FDLRS_6x6.pngPDA ONLINE MODULES

These modules are offered free of charge to Florida educators through the coordination of the FDLRS Administration/HRD Project, FDLRS Associate Centers, ESE Departments and District Staff Development Offices around the state. The local centers designate PDA Coordinators to schedule the time frames for the modules to be offered online locally and to secure individuals to act as facilitators to support and guide participants as they navigate the module content. The local PDA Coordinators also insure availability of local technical support for participants enrolled in each module. Local contact information and current module availability may be found here


These courses award 60, 30, 20, 10, or 5 in-service points, as noted with each, upon completion of specific requirements with each module.

Facilitated Modules

Assessment and Evaluation (60 Points)
To increase participant’s knowledge of assessment and evaluation as outlined in the following Exceptional Student Educator Competencies revised in 2009:
  • Identify the purposes of assessment (e.g., early identification, screening, interventions, eligibility, diagnosis, identification of relevant instructional content, monitoring the effectiveness of instruction) across disciplines.
  • Identify the legal requirements and ethical principles regarding the assessment of students with disabilities (e.g., confidentiality, adherence to test protocols, appropriateness of assessment for student needs).
  • Identify measurement concepts, characteristics, and uses of norm-referenced, criterion-referenced, and performance-based assessments for students with disabilities.
  • Interpret, analyze, and apply the results of norm-referenced, criterion-referenced, and performance-based assessments for students with disabilities.
  • Identify alternative assessment strategies and procedures (e.g., observations, performance-based assessments, ecological assessments, interviews, portfolios) and their appropriate use.
  • Identify the factors (e.g., curriculum alignment, cultural bias) that influence disproportionate representation of students from diverse cultural, linguistic, and socioeconomic backgrounds in programs for students with disabilities and recognize the implications for assessment.
  • Identify and analyze reliable and valid progress-monitoring methods for assessing individual student progress (e.g., curriculum-based assessments, fluency checks, rubrics, story retelling, informal reading inventories, portfolios).

Foundations of ESE (60 Points)

To increase participant’s knowledge of foundations of exceptional student education as outlined in the following Exceptional Student Educator Competencies revised in 2009:
  • Identify state and federal legislation and case law that have affected the education of students with disabilities.
  • Identify appropriate practices based on legal and ethical standards (e.g., due process, procedural safeguards, confidentiality, access to general education, least restrictive environment, transition planning, free appropriate public education).
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the required policies and processes for developing individual education plans (IEPs), individualized family service plans (IFSPs), and transition IEPs.
  • Identify the classification systems and eligibility criteria under the current Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act.
  • Compare the development and characteristics (e.g., language, cognitive-academic, social-emotional, sensory, physical-motor) of children with disabilities to the development and characteristics of children without disabilities.
  • Interpret curriculum information and assessment data for IEP and child study team members.
  • Identify models of support for assisting students with disabilities in accessing the general education curricula.
  • Identify the purposes and functions of professional and advocacy organizations relevant to educating students with disabilities

Instructional Practices (60 Points)

To increase participants’ knowledge of instructional practices in exceptional student education as outlined in the following Exceptional Student Educator Competencies revised in 2009.
  • Analyze assessment information to identify a student's educational needs and instructional levels in order to select appropriate specialized instructional techniques, strategies, and materials.
  • Identify characteristics of reliable sources of scientifically based research related to instructional practices.
  • Identify instructional strategies for acquisition, generalization, and maintenance of skills (e.g., functional and applied academic skills, workplace and career skills, independent living skills) across school, home, work, and community settings.
  • Select relevant general education and alternate standards and curricula appropriate for a student's age, instructional needs, and functional performance across settings.
  • Identify methods for differentiating, accommodating, and modifying assessment, instruction, and materials in order to meet individual student needs (e.g., related to age, gender, cultural and linguistic background, preferred communication mode).
  • Identify effective methods of communication, consultation, and collaboration with students, families, parents, guardians, administrators, general education teachers, paraprofessionals, and other professionals, including students, families, and team members from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, as equal members of the educational team.
  • Identify effective classroom management and flexible grouping strategies for specific instructional activities.
  • Identify effective instructional methods (e.g., explicit and systematic instruction, scaffolding, modeling) for integrating reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing, researching, and presenting across the curricula.
  • Identify instructional strategies that help students comprehend and apply knowledge of informational text structure (e.g., cause and effect, chronological order, compare and contrast) and text features (e.g., index, glossary, subheading).
  • Identify criteria for selecting and evaluating both print and nonprint media (e.g., Internet, software, trade books, textbooks, DVDs, videos) for instructional use to match student needs and interests.
  • Identify effective instructional methods and supports (e.g., direct instruction, visual supports, manipulatives) for teaching mathematics and integrating mathematics across the curricula.

