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 Thursday, March 28, 2019.

Elaine Amond, IS Social Worker, Preston Middle School
(Nominated by the Preston IS Team)

  • “The Preston Integrated Services team would like to nominate our social worker, Elaine Amond, to be recognized at the Quarterly meeting. Elaine Amond has a heart as big as Preston Middle School. She is an integral member of the Preston multidisciplinary team and is a leader in our department. Elaine’s wealth of knowledge and experience and her compassion for students and families inspire her to go beyond the extra mile every day; she goes above and beyond for all students. She is a strong and consistent advocate for students and works tirelessly to advocate for our students who are in need.  Elaine is a champion for those who are treated unfairly.  She looks out for any student who may need a kind word, a listening ear, and a caring adult. She takes the time that is needed to really get to know her students. She builds a strong relationship with middle school aged students that lead to them feeling safe and heard.
    Every student she works with leaves her office knowing they are cared for and special.  She has made a difference in the lives of the students and staff she supports at Preston.  As she steps into her new adventure, her presence will be missed, but the lives of the students she touched will be remembered. Elaine will be missed at Preston; she will leave some very big shoes to fill. Thank you for all your years of service and taking such great care of kids!!!”

Laura Buser, IS Paraprofessional II, Fort Collins High School
(Nominated by Alejandra McGee, IS Teacher)

  • “Laura was new to FCHS and PSD last year, but she has amazingly created such a presence within Fort Collins HS. Laura came in eager to learn and willing to support students within the extensive needs Autism/ILS program. She has grown in confidence to not only support students effectively, but also create and uphold students to a higher standard. Students working in the kitchen have made huge strides in independence because Laura and Tom (who was nominated earlier this year) are proactive in their endeavors to fade prompting and allow for students to make growth through authentic learning. Laura is creative and has used this creativity to help students within vocational tasks like card making, Unified art, greenhouse work, catering, and data collecting. She thinks outside the box and asks questions to best understand why certain systems are in place. She is insistent on making sure that she knows the best protocol before acting upon a situation and takes initiative when necessary. Laura has become our go-to person for Autism Literacy curriculum, as she makes sure that students have the right level each week. She is kind, relatable, and a natural knack for “teaching”. Laura is the PERFECT paraprofessional and I know that this gift that she has will serve her well in whatever path that she follows!”

Paul Pietrzyk, IS Paraprofessional I, Zach Elementary School
(Nominated by Danielle Connors, IS Teacher)

  • “The Zach Integrated services team would like to nominate Paul Pietrzyk (pee a chek) for a quarterly staff recognition. Paul has been with us since October 2018 and has been a great asset as a para to our department. He provides classroom support for grades K-5 and helps modify instructional material for students within general education. Paul also runs small instructional groups and does an amazing job of targeting individual student needs. Paul began his career as an investigator in law enforcement, but after retiring, Paul chose to give back to his community by working with children with special needs. Paul is a natural in the classroom and uses firm but loving strategies to make sure our children are always exceeding expectations. Paul is flexible, caring, and is always learning and growing within our team. We are so lucky to have Paul as part of our team!”

Brad Reimers, School Psychologist, Beattie Elementary School
(Nominated by Laura Spotz, IS Teacher and Donna Detmar-Hanna, OT)

  • “Brad goes above and beyond to support students and staff at Beattie Elementary!  He comes to work every day with a smile and an incredibly positive attitude.  The students all know his name and enjoy when they get a chance to work with him.  Brad brings laughter and joy to our school.

    “As many of you know, Brad works at three schools and is an active School Psychologist at the district and state level.  He is also a member of the Brain Injury Team and is always trying to further his own growth as a member of the Integrated Services team.  Brad is professional in all his interactions with staff and parents.  He writes very thorough and parent-friendly evaluations and conducts IEP meetings in a positive and collaborative manner.

    “Brad we are so lucky to work with you and thank you for all you do!  You are an angel!”

Chris Rosazza, IS Teacher, Rocky Mountain High School
(Nominated by Melanie Potyondy, School Psychologist)

  • “Chris Rosazza is a kind, collaborative, positive individual on the Rocky Integrated Services Team. As the leader of our Bistro class, in which students with disabilities run a school-based restaurant, he provides students with numerous hands-on, generalizable, real-world skills that directly correlate with their post-secondary goals. In addition to functional math skills, students in this program develop competencies around leadership, communication, social skills, time management, home living, and community safety. Watching Chris interact with his students as they make and deliver breakfast burritos or serve multi-course meals in a café setting, it is clear the level of care he puts into building relationships with these individuals and into identifying areas where each of their strengths can shine. 

    “Chris also demonstrates strengths as a case manager, consistently advocating for his students and working to identify avenues to build success. This school year, I have worked with Chris to reconnect one older student on his caseload with school after a lengthy period of absence. This student, facing social and emotional difficulties, is currently a total non-attender. Even while other students on his caseload present him with needs to address in-the-moment, Chris goes out of his way to continually contact this student’s parents, to explore new attendance interventions, as well as  to personally reach out to the student via email to invite him back into the fold. Despite the frustrations that can arise when a capable student appears to have given up on school, Chris has maintained an admirable level of positivity and stick-to-it-iveness that is maintaining a lifeline to school that this student desperately needs. Another of Chris’ students experienced a significant health crisis that left him with notable and unusual impairments that can often flummox and sometimes overwhelm staff. Chris has worked doggedly to identify and build on this student’s strengths, has developed an incredible level of rapport with this student and his family, and has been successful in supporting this student in his move from total non-attendance to inclusion in some challenging general education coursework in a year’s time. In general, Chris’ easy-going, personal, persistent teaching style has made him a great fit with students in very unique and challenging circumstances. I so appreciate working with Chris and all that he does to make Rocky a great place to be.”

