Cal Poly Pomona Uses Video Coaching to Train More Special Education Teachers in High-Needs Regions

POMONA, Calif. (April 17, 2018) – The country is facing a critical shortage of special education teachers. According to the National Coalition on Personnel Shortages in Special Education, 49 states currently report a having more demand than available supply of certified teachers.

The need to increase the number of fully-trained special education teachers led the U.S. Department of Education to fund the “SEEDS: Special Educators of Excellence in Diverse Settings” project from the College of Education & Integrative Studies at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona). The project will provide scholarships over the next five years to future teachers in the Los Angeles County region to become credentialed special educators.

A central feature of the training program will be the use of video analysis of classroom practice, powered by the Edthena video coaching platform. The grant money will cover all technology costs for the teachers, including a new iPad.

“We are hoping to place many of our candidates in the region’s high-needs districts, as well as remote tribal schools that have a high population of Native American students with special needs,” said Heather Wizikowski, Ph.D., assistant professor and principal investigator of the grant. “Video coaching, which we’ve previously implemented on a smaller scale, will enable us to provide our candidates with virtual classroom observations and ongoing supervision during their student teaching so they can continually improve their instructional practices.”

With the Edthena platform, teachers quickly and easily upload videos of their classroom instruction. They then share those videos with coaches, who provide timestamped comments categorized as questions, suggestions, strengths, and notes. The platform enables teachers and their coaches to participate in collaborative and reflective professional learning.

"Edthena gave me the opportunity to listen, watch, and reflect on my lessons after they were delivered,” said Justine Chesler, Cal Poly Pomona graduate and special education teacher at Cullen Elementary School in Glendora School District. “The program provided an interactive way to receive detailed feedback from my master teacher and mentor, which helped me with future lesson planning.”

“We’ve found that our teacher candidates are often more reflective and open to feedback when coaching is conducted via Edthena,” said Joanne Van Boxtel, Ph.D., assistant professor and co-principal investigator of the grant. “We want video coaching to become a standard practice.”

Schools, districts, and teacher education programs in nearly 30 states – including California – are using the Edthena platform to make video observation an integral part of teacher induction, teacher mentoring, PLCs, and peer observation.

To learn more about Edthena, visit To learn more about Cal Poly Pomona, visit

About Cal Poly Pomona

Cal Poly Pomona, one of 23 universities in the California State University system, is one of only a handful of polytechnic universities nationwide, and serves about 25,000 students annually. Cal Poly Pomona integrates technology into a traditional liberal arts education as well as into the applied sciences. This long-standing polytechnic approach, which is paired with our learn-by-doing philosophy, makes it unique among traditional universities and has earned it the reputation of developing individuals who are among the most sought-after in today's marketplace.

About Edthena
Edthena is the leading classroom observation platform for using teaching videos as part of professional development. Teachers upload classroom videos to share with colleagues who leave time-stamped comments. Edthena also offers specialized collaboration tools to help organizations implement best practices for video-based professional learning. Edthena is the recipient of numerous awards from organizations such as SIIA, District Administration, and Tech & Learning. For more information, visit For more news about Edthena, visit