Congratulations to our staff who were nominated by their colleagues in recognition of the amazing work they do on behalf of students with disabilities in PSD!

The following staff members were recognized at the Integrated Services Quarterly Meeting on Tuesday, November 27, 2018.

Evan Daldegan, Special Education Teacher, Tavelli Elementary School
(Nominated by Lisa Vencill, School Psychologist, Tavelli)

  • “Evan works hard every single day to help students.  His is dedicated to doing whatever he can to advocate for, teach and/or meet the social and emotional needs of all his students.  He is a remarkable teacher who truly cares about students.  He seeks out extra training to be an even better teacher and always makes time to make personal connections to his students.  He is a great collaborator with all the staff in our building and everyone finds him both approachable and professional.  Evan Daldegan is a role model for being a Special Education teacher. “

Jill Frey, Special Education Teacher, Rocky Mountain High School
(Nominated by Michelle Wright, SWAP Specialist RMHS)

  • “Jill is always looking for ways to engage students at [their individual] ability level […]. Jill’s teaching style is to include everyone in the class in one way or the other and make even the “harder” lessons relate somehow to their life. She creatively finds ways to help a student realize their potential and help them understand they are capable of giving more than maybe they originally thought. Jill also looks at the “big picture” with students, listens to what they are saying, and then makes suggestions for ideas for them to think about for after high school. Jill truly cares about her students and develops positive relationships with each of them.”

Erin Halter, Special Education Teacher, Lesher Middle School
(Nominated by Lesher staff, teachers, and administration)

  • “Erin has supported her students through a wide variety of obstacles this year. No matter how emotional, challenging, or even smelly the student is, she meets them right where they are and gives them the support they need at the moment. I have been so impressed by the patience and perseverance she models with her students. Erin is always her students’ number one advocate!She also goes above and beyond to co-teach in the classes she supports. In math class, she can often be seen leading the entry ticket or the notes as a whole class. Erin knows it is beneficial that students see her as a co-teacher and not just additional support. She definitely takes on the extra work needed to be recognized like this. “
  • “Erin is an amazing teacher to both students and adults at Lesher! Erin is not only a teacher, but is also our IS team lead, a major contributor to the MTSS program at Lesher, and an IEP ninja. Erin deals with difficult situations daily, she always remains solution focused, and has great insight. Even with the most difficult students Erin has remained open to ideas, feedback, and collaboration. Erin does an amazing job building relationships with her students and always puts students’ best interests first.”
  • “Erin is an outstanding member of the Lesher Ship.  She is a leader among peers and an advocate alongside students.  Erin embodies the concept of Integrated Services, persistent in her effort to collaborate in the unique and challenging provision of services to individual students with (and without) special education needs.”
  • “I love working with Erin!  She adds another supportive voice to the room, and not just for “her” kids.  She enthusiastically interacts with all kids in the class.  She jumps in to instruct, intervene, encourage, and laugh with all of us in English 8 Gold 2.”
  • “Erin is gifted in her field and has helped shaped Lesher’s MTSS Program in past years and in particular this year.  Specifically, she helped refine our system of how we identify students who need a specific MTSS Plan; there was not a clear protocol in years past. She cares about students and invests in them, while keeping Lesher’s larger systems in mind. She is smart and “All in!”
  • “Erin is an outstanding teacher and leader.  I have seen firsthand the time and care she has invested in her students and school.  She goes above and beyond what is asked of her to make sure her students are supported. She is always willing to lend a hand or help when needed. I am honored to work with her.”
  • “I appreciate everything Erin does to support the IS Team at Lesher. As the staffing team coordinator, she is organized and allows all voices to be heard  in meetings. She is collaborative and goes above-and-beyond in supporting students as well as the team.”