Language Development and Communications (60 Points)

  • To increase participants’ knowledge of language development and communication skills as outlined in the following Exceptional Student Educator Competencies revised in 2009:
  • Identify the sequence of expressive and receptive language development and the components of language structure.
  • Identify communication deficits and select appropriate interventions.
  • Select strategies for integrating communication instruction into educational settings.
  • Select appropriate assistive technology and alternative communication systems to facilitate communication.
  • Identify the sequence of typical reading development (e.g., prereading level, learning to read, reading to learn) and the critical components of reading development (e.g., phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension).
  • Identify the terminology and concepts of literacy development (e.g., oral language, phonological awareness, concepts about print, alphabet knowledge, decoding, vocabulary, text structures, written language, and motivation).
  • Identify the characteristics and purposes of various reading programs (e.g., core reading program, supplemental reading program, intensive intervention program).
  • Identify characteristics of reading difficulties.
  • Identify and select prevention and intervention methods for addressing reading difficulties.
  • Identify the early phases of word recognition within the decoding process (e.g., pre-alphabetic, partial alphabetic, full alphabetic, consolidated alphabetic).
  • Identify explicit and systematic instructional methods for promoting the development of phonological and phonemic awareness.
  • Identify the processes and skills (e.g., graphophonemic, morphemic, syntactic, semantic) that effective readers use for word recognition.
  • Identify explicit and systematic instructional methods for developing reading fluency (e.g., practice with high-frequency words, timed readings, repeated readings, read alouds, choral reading, recorded books).
  • Identify explicit and systematic instructional methods and strategies for increasing vocabulary acquisition (e.g., appropriate choice of words for instruction; multiple exposures; teaching word learning strategies, such as word analysis and contextual analysis).
  • Identify explicit and systematic instructional methods and strategies for facilitating students' reading-comprehension and critical-thinking skills (e.g., use of graphic and semantic organizers; use of multiple strategy instruction; teaching summarizing, monitoring comprehension, question answering, question generating, and recognizing story structure as comprehension strategies).
  • Identify explicit and systematic instructional methods for developing phonics skills.

Differentiating Reading Instruction for Students (60 Points)

The PDA online module Differentiating Reading Instruction for Students: Making It Explicit was developed to provide comprehensive, high quality and accessible professional development for teachers who want to improve their skills in differentiating reading instruction and increase their expertise for teaching students experiencing reading difficulties, especially those with significant and persistent difficulties. This population may include but is not limited to students with identified disabilities or students who are English Language Learners. This module has been approved by the Just Read, Florida! office to satisfy the requirements for Competency 4 of the Reading Endorsement. Participants will earn 60 inservice points for participation in group meetings, online study and classroom-based case study investigations. Participants will be supported by a trained facilitator, selected for their expertise in Reading and Exceptional Student Education.
The PDA online module Differentiating Reading Instruction for Students: Making It Explicit content aligns with and extends current Florida reading initiatives by focusing on guidelines for differentiation and strategies that support differentiation to improve instruction for all students. The module emphasizes and defines explicit instruction by illustrating how instructional design principles and teacher delivery methods, used to increase intensity, achieve optimal results for students who are challenged by learning to read or reading to learn.

Positive Behavioral Supports (60 Points)

To increase participant’s knowledge of assessing, designing, and implementing positive behavioral supports as outlined in the following Exceptional Student Educator Competencies revised in 2009:
  • Analyze the legal and ethical issues pertaining to positive behavior-management strategies and disciplinary actions.
  • Identify data collection strategies for assessing student behavior.
  • Analyze individual and group data to select and evaluate proactive interventions that foster appropriate behavior.
  • Identify and interpret the essential elements of a functional behavior assessment and a behavior intervention plan.
  • Recognize the various concepts and models of positive behavior management.

Transition (60 Points)

To increase participant’s knowledge of the transition process as outlined in the following Exceptional Student Educator Competencies revised in 2009:
  • Identify activities relevant to the four stages of career development (i.e., awareness, exploration, preparation, and placement).
  • Identify the essential domains of transition planning (e.g., personal-social, general community functioning, employment, leisure-recreational) for students with disabilities.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of transition planning using student and family characteristics (e.g., socioeconomic status, gender, cultural and linguistic background) to develop desired postschool outcomes.
  • Identify resources and strategies for assisting students in functioning in a variety of environments to which they will be transitioning.

