation of how staff actively engages families in students’ identity development and learning experience, and how they involve families in decision-making for their child.
  • Appendices of additional “value added” documentation/resources and letters of support, as appropriate.
  • Proposals, including one (1) original AND one (1) electronic version, irrespective of postmark date, must be received by 4:30 p.m. on April 30, 2014. Extensions cannot be allowed. The original proposal must bear an original signature of the Superintendent of Schools on the Signature Page (see Appendix A). All proposals become the property of SERC.

    The addresses for delivery are:

    SPDG Application
    25 Industrial Park Road
    Middletown, CT 06457

    Please click here to download this document along with the associated application.

    Proposal Review and Selection

    Schools will be selected through a multi-step process as follows:

    1. Data Analysis – CSDE and SERC Staff will review aggregated and disaggregated data provided by each school that applies, including trends in reading achievement, office disciplinary referrals, graduation rates (for high schools only), and time with non-disabled peers (TWNDP) for students with disabilities (see Appendix B);
    2. Paper Screening – Applications will be reviewed by committee, including various grant partners as feasible, including CSDE, SERC, RESC Alliance, UConn/CBER, CT PIRC, and CPAC;
    3. Verification – A pre-arranged, conference call and/or an on-site visit of highest ranked applicants may be conducted by SERC to verify need (schools will be contacted by May 23, 2014 to schedule); and
    4. Selection – CSDE and SERC will select up to 15 schools for the 2014-2017 Cohort and make recommendations for participation in future Cohorts by June 10, 2014.

    Contact Information

    If you have any questions, please contact Michelle LeBrun-Griffin, Project Coordinator, (860) 632-1485, ext. 321 or

    For further information about CT’s SPDG, please visit SERC’s SPDG website at

    It is the policy of SERC to provide equal opportunity in employment to qualified individuals regardless of race, color, religion, age, sex, marital status, civil union status, natural origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, or any other legally protected class in accordance with all applicable laws. This commitment extends to all employment decisions, including but not limited to: recruiting, hiring, promotion, training, compensation, discipline and discharge, and to all terms, benefits, privileges, and conditions of employment.

    Contact Information & Staff Directory

    860 632-1485
    CT SPDG c/o SERC
    25 Industrial Park Rd.
    Middletown, CT 06457


    Michelle LeBrun-Griffin

    Project Coordinator, SERC

    Michelle LeBrun-Griffin has been a Consultant for the State Education Resource Center (SERC) in CT since 1999.  She is responsible for the development and implementation of CT’s SRBI Framework in collaboration with the CSDE.  She facilitated the work of the SRBI Advisory Panel convened in 2006, was a contributing author for CT’s SRBI document published in 2008, and has been recognized as a lead trainer for SRBI by the CSDE.  Currently, Michelle coordinates CT’s SPDG and partners with a variety of districts and schools across the state as they strive to provide a comprehensive, continuum of support for all students.

    Contact Michelle at




    Alice Henley

    Project Manager, SERC

    Alice Henley serves as the Assistant Director for Program Development and LEA Services at the State Education Resource Center (SERC) in CT.  She is responsible for the coordination and oversight of the School Reform Resource Center at SERC whose central focus is to assist schools in assessing and establishing the structures needed to transform and sustain effective instructional practices.  Alice is a member of CT’s SPDG Management Team, Internal Leadership Team, State Leadership Team, and the PBIS Training and TA Design Team.  In this role, she directly supervises a number of consultants working on the grant and serves as the liaison with several grant partners.

    Contact Alice at




    Donald Briere, Ph.D.

    Interim Project Director, CSDE

    Donald Briere works as an Educational Consultant for the CT State Department of Education (CSDE) within the Bureau of Special Education.  In his role at the state department, he is involved in the following activities: (a) Interim Project Director of CT’s SPDG grant, (b) complaint investigations, (c) implementation of CT’s SRBI Framework, (d) preventative and effective discipline guidance, (e) Focused Monitoring of districts, and (f) transition to Common Core State Standards for students with disabilities.  Dr. Briere has worked in the Bureau of Special Education for approximately 1.5 years; formerly working as an educational researcher, independent consultant, and special education teacher in CT public schools.

    Contact Don at




    Greg Glidden

    Consultant, SERC

    Greg Glidden has served as Consultant in the areas of web design and distance learning for the State Education Resource Center (SERC) in CT for 13 years.  He is currently supporting the development and expansion of CT’s SPDG website as a platform for information, resource sharing, and communication.

