Learning about Dyslexia

On November 13, Integrated Services Literacy Coaches Janet Klein, Shaunda Stahl and Julie Woolner presented a well-attended professional development opportunity: “Understanding Basic Reading Disability and Dyslexia.”  This class was made available to “anyone interested in learning more about dyslexia and how it relates to a basic reading skill deficiency/disability, how it is identified, and appropriate instructional strategies, accommodations and assistive technology to support students.”

Thanks to Janet, Shaunda and Julie for making this invaluable training accessible and applicable.



Final Post of School Psychology Awareness Week

We are so appreciative of ALL of our PSD School Psychologists – every week! If you have a chance, please take a moment to thank one of them for the difference they make in the lives of so many PSD students.

Brittany Hutson, School Psychologist Lead

In alphabetical order:
Lys Adler
Shannon Altenhofen
Maryann Babbs
Denise Bennett
Lydie Birai
Liz Blocksma
Tony Bonanno
Heidi Curtin
Brian Diaczun
Danielle Duncan
Meg Griffin
Patty Heyse
Courtney Hill
Jessica Loveall
Karen Marshburn
Kristine Middaugh
Emily Moulton
Dana Pierce
Melanie Potyondy
Brad Reimers
Sara Sadd
Kelly Sharp
Jacqueline Shoemaker
MaKenzie Skaggs
Xali Sommers
Stacey Souders
Jenni Thomason
Jamie Vannice
Lisa Vencill
Amy Villard
Sarah Waldron Moffitt
Kelly Webb
Carrie Wiens
Robyn Williams
Dave Wood

Photo for 2019-20 coming soon!

PSD School Psychologists Meg Griffin and Melanie Potyondy gave a presentation, “Social Media: Connection vs. Isolation”, at the Colorado Society of School Psychologists (CSSP) conference last weekend in Vail, Colorado.

Meg Mel
PSD School Psychologists Meg Griffin (left) and Melanie Potyondy were chosen to present at the CSSP conference in Vail, Colorado.  The conference theme was “Mental Health and Wellness in Schools”, with an emphasis on the utilization of a comprehensive service model that implements programming and interventions to support the needs of the whole student.

The presentation was titled “Social Media: Connection vs. Isolation”.  Participants were provided with current data representing youth social media usage; including information about positive and negative impacts of social media upon interpersonal effectiveness, behavioral regulation, and mental health. Practical tips were provided around social-media usage to better support students and their families.

Meg Griffin stated, “We feel honored to share our presentation with the intent that the information we provide about accessing the internet and social media in a healthy manner will be taken back to schools and classrooms across the state.”


School Psychology Awareness Week (SPAW) – November 11 – 15, 2019

This week we celebrate and recognize our school psychologists as it is School Psychology Awareness Week!

School psychologists work with individual students and groups of students to support academic intervention, change problem behaviors, address social emotional difficulties, support students with disabilities, and intervene in other situations that challenge students. They also work with teachers and parents to develop techniques for changing behavior in the classroom and at home.  Other areas of focus for school psychologists include training students, parents, and teachers about how to manage crisis situations and substance abuse problems.

According to the National Association of School Psychology, there are 10 domains in which school psychologists provide services, including:

  1. Data-based decision making and accountability
  2. Consultation and collaboration
  3. Interventions and instructional support to develop academic skills
  4. Interventions and mental health services to develop social and life skills
  5. School-wide practices to promote learning
  6. Preventive and responsive services
  7. Family-school collaboration services
  8. Diversity in development and learning
  9. Research and program evaluation
  10. Legal, ethical, and professional practice

School psychologists recognize schools as a crucial context for development. They know effective instructional processes, understand classroom and school environments, understand the organization and operation of schools and agencies, apply principles of learning to the development of competence both within and outside school, consult with educators and other professionals regarding cognitive, affective, social and behavioral performance, assess developmental needs and develop educational environments that meet those diverse needs, coordinate educational, psychological and behavioral health services by working at the interface of these systems, and intervene to improve organizations and develop effective partnerships between parents and educators and other caretakers.

An essential role of the school psychologist is synthesizing information on developmental mechanisms and contexts, translating it for adults who are responsible for promoting the healthy growth and development of children and youth in a wide range of educational contexts.

Let’s celebrate our school psychologists this week!

Sarah Belleau
Integrated Services Director
Poudre School District
Integrated Services Logo_3color

We are happy to announce that Poudre School District had several nominees for and a recipient of The City of Fort Collins Commission on Disability’s 2019 Community Recognition Awards!

PSD Nominees:

  • PSD Enrich Team (Jeanne Abkarian, IEP System Coordinator; DJ Sedey, Enrich Support TOSA; and Tracy Scholar, Department Technician)
  • Jackie Myers, Special Education Paraprofessional II – Boltz Middle School
  • Kathleen Scandary, Teacher at Boltz Middle School; providing support to special education students in her classroom

PSD Recipient:

  • Nick Smosna, Integrated Services Assistant Director – Educator of the Year

Nominees were honored and awards presented during a ceremony on October 17, 2019 at CSU’s Lory Student Center. 

Clockwise from left (and left to right):
Pic 1: Niel Smosna, wife of Nick Smosna; Brad Reimers, PSD School Psychologist; Kelly Webb, PSD School Psychologist; Tracy Scholar, Enrich Team Department Tech; DJ Sedey, Enrich Support TOSA; Nick Smosna, IS Assistant Director; Jackie Myers, Boltz SPED Para II; Melanie Potyondy, PSD School Psychologist; Sarah Belleau, PSD Integrated Services Director
Pic 2: Tracy Scholar; DJ Sedey; Nick Smosna; Jackie Myers
Pic 3: Kathleen Scandary, Boltz Teacher; Jackie Myers

Congratulations to all – and thank you for the support you provide to PSD students every day! 

November is Homeless Youth Awareness Month. Please read this message from our friends in PSD’s Language, Culture & Equity Department.

McKinneyVento 11.2019

You can help: Join PSD’s efforts to support students experiencing homelessness.

Did you know? Of Poudre School District’s approximately 30,000 students, more than 3.8% of them are homeless and qualify for McKinney-Vento services. These numbers are higher than the national student homelessness rate. It’s also important to note that a youth who experiences homelessness is 87% more likely to drop out school.

What can you do to help?

  • Raise awareness: November is Homeless Youth Awareness Month. Share this information with your family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues.
  • You can eat pizza: On Thurs., Nov. 7, MOD Pizza, 1013 Centre Ave. in Fort Collins, will donate a portion of proceeds to PSD’s McKinney-Vento program if you mention PSD McKinney-Vento when you pay!
  • You can participate in the JSSC hygiene drive
    • LCE is collecting hygiene items in the lounge. Please consider purchasing full size products (no travel sizes please) and dropping them off in the designated box in the lounge
  • Have questions? Contact Whitney Reid, PSD’s homeless education program specialist, at 970-490-3242 or email wreid@psdschools.org.

McKinney-Vento is designed to provide students experiencing homelessness with resources and protections that remove all educational barriers with emphasis on educational enrollment, attendance, and success. Services are available to children and youth, from birth to 21 years of age, who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.

At the end of the 2018-19 school year, PSD finished with 1,209 total Early Childhood-grade 12 students who qualified for McKinney-Vento services. October 2019 data show that PSD’s McKinney-Vento student enrollment is already up 53% over this time last school year, with more than 900 students currently qualified for services. Learn more on PSD’s website.

Thank you!

Department of Language, Culture & Equity