Professional Development Opportunities for Educators
Educators, in collaboration with families and other professionals, can make a significant difference for children who have been exposed to lead. To do so, they need to be well informed about lead poisoning, especially:
- educators’ roles in prevention;
- current research establishing the relationship between early lead exposure and neurocognitive deficits, learning disabilities, and negative behavioral outcomes even at very low levels of exposure;
- its general presentation and course; and
- individual differences in presentation and course.
Connecticut currently has available three educational programs for educators. The first is a funding and workshop opportunity (see Lead Awareness and Management Challenge: A Funding and Workshop Opportunity below).
The other two programs are both online courses that address lead poisoning prevention and management in children and the effects of lead exposure on child development, learning and behavior. These online courses are different. Both are valuable, and educators can read the descriptions below to determine if one or both courses are appropriate for their professional background, level of responsibility, knowledge, and interest. Each course is described below: Lead Poisoning: Limiting the Ability to Learn and The Health Education Lead Poisoning (H.E.L.P.) Course Series.
Lead Awareness and Management Challenge: A Funding and Workshop Opportunity
In May 2012, the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE), in collaboration with the Connecticut State Department of Public Health (DPH) offered a funding opportunity for public school districts and private non-profit schools, titled the Lead Awareness and Management Challenge. This funding opportunity provided support for school districts to form “Lead Advisory Teams,” and released the teams to participate in a “train-the-trainer” workshop on lead poisoning prevention and intervention for educators. The advisory teams were expected to assist their agency to develop policy and procedures related to the education of staff and the prevention and management of lead poisoning among students. The CSDE may offer additional workshops in 2012, 2013, and 2014 so long as funding continues to be available. Accordingly, school superintendents will receive information regarding the Lead Awareness and Management Challenge.
Lead Poisoning: Limiting the Ability to Learn
Lead Poisoning: Limiting the Ability to Learn is an awareness training course for educators regarding lead poisoning in children. This training was developed for the LAMPP Project (Lead Action for Medicaid Primary Prevention Project) by the Healthy Environments for Children Initiative, Department of Extension, University of Connecticut and is available on the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center’s Web site.
This course provides content developed specifically for administrator, educators, and child care personnel. It covers current research, prevention, interventions, and specific implications for teaching and learning. The complete course takes a little more than one hour. It has both a PowerPoint and audiovisual component; both the PowerPoint and audio script are available for download and make excellent resources for staff awareness and professional development programs from the homepage. Also available on the homepage (see above), the course provides a certificate of completion (not continuing education units) and additional resources for parents. The information is up-to-date and pertinent for all educators.
The Health Education Lead Poisoning (H.E.L.P.) Course Series
The Health Education Lead Poisoning (H.E.L.P.) Course Series is sponsored in partnership with Connecticut Television Network (CT-N), the Foundation for Educational Advancement, Inc., Connecticut State Department of Public Health and Central Connecticut State University. The course information and directions for accessing continuing education units is on the H.E.L.P. Web site. It is also available at the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) Lead Poisoning and Control Program Web site under Education and Training.
The course is made up of eight separate modules. Each module consists of an audiovisual presentation by an expert in the field of lead poisoning, along with the expert’s PowerPoint slides. These presentations were delivered in Connecticut between 2006 and 2008. Neither the PowerPoint slides nor the audiovisual program are available for download. Each module has additional reading material available, primarily professional, peer-reviewed articles from medical and scientific Journals, authored by the presenters. These articles may be downloaded.
This course is targeted to all health and education professionals interested in accessing original sources to learn about lead poisoning, its history in this country and toxic effects on the development of fetuses and young children, especially brain development, as well as the scientific research that has provided evidence of lead poisoning effects on learning, behavior, and lifelong achievement. It takes several hours to complete all eight modules, including the audio-video presentations and related journal articles for each module, but participants may complete the modules separately and may revisit each module repeatedly. Three continuing education units (CEUs) — or 30 professional development contact hours — are available for completion of the course if the participant registers for CEUs at the beginning of the course. To take the course for CEUs, it is essential to click on the button at the top of the course homepage (above) to get directions for how to sign up for the CEUs. Each module has a posttest to assess the participants’ understanding of the material. CEUs are provided through the Foundation for Educational Advancement Inc., a provider of CEUs through the Connecticut State Department of Education.
Through collaboration with the DPH, this course series is available online through TRAIN Connecticut, a learning resource targeted to the public health community. TRAIN Connecticut is an active member of and participant in TRAIN, the nationwide learning resource available for the benefit of all members of the public health community. Courses and content available through TRAIN include those established by state providers and by the CDC as well. Access to this particular course in TRAIN Connecticut is easiest via the two Web sites provided above. It is also possible to access the course at the Web site for TRAIN Connecticut; select the “Search” tab, and in the search box, enter “Modules 1–8 H.E.L.P.”. This search should bring up all eight modules.