Riley Simonton, Speech-Language Pathologist, Beattie Elementary School
(Nominated by Laura Spotz, IS Teacher and Donna Detmar-Hanna, OT)

  • “I am pleased to nominate Danielle Schultz because of her tireless efforts to implement a new reading program and class at Fort Collins High.  The program was targeted to students with intense instruction needs.  Her program and work has paid off and the results are amazing!!! She has taken many beginning readers and worked to increase their scores beyond 1-2 years growth in less than a semester time.  Overall, the students in her classes are making gains not only in ‘reading’ classes but across all subjects.  In our field, we don’t want to only focus on test scores or numbers.  Another huge accomplishment is the fact that two of the students she case manages have been awarded significant scholarship money from Front Range.  WHOOOOHOOOO Danielle and students!!! This is all attributed to her dedication to students.  She builds long-lasting relationships and rapport with kids that are sometimes more difficult to engage.  I am so grateful to have the opportunity to work and learn from such a gifted teacher.”

Gail Sorensen, IS Teacher, Lincoln Middle School
(Nominated by the Lincoln IS Team)

  • “Gail’s sense of humor brightens her classroom.  She is always willing to help a colleague by proofreading paperwork, share instructional materials, or give advice.  She expects great things from her students and pushes them to help each other, be respectful, and follow classroom routines.  The well-established routines in her classroom help all students to feel successful because they know what to expect and know that they can meet the expectations.”
  • “Gail has always been a team player. She helps in any way she can and will drop what she is doing to provide her colleagues with support. She is an excellent teacher who cares about her students and teaches in a way that make learning fun and engaging. She always has command of her class and her students obviously respect her as a teacher. She often brightens up people’s day with her quick wit and humor. She is going to be sorely missed!!!”
  • “Gail is one of a kind. A challenging situation is always met with humor and thoroughness unmatched by her peers. She makes sure kids learn their math using a multitude of different strategies and leave her class feeling confident in their math skills. She can reach kids who have in the past felt poorly about their math abilities.”
  • “Gail is diligent with getting her paperwork done and done well. She uses her data to make decisions that will help all her kids. Furthermore, she collaborates with staff on how students are doing so they can write accurate IEPs.”
  • “The thing I most appreciate about Gail is her genuine care for her students. It is clear through their interactions with Gail, they respect and look up towards her as more than just a teacher. She is a nurturer, and they know and love her for it.”
  • “I have worked with Gail Sorensen for the last 7 years.  Gail teaches math to many of our students on IEP’s.  It is quite awesome to watch her in action and yes, like I said, she teaches math.  Gail is quick on her feet with humor and keeps her class highly engaged because she makes it light, fun, and competitive.  Kids are always raising their hands to do the next problem on the board to show others what they know.  Kids feel comfortable and safe and are willing to take risks in her class where they may not be able to in other parts of their day.  As this is Gail’s last year teaching at Lincoln and in Poudre, I am going to miss her sense of humor, wit, and most of all her fun spirit with kids.”
  • “Gail has worked at Lincoln for many years and has built long standing relationships with all her peers. She will be sorely missed as she enters her Individualized Entertainment Portion of her life.”

Liz Thoke, IS Teacher, Cache la Poudre Middle School
(Nominated by Amy Goldstein, IS Teacher)

  • “Liz is a complete teacher in all qualities and abilities by which teachers are measured, but she does her best work when working directly with her students to meet their individual needs. Since we changed to a team approach, Liz has been the case manager for 6th graders. This always presents a unique challenge as the students transition from elementary to middle school. Liz is always attentive to each of them in their individual need to learn, mature, and thrive in the classroom. She is caring, compassionate, and makes a personal connection with them regardless of need or ability.

    “She seems to know intuitively just how much support and assistance they need to ensure that they work up to their potential, while making it a positive and rewarding experience that helps them become ready for 7th grade, academically and emotionally. Were it not for Liz being there in so many ways for our 6th graders as they make this difficult transition there would likely be more academic and emotional issues. Thank you Liz, for everything you do to make a great difference for our 6th-grade students as they start their middle school years and careers as Pirates!”

Carrie Wiens, School Psychologist, Laurel Elementary School
(Nominated by the Laurel IS Team)

  • “Carrie is an outstanding School Psychologist. She goes above and beyond everyday to help to meet not only the needs of our IS students but the entire school. She has great relationships with students and staff. She is always willing to help or be on any committee needed. She is very organized and has us at Laurel running on a smooth track, by keeping IEP dates in order, helping with Enrich Compliance and organizing our evaluation reports. She is also a great resource for information on IEP writing, regulations and compliance. She is very thorough in meetings and on her paperwork. She has also, done a great job of building relationships with the parents of students, to help them feel comfortable and informed. She has taken a strong lead on the MTSS team and has streamlined the referral process for General education teachers. She has amazing relationships with kids. The students that she works with always want to go to group and spend time with her. She is a great balance of kind yet firm with students that need behavioral support. She has stepped into a challenging school and has done so with grace and laughter. One thing that we love about Carrie is her ability to laugh and have fun with a team that is all new to her. She has meshed well with our building and I.S. team and is truly a top cat! When she Purrs we all listen! The cat’s meow! Truly Meowvolous! Thank you Carrie for all you do for Laurel students and your cat crew!”

Thank you ALL for your service and dedication to EACH and EVERY student in PSD!

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