Interpersonal Interactions and Participation (30 Points)

To increase participant’s knowledge of knowledge of skills related to teaching interpersonal interactions and participation as outlined in the following Exceptional Student Educator Competencies revised in 2009:
  • Select appropriate instructional procedures for teaching adaptive life skills based on observations, ecological assessments, family interviews, and other student information.
  • Identify methods for evaluating and documenting student progress in acquiring, generalizing, and maintaining skills related to interpersonal interactions and participation in activities across settings (e.g., at school, at home, in the community).
  • Identify skills necessary for students with disabilities to engage in self-determination and self-advocacy.

Differentiating Mathematics Instruction for All Students (30 Points)
The Next Generation Sunshine State Standards prepare Florida’s students to effectively engage, communicate, and compete globally with students around the world. Florida’s standards incorporate important skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, innovation, collaboration and communication. These new standards stress teaching to depth for long-term knowledge. With an increased emphasis on problem solving, conceptual understanding and reasoning, teachers are being asked not only to employ the most effective pedagogy for teaching mathematics, but also to respond to each student’s learning needs.
The Differentiating Mathematics Instruction for All Students module focuses on how to use the guidelines for differentiation along with sound mathematical strategies guided by a responsive decision-making framework so that all students can achieve at the highest level.
The Differentiating Mathematics Instruction for All Students module addresses the following questions:
  • What does a differentiated mathematics classroom look like?
  • What are the basic guidelines for developing a differentiated environment and how can I apply them to my mathematics instruction and assessment?
  • How do I design and deliver effective lessons for teaching of initial understanding?
  • How do I use pre-assessment, continuous assessment, and summative assessment to design and adjust mathematics instruction?
  • How do I use flexible small-group instruction to respond to all learners’ needs?
  • How can I use technology to enhance mathematics instruction

Differentiating Science Instruction for All Students (30 Points)
The Next Generation Sunshine State Standards (NGSSS) prepare Florida’s students to effectively engage, communicate, and compete globally with students around the world. These new standards stress teaching to depth for long-term knowledge. With an increased emphasis on problem solving, conceptual understanding, and reasoning, teachers are being asked not only to employ the most effective pedagogy for teaching science, but also to respond to each student’s learning needs.
The Differentiating Science Instruction for All Students module focuses on how to use the guidelines for differentiation along with a high-quality science curriculum guided by a responsive decision-making framework so that each student can achieve at the highest possible level.
The Differentiating Science Instruction for All Students module addresses the following questions:
  • What is differentiated instruction?
  • What does a science classroom look like when instruction is differentiated?
  • Does this mean individual lessons will need to be created for each student?
  • What are the basic guidelines of differentiated instruction?
  • How do I design and deliver effective lessons for teaching of initial understanding to the whole class?
  • What do we mean by a continuous assessment process?
  • How do I use this process of pre-assessment, ongoing assessment (formative, interim), and summative assessment to design and adjust instruction to meet the needs of all my students?
  • What is flexible grouping and how do I use it to move students from initial understanding to proficiency?
  • How can I use technology to enhance instruction?

An Introduction to Differentiating Instruction: Responding to All Learners (20 Points)
While some students learn regardless of the instruction and some students learn adequately with whole group “one-size-fits-all” instruction, most students benefit from a highly skilled teacher and an environment that carefully attends to individual student differences. Teachers who want to maximize each student's potential have to respond to differences by developing a differentiated classroom environment. The teacher must have clarity about the learning goals, use assessment information to make instructional decisions and provide engaging and challenging work that is matched to a learner’s needs. Differentiated instruction is an observable, classroom level practice that uses assessment information to monitor students’ rate of progress and level of performance over time in order to make data-based decisions. This formative use of assessment to meet students’ needs is also an inherent component of Florida’s Multi Tiered System of Support. This module is an introduction to some of the basic guidelines of differentiation.

Formative Assessment Process for Differentiating Instruction (20 Points)
The formative assessment process can be understood as a continuous and fluid set of actions used to make decisions about instruction that result in the highest possible achievement by each student. Without this process, meaningful differentiation that improves achievement is impossible. The formative assessment process produces evidence of student learning that can be analyzed individually by a classroom teacher to differentiate instruction but is also essential to school teams engaging in a systematic problem-solving process and lesson study.

Technology for Student Success: An Introduction (20 Points)
Technology for Student Success: An Introduction online module is designed to assist in identifying the components of assistive technology, instructional technology, Universal Design for Learning, and accessible instructional materials. The module provides an introduction to using these components to support students in the classroom.
Integrating technology into the classroom to support instruction is not a new concept. For years, students with special needs have been equipped with technology to assist them in functional skills. However, using technology to support the individual needs of students in the general education population is an evolving pedagogy. Today’s educators have either been immersed in technology in college and are embracing it with eagerness, or are witnessing a complete paradigm shift in how they view teaching and instruction with technology. Few students are entering school without a solid ground of experience using technology in the home environment. It is becoming imperative that educators are prepared to use available technologies to engage students in the learning experience.

