Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN): Customized Professional Development and Technical Assistance

Posted on Categories Academic/Technical Skill Integration, Professional Development, Special Populations

At a Glance

Working with the Bureau of Special Education (BSE) and Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) provides a full array of professional development and technical assistance targeted to improving student results. This professional development and technical assistance takes many forms in order to meet the varied needs of PaTTAN’s constituents. Recently, PaTTAN has collaborated to support Career and Technical Centers (CTCs) in order to develop career and technical educators’ skills and offer additional resources for supporting students with disabilities.


PaTTAN provides accessible, customizable, and evidence-based professional development and technical assistance to educators, with the goal of improving outcomes for students with disabilities. They seek to develop and implement effective strategies that bridge the gap between research and practice and promote the professional growth of educators. Through these efforts, PaTTAN aims to create a more equitable and inclusive education system that meets the needs of all learners.

There can often be a disconnect between the general education system and the career and technical education (CTE) system. PaTTAN aims to bridge the gap between sending schools and their affiliated CTCs, especially when it comes to strategies for making programs accessible to students with disabilities. 

PaTTAN’s Customized Professional Development and Technical Assistance program’s goal is to create a more equitable and inclusive education system by providing customized support to schools at no cost. To determine what kind of supports are needed, school leaders are asked to review the categories of supports available (below) and select one that is most needed for their context and complete the supports request application.

  • Systemic Customized Supports: offer a broad range of training and technical assistance opportunities, including long-term plans that align with a district’s specific goals and objectives. PaTTAN works collaboratively with schools to identify areas of need and develop a comprehensive training and technical assistance plan. Additionally, grant funding may be available to support coordinated efforts.
  • Critical Customized Supports: provide individualized training and technical assistance to help educators build the skills and knowledge needed to overcome immediate challenges. The goal is to provide targeted support that improves student outcomes and builds capacity within a district.
  • Emergent Short-Term Customized Supports: provide training and technical assistance for unforeseen needs that arise. A flexible approach allows PaTTAN staff to respond quickly to a district’s needs, providing just-in-time support tailored to specific requirements.
  • Professional Development Customized Supports: allow districts to request specific training or technical assistance that addresses a particular challenge or area of need. PaTTAN staff works with educators to design a training plan that meets their unique requirements and aligns with a district’s goals and objectives. Once a request is received, a PaTTAN consultant with the area of expertise that best aligns with the request will begin working on a plan to fill the targeted need. 

PaTTAN has historically worked with school entities, Intermediate Units, and other constituent groups. Recently, the Director of the Bureau of Career and Technical Education, Judd Pittman, has worked with PaTTAN to reconnect them with career and technical centers. Currently, PaTTAN consultants are working with Western Montgomery and Parkway West Career and Technology Centers. 

For these CTCs, PaTTAN has designed and developed customized professional development (PD) in the form of full-day PD academies. The topics for each of the PD academies are dependent on the unique needs of the instructors within each CTC, but some examples include general topics like best practices for student engagement and ensuring compliance with individualized education plans (IEPs), as well as content-specific topics like reading and math literacy and strategies for teaching technical vocabulary. 

In addition to running the full-day PD academies, PaTTAN has offered monthly coaching sessions and virtual support to help instructors understand the importance of making content accessible for all students through differentiation. PaTTAN consultants also opened a channel of communication via email for teachers to reach out with specific questions like whether their lesson modifications are complying with student IEPs. 

Another PaTTAN initiative aimed at making education more equitable for all is the development and adoption of the Framework for Access and Belonging (FAB). FAB is designed to analyze the instructional, physical, and social environment of a general education setting from the perspective of an individual student. The first step in the framework is to have each of the student’s teachers identify the student’s strengths and barriers to learning and/or belonging. Then, they work as a team to create a plan for removing the barriers using strategies aligned to Universal Design for Learning (UDL). 

FAB was developed in the spring of 2023 and has been used in general education settings since. PaTTAN’s next goal is to test the framework in a CTE setting, and then train CTE teachers on how to use the framework to make their programs more accessible.


PaTTAN’s work with CTCs is making CTE more accessible to students with disabilities. Their customized professional development, targeted coaching, and Framework for Access and Belonging are providing instructors with the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to ensure their programs are equitable and inclusive. 


PaTTAN website – 

Jacki Lyster, State Secondary Transition Co-Lead, PaTTAN–East –

Hillary Mangis, State Secondary Transition Co-Lead, PaTTAN–West –

David Livengood, Administrative Director, Western Montgomery Career and Technology Center –  

Craig Robinson, Principal, Western Montgomery Career and Technology Center –  

Darby Copeland, Executive Director, Parkway West Career and Technology Center – – OVR contact