Role | A Day in the Life | Qualifications
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What are the characteristics of an effective Linking Agent?
A Linking Agent is an experienced educator or related service professional
who is committed to school improvement and issues related to students
with disabilities. He/she should be a good problem-solver who can
help the district identify and develop strategies to address urgent
technical assistance needs. He/she must also be committed to learning
how to judge evidence about the effectiveness of new practices as
well as techniques to move research into practice.
How is a Linking Agent selected?
To become a Linking Agent, an education professional must have the
endorsement of the administration. Typically, the Director of Special
Education suggests an appropriate person for this position. It is
possible for an individual who is interested in being a Linking
Agent to approach the district's administration for support.
How many Linking Agents would be in a school or district?
Most school districts only have one Linking Agent. However, there
is some variety across districts. In some districts, two part-time
individuals work together to perform the role of Linking Agent.
In either case, EMSTAC staff recommend that the Linking Agent garner
support from other school district personnel. This will ensure that
the Linking Agent is not working in isolation but, rather, has the
support of other district staff.
How much time commitment is involved in being a Linking
There is a lot of variety across districts. In some districts, the
Linking Agent position is a full-time position. Others spend two
to three days a week carrying out their responsibilities. The time
commitment depends on the number of school buildings and staff involved
in the project. It is recommended that each school district prioritize
its technical assistance needs in its elementary and middle schools
and determine the level of technical assistance effort needed to
meet those needs.
Can a classroom teacher become a Linking Agent?
Due to their schedule and their daily responsibilities, it is not
recommended that a classroom teacher become a Linking Agent while
maintaining a full-time role in the classroom. However, there are
Linking Agents who were promoted from the classroom to the Linking
Agent position. Linking Agents who are less than full-time may have
other instructional responsibilities within the school district.
What role do parents/families play in EMSTAC sponsored
technical assistance activities?
Parents/families are key players in developing, implementing and
supporting technical assistance activities. Depending on the nature
of the technical assistance and district circumstances, parents/families
can carry out a variety of roles and responsibilities. These range
from helping to identify and prioritize technical assistance needs,
helping to determine resources to meet those needs, participating
in technical assistance workshops or other activities, and working
with other parents/families to help sustain support for new practices
in the district.
Who is a TA Liaison?
The TA Liaison is a person on staff at EMSTAC who works with the
on-site Linking Agent. Technical Assistance Liaisons will support
the Linking Agent in problem solving about the district's technical
assistance needs. In addition, he/she will work with the Linking
Agent to secure national, state, and local resources for planned
technical assistance activities throughout the school year. In particular,
the TA Liaison will help the Linking Agent identify state-of-the-art,
research-based practices that can be used to improve instructional
practice for elementary and middle school students with disabilities.