Week 1 – Unified Flag Football Photos

Photos from the Flag Football program made possible through a partnership between Poudre School District athletic departments and Special Olympic of Colorado.

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Poudre School District Integrated Services                                                                 Director: Sarah Belleau                                                                                                                    2407 Laporte Avenue, Fort Collins, CO 80521

The best part of back to school time

The Integrated Service administrative team was asked what their favorite part of back to school time is…locker hallway

“I enjoy seeing all the new (clean) outfits students wear with pride. Teachers are looking pretty good too. Classrooms have a fresh look. In general you can just feel lots of positive energy and schools are full of possibilities!”
– Renée Ostergren, Integrated Services Coach

“I love the smell of fresh, new, sharp crayons, the feel of fall starting to appear,   and the buzz in classrooms as new relationships are being formed.”            -Kara P. Harbison, Integrated Services Coordinatorbackpacks

“My favorite part of back to school is to see all the school teams working together to support all of our students. The teamwork is amazing!”                                      – Tressa Evans, Integrated Services Behavior Coach/BCBA

“I live very near one of the High Schools.  Every summer about the second week of August – I can hear the school band starting up practices.  I love hearing the band director talking to the students – he is so positive.  The music is fun to hear and gets better by the day.  By the time school starts these students have been practicing twice a day for several weeks and they hit the ground ready to play and march!  It is an awesome thing to see and hear!”  -Romie Tobin PH.D., Integrated Services Coordinator

“My favorite part of “back to school” is watching and listening to enthusiastic staff prepare for their students. I also love watching students on the first day of class.  Their energy, excitement, and visible love for their school is palpable and contagious!”                                                                                                                                                – Sarah Belleau Director for Integrated Services

front of school bus

“Back to School” for me means eager    faces entering the school building excited for a new school year, yet unsure of what the year will bring until new relationships are built and learning blossoms.”                  -Erin Coy, Integrated Services Coach

“The ‘back to school’ time is exciting as you get to know new people, catch up with how things have gone over the summer, anticipate the exciting new things to come for this year and create goals to accomplish this year!

An exciting time during the school day for everyone is recess!  It is a perfect time for students to get in brain breaks and build friendships; it is also a great time to work with students and build relationships with students.  Make sure to play with your students.” Cale Whicker, Integrated Services Coordinator.

Poudre School District Integrated Services                                                                 Director: Sarah Belleau                                                                                                                    2407 Laporte Avenue, Fort Collins, CO 80521

Special Education Advisory Committee 2015-2016

SEAC flyer 2015_16-page-001

Poudre School District Integrated Services                                                                 Director: Sarah Belleau                                                                                                                    2407 Laporte Avenue, Fort Collins, CO 80521

What is Early Childhood Education?

1240033_1403026833251384_8457715177314237905_n      IMG_6399During the summer, there is a group of hard working people preparing for the youngest among us to start school. For much of the summer, some of the Early Childhood Education staff in Poudre School District work to walk families through the application and screening process for their children to help find a place for educational success. Early intervention is an important piece to the overall success of a student with learning challenges as well as socio/economic struggles. The importance of early learning cannot be stressed enough.


IMG_6400 (2)What is early childhood education? Seems simple enough to answer.  It is the education children receive before they are of kindergarten age. Early childhood education in Poudre School District is comprised of a few existing programs, as well as a designated number of openings for tuition based preschool. These programs are Head Start, Colorado Preschool Program and special education.

The differences among the programs relate to their funding sources.  When a child reaches the classroom though, they are all offered the same high quality education. Tuition based preschool is offered for $322.00‐$350.00/month – depending upon the amount of class time. If a child IMG_6404has an Individual Education Plan (IEP), there is no cost to the program. Lunch and snacks are purchased by guardians for all programs, with some reduction based upon financial need.

Head Start is a federally funded program that established its roots in 1964 by Sargent Shriver under the leadership of President Lyndon B. Johnson. Shriver founded Head Start by bringing a panel of child experts in to discuss how to combat poverty and create effective child development programs. In 1995 the first grants were given for Head Start. In 1998 the program was expanded to include full-day and full-year funds. According the Office of Head Start, by 2007 the program was amended to its current form with the purpose “to promote the school readiness of low-income children”. (http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ohs/about/history-of-head-start).

IMG_6403The Colorado Preschool Program (CPP) is a state funded initiative that started in 1988 designed to help 4 and 5 year olds in need of language development. The program served 2,000 children beginning in 1988. In 1992, Colorado Senate passed a bill to make CPP a permanent program. “This bill also expanded the target population to not only include children in need of language development, but also children ‘who lack overall learning readiness due to significant family risk factors and children being served by Social Services as neglected or dependent children’.” (https://www.cde.state.co.us/early).

A child with an IEP has been identified under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to qualify for services through special education.

IMG_6391Early Childhood Education offers a wonderful mix of educational tools not only for students but also for families and parents. The program includes home visits, center visit, community events and written material for parents. For students, the benefits seem endless. The program is well rounded by educating children not only on academics but also health, nutrition and being a part of the community. It is a collaborative plan with parents and teachers working closely together to increase student growth and achievement.

Deanna Fuller, an experienced Early Childhood Special Educator and Head Start IMG_6393teacher in Poudre School District, offered a look into a typical day. They begin with welcome and large group time working on letters, numbers and academia. Followed this is breakfast for the morning class and lunch follows for the afternoon group. Next comes bathroom time to brush teeth. Story time follows, then centers and work stations. After working and playing hard, the group shares a snack then has goodbye time. No matter what the activity, everything is treated as a learning opportunity. At lunch and snack, different food groups are discussed and everything is tested with either “a IMG_6395lick, nibble or bite” according to Mrs. Fuller. During show and tell, questions like “what is a question?”, “what is a comment?” teach the children valuable group skills. There are designated times where school phycologists, occupational therapists and speech language clinicians come to work with children in their school environment.

IMG_6401 (2)To know early childhood education is to be a part of something bigger than just one person or school. That being said, it is the people who are the heart and soul of the program that make it effective and special. They give life to the ideas and the initiative called Head Start that was discussed so long ago by Sargent Shriver and his colleagues. So what is early childhood education? Just look at the smiles on the faces of the future.

Poudre School District Integrated Services                                                                 Director: Sarah Belleau                                                                                                                    2407 Laporte Avenue, Fort Collins, CO 80521