Liz Lautenschlager, Special Education Teacher, Cache La Poudre Middle School
(Nominated by Amy Goldstein, Special Education Teacher, CLPM)

  • “Elizabeth (Liz) Lautenschlager took on a new responsibility this year by being the Behavioral Specialist for SPED in our school. She took on this new capacity very willingly even though she had some reservations. Our students with emotional and behavioral needs now have someone to go to throughout the day when they need support regardless of what class they are in or what time of day it is.  Along with this responsibility, she also started teaching a Social Skills class. She works with students to regulate their behavior, provides an opportunity to problem solve incidents that occur throughout their day and provides the students with options of more appropriate responses to their behavior. I wanted to recognize her as she has provided support to numerous students through this new position and through the Social Skills class that has not been available to our students on a consistent and “as needed basis” throughout the school day.  We are grateful that she is there to help students who may be struggling to get through their day in a more positive manner.  Thank you, Liz!”

Erin Ruffner, Special Education Teacher, Rocky Mountain High School
(Nominated by Tara Gross, Special Education Teacher and Melanie Potyondy, School Psychologist, RMHS)

  • “Erin joined our team during a difficult period last school year, coming in in December following the loss of a colleague. She has been a re-energizing force in our building and within our IS group from day one. Among her many strengths as an educator, one that stands out is her assertive, focused, honest approach to identifying areas for growth within our team, as well as her drive to take active steps toward making meaningful changes that impact our students. Erin is not content with just discussing things that aren’t going well. She pushes herself and her colleagues to do better and to work smarter. She has taken the lead with strengthening our progress-monitoring system, so that we can more effectively identify student needs and tailor our interventions to them. She does not hesitate to take on responsibilities within the department or to speak up thoughtfully and respectfully when changes are needed. She is also a trusted support for the students on her caseload and within her Study Skills classes. She maintains an effective balance between mentoring and guiding while holding students accountable and pushing them to try things that are new and challenging. Finally, Erin has a great sense of humor and is a supportive teammate. She always takes time to help staff who are struggling and to recognize those who are making positive changes. This includes building bridges with many general education teachers within the building, so that we can truly serve our students in their least restrictive environments. We, at Rocky, feel so lucky to have Erin as a teammate, and we know that her students feel the same way. She is the best.”

Sara Thompson, Special Education Teacher, Lincoln Middle School
(Nominated by Lincoln Middle School IS Team)

  • “Sara Thompson is an incredible educator who pours her entire soul into her students, their wellbeing and their learning. The IS team at Lincoln would like to recognize her for her dedication to her students and the Lincoln community. Sara is one of the hardest working educators, and we want her to know we see the outcomes that she works so hard to achieve. Here are a few examples of reasons why we appreciate her so much:
  • “Sara Thompson never sees a challenge she cannot tackle.  No child is beyond her reach and her faith in them is never ending.  She finds the good in all students and is one of the most professional members of our staff.  I admire her for her strength, positive and solution-based attitude and eternal optimism.”
  • “I am not alone when I say that Ms. Thompson’s perseverance, humble nature and ability to think outside the box is astonishing. She works tirelessly for the students in her program. This would be impressive, but she also works tirelessly for ALL the students at Lincoln. She wants each student to have the best education possible which will lead to their best possible life.”
  • “Her humble nature is another reason she deserves praise. Sara does not seek out attention. She is quiet and chooses her words carefully. When Ms. Thompson speaks to staff she garners their respect without her welding expertise over them.”
  • “As the Extensive Needs teacher for behavior in our school, Sara is extremely busy, but she never says no to a “Can I ask you a question?” or “Do you have any ideas for how to help this kid?”. Her brain goes to this creative problem-solving mode regardless of what is going on in her classroom. Just the other day- while poking around on a new iPhone she automatically started brainstorming ways to include this new technology in to a social skills curriculum. Her brain doesn’t shut off.  For these reasons and more, the district is lucky to have Ms. Thompson as an educator.
  • “Sara is one of the most patient teachers I have ever worked with. She has a way of communicating with students that shows empathy and a true desire to meet student needs. She works with some of our most challenging students and always does it with grace. It is obvious that Sara is truly committed to changing student’s lives for the better. She is a huge asset to Lincoln.”
  • “Sara is a dedicated teacher who works hard to build strong and supportive relationships with her students to help meet their social, emotional and academic needs. She is a creative thinker, problem solver and supportive team member who is willing to lend her skills and experience at a moment’s notice. Sara is well loved by staff, students and parents who all benefit from her commitment to educating and nurturing the whole child.”


