Item Coversheet

Action Items - Intermediate Unit - 7.

Title: Contract with The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania - Philly AIMS Comprehensive Professional Development for Teachers of Students with Autism in Kindergarten Through Fifth Grade ($450,000)

Board of Education Meeting Date:

Action under consideration


The Administration recommends that the Board of Education, acting in its capacity as Board of Directors of Philadelphia Intermediate Unit No. 26 (IU 26), authorize IU 26, through the Executive Director or his designee, to execute and perform a contract, subject to funding, as follows:



 The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania



 To provide comprehensive professional development by the Philly AIMS team, including consultation, training, and support for targeted teachers and professional staff who teach and support students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Kindergarten through grade 5


Start Date:  7/1/2020


End Date:   6/30/2021


Compensation not to exceed:   $450,000



District Elementary Schools with K-5 Autistic Support Programs



Approximately 2,100 students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in  Kindergarten through grade five (K-5) are enrolled in the District. These students receive autistic support (AS) programming throughout approximately 195 AS classrooms situated within 92 schools or in inclusive classroom settings. Due to the challenges and complexities of teaching students with autism in the early grades, the District experiences approximately a 20% turnover in K-5 staff annually. Up to 30 new K-5 AS teachers are projected for the 2020-2021 school year. The need for new and returning AS teachers to receive on-going and sustained professional development on research and evidenced-based instructional practices proven to enable students with autism to make meaningful progress is critical.


The goal of this professional development initiative is to build the capacity of autism support teachers and professional staff to deliver high quality and effective autistic support programming in order to provide students with ASD, in grades K-5 with specially designed instruction and supports to make gains and receive instruction in their least restrictive environment. This professional development program includes the provision of on-going classroom-based consultation visits and training to newly appointed and second-year grade K-5 autism teachers.  Philly AIMS (Philadelphia Autism Instructional Methods Support) is a program that is part of the Center for Mental Health (CMH) in the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine.  Over the past 12 years, Philly AIMS has built a strong collaborative partnership with School District of Philadelphia schools and the Office of Specialized Services, which has resulted in significant improvements in the academic and behavioral outcomes of students with ASD.  The Office of Specialized Services requests authorization to continue this successful program for the upcoming school year.


The Contractor will provide classroom-based consultation visits to newly appointed and second year grades K-5 autism support teachers.  During site visits, the Contractor shall model effective practices, observe staff practicing skills, and provide immediate feedback. In addition, the Contractor shall provide training for veteran K-5 autism support teachers, intensive whole school consultative support to promote inclusive practices to identified focus schools, and access to a library of professional development webinar based learning opportunities and online resources.


Anchor Goal(s) Supported: Anchor Goal 1 – 100% of students will graduate ready for college or career; Anchor Goal 2 – 100% of 8-year olds will read on or above grade level; Anchor Goal 3 – 100% of positions are filled by great principals, teachers, and employees


Funding Source(s): FY21 IDEA

 Office Originating Request: Academic Support