    Contact Greg at



    About CT SPDG

    Project Overview:

    This professional development project will expand Connecticut’s (CT) first SPDG to build and sustain a statewide system regarding CT’s Framework for Response to Intervention (RtI), titled Scientifically Research-Based Interventions (SRBI). It is designed to increase literacy achievement and positive behavior of students with disabilities. Students with varying disabilities and severities will be targeted. An additional focus will further enable personnel to work with students of color and those who are limited English proficient and to partner with their families.

    Project Goals:

    • Development of a coordinated statewide system of academic/behavior continuum of supports;
    • Implementation with fidelity of scientifically research-based programs of positive behavioral supports and literacy instruction driven by common core state standards through models of multi-tiered interventions and a data driven decision making process
    • Improved academic achievement of all students in participating schools.

    Logic Model

    The Logic Model for the CT SPDG provides a visual representation of the grant’s activities and anticipated outcomes.


    SPDG documents

    Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) Grant Application
    2014 SPDG Brochure

    Cohort 4 News

    We have had a busy summer planning SPDG activities for the year, and are excited to share with you school and Technical Assistance Provider (TAPs) information for Cohort 4.

    TAPs will be in touch with you by the end of next week to solidify your participation at the Leadership Launch on Tuesday, September 9th and to initiate date setting for the coming year.  In the meantime, please watch your email over the next few days for pertinent communications regarding upcoming September activities.

    SPDG Cohort 4



    Grade Level


    Technical Assistance Providers (TAPs)

    New London Dover MS 6-8  Michelle LeBrun-Griffin, SERC and Janet Zarchen, SERC
    New London  Jennings   PK-5  Nitza Diaz, SERC and Nancy Mercer, LEARN
    New London  Nathan Hale  K-5  Jared Lancer, SERC and Chris VanDusen, LEARN
    New London  NLHS  9-12 Bill Bannish, SERC and Irene Zytka, SERC
    New London  Winthrop  K-5 Lillie Stuart, SERC and Clare Wurm, SERC
    Plainville  Plainville MS  6-8  Steve Proffitt, SERC and TBD
    RSD #12 Shepaug HS 6-8 Meg Porcella, SERC and Janine Fiorillo, ACES
    Somers  Elementary  PK-5  Cynthia Zingler, CREC and Kc Nelson-Oliveria, SERC
    Somers HS  9-12  Cynthia Zingler, CREC and Cathy Forker, SERC.
    Torrington  MS  6-8  Michelle Weaver, SERC and Carly Wierland-Quiros, Education Connection
    Watertown Judson   3-5  Virginia Babcock, SERC and Carly Wierland-Quiros, Education Connection


    Cohort 3 News

    Dear Principals:

    We hope you had a great start to the school year! We will be kicking off this year’s program with an on-site Data Review.  Attached, you will find directions for completion of the Literacy Evaluation Tool/LET to gather baseline data regarding staff’s perception of current literacy practices in your building.  This on-line survey should take no more than 15 minutes to complete.  All staff responsible for teaching reading, including general and special education ELA teachers, reading specialists, and related support staff, as well as administrators working with these educators  should participate in taking this survey.  Please ensure appropriate staff complete this survey by Tuesday, September 16th to provide enough turnaround time for the data to be compiled for your Fall Data Review.

    In the meantime, watch your email for further information regarding what to prepare for Data Review.  If you should have any additional questions or need further clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

    Literacy Evaluation Tool (LET)

    As an educator, you have a unique perspective on your school’s reading culture that we feel
    is very important. Please take a few minutes to share your perceptions by taking the online
    Literacy Evaluation Tool (LET)!

    What is it?
    The LET is an online self-assessment intended to assess educators’ general perceptions of their school’s literacy program.  It is being conducted in your school as part of the CT State Personnel Development Grant (CT SPDG).

    Who Should Participate?
    All educators who are involved in reading/literacy instruction for students in PreK-12, including general and special education ELA teachers, reading specialists, and related support staff; as well as administrators who work with these educators.

    What Do I Need to Do?
    Go to to complete the survey.  It should only take 10-15 minutes of your time!


    To access the online Literacy Evaluation Tool:

    Responses are due by 5pm, Tuesday, September 16, 2014.

    Cohort 2 News

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