Steps to equity for students with disabilities

By Sarah Brandt and Amy Szarkowski
Categories: Equity, Learning communities, Learning designs
October 2023
Designing professional learning that meets the diverse needs of special education professionals is exciting, challenging, and critically important. Special educators bring a wide range of job responsibilities and skills to the task of addressing their students’ needs. At the Children’s Center for Communication/Beverly School for the Deaf in Massachusetts, staff include teachers, teaching assistants, American Sign Language (ASL)/English interpreters, and related service providers such as speech-language, occupational, and physical therapists. Collectively, these professionals support deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing children from ages 3 to 22 with a range of communication and developmental challenges. We use the term “deaf” to include all deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals, while “Deaf” is used in reference to those who identify with Deaf culture, participate in the Deaf community, and

Read the remaining content with membership access. Join or log in below to continue.

Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt explicabo. Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem quia voluptas sit aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni dolores eos qui ratione voluptatem sequi nesciunt. Neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit, sed quia non numquam eius modi tempora incidunt ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem.

Log In


Carter Andrews, D.J. & Richmond, G. (2019). Professional development for equity: What constitutes powerful professional learning? Journal of Teacher Education, 70(5), 408-409.

Darling-Hammond, L., Hyler, M.E., & Gardner, M. (2017). Effective teacher professional development. Learning Policy Institute.

Garrett, R., Zhang, Q., Citkowicz, M., & Burr, L. (2021). How Learning Forward’s Standards for Professional Learning are associated with teacher instruction and student achievement: A meta-analysis. American Institutes for Research.

King, F. & Holland, E. (2022). A transformative professional learning meta-model to support leadership learning and growth of early career teachers. International Journal of Leadership in Education. 

Kusters, A., De Meulder, M., Friedner, M., & Emery, S. (2015). On “diversity” and “inclusion”: Exploring paradigms for achieving Sign Language Peoples’ rights. MMG Working Paper. 

Learning Forward (2022). Standards for Professional Learning. Author.

McLeskey, J., Barringer, M-D., Billingsley, B., Brownell, M., Jackson, D., Kennedy, M., Lewis, T., Maheady, L., Rodriguez, J., Scheeler, M.C., Winn, J., & Ziegler, D. (2017). High-leverage practices in special education. Council for Exceptional Children & CEEDAR Center.

Sarah brandt
+ posts

Sarah Brandt ( is an associate of The Institute at the Children’s Center for Communication/Beverly School for the Deaf in Beverly, Massachusetts.

Amy szarkowski
+ posts

Amy Szarkowski ( is director of The Institute at the Children’s Center for Communication/Beverly School for the Deaf in Beverly, Massachusetts.

Categories: Equity, Learning communities, Learning designs

The Learning Professional

Published Date


  • Recent Issues

    February 2024

    How do you know your professional learning is working? This issue digs...

    December 2023

    Professional learning can open up new roles and challenges and help...

    October 2023

    Both special education and general education teachers need support to help...

    August 2023

    Prioritizing professional learning time is an investment in educators and...

    Skip to content