Thank you, Evan, Jill, Erin, Liz, Erin, and Sara for your service and dedication to ALL students in PSD!

Survey regarding Colorado State-defined Alternate Diploma for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities

CDE is collecting comments to determine the need for a Colorado state-defined alternate diploma for students with significant cognitive disabilities. Title 1 of the 2015 reauthorization of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) allows for the inclusion in graduation accountability of a diploma option for students with significant cognitive disabilities.

Three options have been drafted, and CDE is asking for feedback from stakeholders around the state.  Please look over the options the State is considering and then take the quick survey to have your voice heard.

Link to provide feedback (survey will close on December 3, 2018):
Click Here for Survey

  • Option 1 – Current Status

    Regular Diploma Only

    No State-Defined Alternate Diploma

    • Continue with one high school “regular” diploma
    • Graduation guidelines will remain in place
    • Everyone who meets or exceeds the graduation requirements set forth by the district will receive a “regular” diploma

    Possible Implications

    • Currently, students with a significant cognitive disability that receive a regular diploma:
      • Will be counted as a graduate for state accountability purposes only
      • Student’s right to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) terminates upon graduation or reaching age 21
    • A student with a significant cognitive disability who is issued a non-diploma certificate or a diploma not fully aligned with the Colorado Academic Standards, would not count as a graduate for federal/state accountability

    Option 2 

    Require a State-Defined Alternate Diploma

    • In addition to a regular diploma achieved through existing graduation guidelines, add a state defined alternate diploma required for students who are assessed using the alternate assessment aligned to Colorado’s Extended Evidence Outcomes.

    Possible Implications

    • Students who receive an alternate diploma:
    • Will be counted as a graduate for federal and state accountability
    • Can continue to receive FAPE to age 21

    Option 3

    District Choice – Offer a Regular Diploma with the Option of a State-Defined Alternate Diploma

    Possible Implications

    • If a student with a significant cognitive disability is issued a non-diploma certificate or diploma not fully aligned with the Colorado Academic Standards they would not count as graduates for federal accountability; FAPE ends when the student receives a regular high school diploma
    • Students with a significant cognitive disability who receive a state defined alternate diploma, will be counted as graduates for state and federal accountability; however, FAPE does not end and students may receive services through age 21

Heidi Graber
Integrated Services Parent Liaison
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Happy National School Psychology Awareness Week (November 12 – 18, 2018)!

Top from left: Brad Reimers, David Wood, Patricia Heyse, Margaret Griffin, Xali Sommers, Sarah Waldron Moffitt, Stacey Souders, Makenzie Smith, Jamie Vannice, Sara Sadd, Kelly Webb, Dana Pierce, Melanie Potyondy, Amy Rhodes, Kelly Sharp, Crystal Tani Powell
Bottom from left: Sarah Belleau (Integrated Services Director), Maryann Babbs, Angie Youngberg, Carrie Wiens, Brittany Hutson (Lead Psychologist), Danielle Duncan, Karen Marshburn, Heidi Curtin, Kait Ahlbrandt (Practicum Student)

Photos from PSD Board of Education Meeting on Tuesday, November 13.  Board Members voted to approve a resolution in support of National School Psychology Awareness Week, November 12-18, 2018.
A note from PSD Integrated Services Director, Sarah Belleau:

This week is National School Psychology Awareness Week – a week when we not only increase our awareness of the knowledge, skill set and dedication of our School Psychologists, we also celebrate their work to support students, families and staff.  In Poudre School District, each school has services from a School Psychologist to assist with many facets of school life.  Some of the areas of expertise of a School Psychologist include the following:

  • Prevention and intervention services
  • Resilience and risk factors
  • Mental health interventions
  • Behavioral interventions
  • Affective education / skill building (e.g., bullying, relationships, safety)
  • Crisis preparedness intervention services
  • School-wide practices to promote learning
  • Academic/learning interventions
  • Instructional support
  • Diversity in development and learning
  • Data collection and analysis

Please take time to recognize and celebrate the School Psychologist(s) in your school!