Technology for Student Success: Assistive Technology (20 Points)
This course enables educators to develop, increase and demonstrate knowledge about assistive technology devices and services and the process of helping students with disabilities select, obtain, and use assistive technology. Content includes information about the impact of identified areas of disability including: vision, auditory, physical, communication, intellectual, and cognitive processing and how assistive technology devices and services provide support.

Technology for Student Success: Tools for Reading Comprehension (10Points)
This course enables educators to develop, increase and demonstrate knowledge about variety of technology tools that can be used by students to scaffold, support, and augment some of the cognitive processing that leads to reading comprehension. This module is not designed to provide guidance in how to teach reading skills.


Matrix of Services (5 Points)
This course enables educators to develop, increase and demonstrate knowledge about the Matrix of Services. Content and activities examine the requirements for matrix completion and provide the opportunity to accurately complete a matrix for students with disabilities. The course identifies how student educational needs and services impact the matrix funding document.

Surrogate Parent (5 Points)
This course enables participants to develop, increase and demonstrate knowledge about the requirements and steps involved in becoming a surrogate parent, from application through completion of services. This course also provides an opportunity for participants to become acquainted with background information on the district's responsibility in recruiting, training, appointing and terminating surrogate parents. The course reviews which students are eligible for a surrogate parent and why the need exists for such services.


Non-Facilitated (Independent Study) Modules
Classroom Behavior Interventions and Supports (20 points)
This course will provide an overview of the 4-step problem-solving process that is used in the context of tiered systems of service delivery to ensure responsive instructional practices that meet the needs of all students. It will illustrate the importance of utilizing a data-based problem-solving process to make adjustments to the critical classroom PBIS practices that ensure responsive behavioral systems that are unique to the needs of staff and students within each classroom. This module will begin modeling Step 1 of the problem-solving process, Problem Identification, using a case study exemplar followed by demonstration. Participants will have an opportunity to practice newly learned skills utilizing a second case study. Tools and resources will be provided throughout the module to support implementation and practical application of key practices reviewed.

Teaching Students with Disabilities (20 Points)
This course enables educators to develop, increase and demonstrate knowledge and skills for providing effective instruction for students with disabilities. Content and activities focus on federal and state requirements for identification and provision of services to students with disabilities and comparison of the development and characteristics of children with disabilities to children without disabilities. Emphasis is on how to develop a universally designed and differentiated environment by identifying models of support for assisting students with disabilities in accessing the general education curricula and by implementing effective instructional methods (e.g. explicit and systematic instruction, scaffolding, modeling, visual supports, and manipulatives) in order to meet individual student needs.

Effective Teaching Practices for Students with Disabilities: Focusing on the Content Areas (20 points)
This course enables educators to develop and increase appropriate instructional practices for students with disabilities. The goal is to provide an instructional environment that acknowledges student variance and eliminates barriers to learning so that students with disabilities can achieve rigorous academic standards. Emphasis is on the key common elements of Universal Design for Learning, differentiated instruction, explicit instruction, and frameworks of effective teacher behaviors, as well as their relationship to specially designed instruction. These practices are provided across all tiers of Florida’s Multi-Tiered System of Supports. Application examples are provided in areas of English/Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies.

Battelle Developmental Inventory - 2nd Edition (10 points)
The focus of this course is to provide information about the use, administration, scoring, and interpretation of the Battelle Developmental Inventory, 2nd Edition (BDI-2).

Inclusive Practices for the Developmentally Appropriate Pre-K Classroom (10 points)
The goal of this course is to provide early childhood educators with information and instructional practices that support young children with special needs in an inclusive environment. It focuses on three developmental domains: communication, social-emotional, and adaptive which are the three prekindergarten indicators from the FLDOE/BEESS Strategic Plan.

Elementary K-6 Exam Content Review Module (no in-service credit)
This course enables participants to review content covered under the four main competency areas identified under Florida's Elementary K-6 Certification guidelines. The course is designed to help educators review and refresh their knowledge base in the areas of language arts and reading, math, science, and social science, as required in Florida’s Elementary K-6 certification exam.

Middle Grades 5-9 Exams Content Review Modules (no in-service credit)
This course enables participants to review core content areas outlined in the teacher competencies required in the following Florida subject area certification examinations: Middle Grades English 5-9, Middle Grades Mathematics 5-9, Middle Grades General Science 5-9 and Middle Grades Social Science 5-9 certification exam. Each module focuses on one content area. Educators may choose to register for a single module or may register for up to four modules.

For more information go to www.fl-pda.org