School closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic have brought about virtual classrooms throughout California for both K-12 and higher education. This has created a challenge for teachers-in-training (teacher candidates) trying to complete the necessary clinical practice hours and observations to meet the requirements for both student teaching and residency models.

The current pandemic is compounded by a statewide teacher shortage. Thus, it is more important than ever to support public education and ensure an uninterrupted pipeline of future educators.

In collaboration with state and national partners, including the Orange County Department of Education, Chapman University’s Thompson Policy Institute on Disability (TPI) has rapidly responded to the ongoing crisis by helping to meet this essential need. With financial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and as part of the California Alliance for Inclusive Schooling (CAIS), TPI has helped develop the CAIS Active Education Webinars Series for teacher candidates.

Thanks to financial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Thompson Family Foundation, TPI is able to offer these webinars at no cost to the webinar participants.

Active Webinars

The CAIS webinars are designed for candidates in all preliminary teacher preparation programs—Multiple Subject (elementary), Single Subject (secondary), and Education Specialist (special education) candidates. The goal is to help teacher candidates continue to gather required observation or clinical hours, despite widespread school closures.

The webinars are also open to anyone interested in the topics, at no cost. Additional participants might include mentor teachers, coaches, and university supervisors.

The webinar content will be delivered by an established expert in the field. Following a live 60-minute webinar with a moderator, experienced content coaches will facilitate discussions in 60-minute breakout rooms to create virtual professional learning communities. The breakout rooms will be interactive to accommodate the varying levels of participants.

The virtual professional learning communities will offer suggestions and guidance for extension activities for those who wish additional supervised hours in collaboration with their respective teacher preparation program university supervisor, faculty, and mentor teacher.

Each live Active Webinar can accommodate up to 100 participants, but recordings of each session will also be available on-demand following the live event.

Current Webinar Topics

The initial set of scheduled, live Active Webinars include:

  • Positive Behavior Supports
  • CA Teaching Performance Assessment
  • Culturally Responsive Teaching
  • Secondary Transition
  • Universal Design for Learning
  • Differentiated Instruction
  • Multitiered System of Support (MTSS)
  • Behavior Intervention Plans
  • Coteaching
  • Evidence-based literacy practices

“It is so important for our teacher candidates to continue their training so they can be prepared to serve their communities in the fall,” said Meghan Cosier, Ph.D., Director of Teacher Education programs at Chapman University’s Attallah College of Educational Studies and TPI Research Director. “The Active Education Webinars Series will allow them to work with veteran teachers and supervisors, benefit from professional learning communities, and plan for the needs of individual students, despite school closures.”

For specific information on topics and dates or to register for the webinars, please visit the California Alliance for Inclusive Schooling (CAIS) website. Check the site regularly for changes and additional webinar topics.

Webinar Series Partners

The Active Education Webinars Series is made possible by the contributions of a large team of experts and partners. Key webinars and partners stakeholders include:

“As a founding partner in the California Alliance for Inclusive Schooling (CAIS), TPI is committed to providing technical assistance and resources to help develop high-quality teachers,” said TPI Director Don Cardinal, PhD. “In response to the current crisis, we immediately regeared our efforts to meet a critical state need. We’ve come together with our partners to create online, on-demand resources for teacher candidates and schools.”

Future Webinar Sections

The TPI team expects the webinar series to be utilized throughout the state of California and beyond. In fact, the demand for the webinar series far outpaced original estimates.

“The webinars filled to capacity in just one day,” said TPI’s Associate Director Audri Gomez, Ph.D. “We are now adding sections as quickly as possible to meet this demand.”


Thompson Policy Institute on Disability
TPI’s mission is to provide independent information on topics related to disability and facilitate action in areas that require community change. Throughout each year, TPI produces research that results in recommendations to decision-makers at the local, state, and national levels. The aim is to educate stakeholders on these topics in order improving the quality of life for children and adults with disabilities and their families.

CAIS logoCalifornia Alliance for Inclusive Schooling
The California Alliance for Inclusive Schooling (CAIS) is an intersegmental group of professionals dedicated to the development of inclusive schools for all students. Our mission is to support, unify and promote efforts to increase inclusive schooling in California. The Alliance focuses on practice in schools, policy for state recommendations, and preparation of school professionals and is comprised of three working groups: Practice, Policy, and Preparation.