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Virginia rolls out new program to help special education teachers

(Ferre' Dollar/CNN)

Virginia is testing out a pilot program meant to help new special education teachers. 

Special education is consistently the No. 1 critical shortage area for teachers, according to James Lane, superintendent of Public Instruction. This program is designed to provide resources and professional development opportunities for first-year special education teachers, with the hopes of ensuring their success. 
 
The program is the result of a partnership between the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) and the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), a nonprofit professional association dedicated to improving outcomes for students with disabilities.

To participate, teachers will have to be registered by their school division's human resources office by November 30. 

The following teachers are eligible: 
- Special education teachers who are new to the profession and have been teaching special education students since the start of the 2018-2019 school year; and 
- Teachers who have taught other subjects or focus areas but transferred to become special education teachers for the first time during the 2018-2019 school year. 
 
Teachers participating in the pilot will receive:
- An electronic version of The Survival Guide for New Special Education Teachers
- A one-year membership to CEC providing access to information, resources and professional development opportunities, including subscriptions to two CEC publications: Exceptional Children and Teaching Exceptional Children; discounts on evidence-based publications; online learning and live events; and access to peer-to-peer support from thousands of special educators, 
- Three hours of professional development, specifically designed by CEC for new Virginia special educators. 
- Free registration to attend the 2018 Virginia statewide CEC conference for special education professionals.