Sarah Belleau
Integrated Services
Poudre School District
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Bethke Elementary’s PE teacher, Mrs. Keyworth, has implemented an exciting new daily adaptive PE program; promoting healthy habits in all students!


Thank you, Bethke Elementary, for finding creative ways to support students of all abilities!


A note from the principal:
This year, Mrs. Keyworth, Bethke’s PE teacher and PSD Excellence in Education teacher of the year nominee, has started a daily adaptive PE program.  The goal is to get students to move as much as possible and work on targeted gross and fine motor skills while learning how to follow multi-step directions in a safe, small environment.  Not only have we seen increased stamina and strength, these students now participate more actively in the regular education PE class.  This small adaptive class has support from our PE teacher, IS paraprofessionals, as well as typical peers.

Ann Alfonso
Bethke Elementary School
Honoring All Learners
(970) 488-4300

PSD Integrated Services Transition Series Parent Workshop – Monday, November 12 – 6-8 PM – Boltz Middle School Media Center

PSD Integrated Services is hosting its second Transition Series Parent Workshop of the 2018-19 school year.  These Transition Series events offer resources and information in planning for life after high school.  It’s never too early to start the conversations!  

Please join us for Transition Planning:

Hear about educational support options
Hear from work and job readiness organizations
Hear from community experts on planning for life after high school

RSVP your spot today!  This event is intended for all middle and high school families wanting information about Transition.  

Heidi Graber
Integrated Services Parent Liaison
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November is Homeless Youth Awareness Month – the McKinney-Vento Program provides several opportunities to support!

Hello Friends!

November is Homeless Youth Awareness Month. To date, Poudre School District has identified over 675 students as lacking fixed, regular and adequate housing in our district. Nearly 95 students are considered Unaccompanied Homeless Youth. This number will continue to increase. Homelessness impacts many students in our district from all walks of life. We average 1,000 students identified each year. This includes families doubled up, in shelters, living in vehicles, campgrounds, and on the street.

Each November, PSD joins the national campaign to raise awareness and resources to serve our students and their families experiencing homelessness. If you’d like to show support there are a few ways to go about doing so.

Hygiene Drive:
Items can be delivered to the PSD Johannsen Support Services Center at 2407 Laporte Ave. Please see the attached flyer (bottom of page) for more information on needed items.

We are selling awareness bracelets for $2.00.

We have t-shirts for sale for $12.00 (limited supply).

We are so grateful for your support as this is how we can continue to remove barriers and serve our PSD students so they can be successful in school.

As always, direct monetary donations are eagerly accepted. 

Please contact Whitney Reid for more information about purchasing items or direct donation.  Donations can be sent to PSD Johannsen Support Services Center, c/o Whitney Reid/McKinney-Vento, 2407 Laporte Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80521.

Thank you!

Whitney Reid, MSW
McKinney Program Specialist
Office: 970-490-3242
Cell: 970-420-9208
Fax: 970-490-3611

Resource Closet donation list

Fort Collins High School Junior, Rafat, has had a cross-country season worth celebrating!

We reached out to Rafat’s coaches and teachers for more information on the track season.  Head coach, Conrad Crist and teacher, Alejandra (Ale’) McGee provided the following information:

Since competing in track and field in Spring, 2018, Rafat showed an interest in competing in cross country. The team embraced him and even has nicknamed him GOAT (Greatest of All Time). Rafat competed in the state cross country meet in the Unified race (3K) where he finished 3rd overall with a time of 13:30.4. His personal record 5K time was 24:07 at the Pat Amato Cross Country Meet; he shaved about 6 minutes off his time from the beginning of the season.  In track and field, Rafat raced in the 100M and 200M. He also participated in the 100M Unified Race at the state track and field meet. He has been a participant of Unified athletics: football, basketball, and soccer.

It is exciting to celebrate the success of such a dedicated, hard-working PSD athlete and student!