Professional Learning


Alt+Shift provides training and implementation support for its professional learning courses.  Users may participate in state-level offerings, which are open to any interested educators.  Additionally, ISDs may partner with Alt+Shift to strengthen their capacity to provide the course content and implementation support to their local districts and programs.  Select a course below to learn more about it and discover additional ways to participate.

AT Journey

Road to independence.

Assistive technology (AT), defined as anything that supports learners in doing things they would not otherwise be able to do, can provide the traction learners need to succeed but is often intimidating to educators who think of it as very specialized. Staff participating in the AT Journey will be empowered to individually consider, select and implement AT for their students, yet also recognize when additional perspectives (e.g., teacher, administrator, itinerant staff, paraprofessional, parent, etc.) are critical to this process.

Building Blocks to Autonomous Communication

All learners have the right to communicate.

Communication is a prerequisite for teaching and learning. Building Blocks to Autonomous Communication focuses on the what, why, and how of supporting learners with communication needs. The overarching goal is that individuals with CCN leave their educational programming as autonomous communicators - in other words, that they can say what they want to say, when they want to say it, how they want to say it, and with whom they wish to communicate.


Comprehensive Literacy for Autonomous Communication

No student is too anything to be able to read and write.

Autonomous communication requires literacy, and our goal must be to allow all learners to express what they want to communicate. Classroom and ancillary staff are taught how to structure daily literacy instruction for learners with significant disabilities and complex communication needs (CCN).

Delta Math

Made in Michigan to maximize potential.

Delta Math is an RTI (response to intervention) program developed by the Ottawa Area ISD with support from Alt+Shift and Michigan math consultants to improve readiness to learn in math classes from kindergarten through Algebra 1. It includes online readiness screeners to identify students for tier two interventions, tier three screeners for students not responding to tier two interventions, reports, progress monitoring and instructional resources.

Foundations of Math

A shift in mathematical thinking can change mathematical outcomes.

Should more of your learners with disabilities be proficient in math? This course, focused on mathematical content knowledge, allows general and special education teachers to examine mathematical procedures from a conceptual standpoint and increase sense making for learners who struggle with methods reliant on memorization and procedure. Participants will learn how making pedagogical shifts can increase student engagement and improve math achievement for every learner.

Foundations of Math: Teaching Students with Significant Disabilities

Math made possible for everyone

With the right supports and knowledge, all teachers and learners can engage in the teaching and learning of mathematics. This course includes all components of Foundations of Math with the addition of research and classroom video specific to learners with significant disabilities and complex communication needs. Educators in self-contained and centerbased environments will experience approaches to assessment and instruction that will help learners develop meaningful mathematical understanding.

Pragmatic Organization Dynamic Display (PODD)

Promoting autonomous communication and genuine conversations.

Participants in this introductory training are taught to select, customize and use PODD books and aided language input to promote autonomous communication for learners with complex communication needs.

PODD is an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) tool that arranges a robust vocabulary, typically as a low-tech book, to support language development for learners with complex communication needs. Language is organized in a practical layout that requires minimal page turns to communicate. 

Stay In Touch

The Alt+Shift newsletter provides updates on our professional learning opportunities, informs readers of upcoming events, and highlights resources for people who work with students with disabilities.