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 Meetings in February and April  Their nominations were filled with praise from colleagues; read on for just a few excerpts.

February Quarterly Recognitions 2022

Daniel Denton, Rocky Mountain High School, Integrated Services Teacher
Daniel continues to go above and beyond to meet student needs and create a positive learning environment in his classes. As a case manager, he has handled adverse situations with patience and a positive mindset. He always does what is best for his students and has found creative ways to identify student strengths and build skills in areas of need. He is a huge asset to our team and school.

Sara Thompson, Lincoln Middle School, Integrated Services Teacher
Sara works in the SED department of Lincoln. Sara has patience beyond comprehension and extends grace to every person. She shares her wealth of knowledge with humility. She is a force to be reckoned with. She is gentle and kind to the students, and also firm in her boundaries. She respects and cares deeply for her students. She goes above and beyond making sure her staff feel cared for and supported.

Austin “Marc” Mack, Rice Elementary, School Psychologist
Austin has been a great support this Year at Rice and we are lucky to have him here. He is student first always thinking of ways to support & provide the best accommodations for kids. He has a great perspective and is always willing to reflect after challenging conversations!

Marissa Valentine, Wellington Middle School, Integrated Services Paraprofessional
Marissa jumped into working at Wellington Middle School during remote instruction Fall 2020 and has been a huge asset to our team ever since. She is caring, understanding, and works so very hard while also working on her degree in counseling outside of school hours. Marissa can be trusted and counted on to support any student in our building but is especially good with students that have challenging behaviors. Marissa is the reason some of our students are so successful! Thank you for all you do Marissa.

Kristine Middaugh, Boltz Middle School, School Psychologist
It is hard to put into words the appreciation that our team has for this individual. As a School Psychologist, this person consistently demonstrates character, competency, and compassion on a daily basis. Whether she is checking in with students individually, leading small group skills, or helping a child in crisis, they can be counted on to have a level head and calm demeanor. They are someone that we have relied on as the ultimate teammate. We have asked them to go above and beyond their job requirements, and I am incredibly grateful to have such a team player at my school. Our students have come back to learning with additional burdens and trauma from dealing with pandemic related stressors and this individual has been a constant source of support for our students and our staff throughout this difficult school year. She is an asset to our building and we are all better educators thanks to her efforts and dedication to our students. Furthermore, she is incredibly thorough, whether that is writing an evaluation report or taking data, ensuring the team has a complete picture of the student’s strengths and needs. Kristine Middaugh, Thank you for everything that you have done and continue to do for our Boltz Team. I am in awe of your professionalism, care and knowledge. We appreciate you beyond these words.

Tony Bonanno, Mountain Sage Community School, School Psychologist
Tony was invaluable in helping us support students with expired IEPs and new referrals last fall due to the movement within the educational system with Covid.  There was so much testing and paperwork, yet he was on top of it. Thank you for all of your hard work, Tony!

 April Quarterly Recognitions 2022

Amanda Duncombe, Webber Middle School, ILS Teacher
Amanda has been a great addition to our IS team at Webber. As a 1st year teacher, Amada has made great change to her program. She builds relationships with each student, paraprofessional, and family she works with. She is a great collaborator and team player with our itinerants, new Autism program, and Multicat teachers. She holds students to a high standard which allows for personal and academic growth. Amanda does a great job differentiating and modifying work to reach each student at their level. She has worked hard to make sure her students are included in the general education setting as much as possible. We are so grateful to have Amanda on our team.

Kate Matthews, Rice Elementary and Wellington Middle School, SLP
The SWAAAC team would like to recognize Kate in her efforts in assessing and implementing alternative and augmentative communication systems with her students with complex communication needs. Kate’s caseload at Rice and Wellington Middle School has many students with complex communication needs and other significant needs. As a first year SLP, she has gone above and beyond to support these students and school staff. She has had to learn how to operate and implement a variety of AAC devices to include multiple access methods. She has never hesitated to ask SWAAAC for support and in doing so has become more confident and proficient in her skills. Kate does a fabulous job incorporating the use of AAC within the classroom setting. In the ILS program at Rice, she has implemented AAC within literacy activities that are co-planned and taught with the teacher. She provides ongoing coaching and training with the preschool staff. She also takes the time to reach out to the families and private service providers to coordinate services and to problem solve challenges. Thank you Kate for all that you do on behalf of our students.

Ann Bunten, Irish Elementary, SLP
I want to recognize Ann for her amazing work this school year for all of our students. She’s fit right in with our I.S. team and has been working incredibly hard to encourage, care for, and teach every one of our students with speech and language needs. She’s been incredibly knowledgeable and helpful with our students in the MTSS process and she’s a great resource for all of the teachers here. We are so grateful she is at Irish and the students adore her as well!

Sarah Belleau, Director of Integrated Services
Sarah, thank you for your advocacy, your passion, and your support on behalf of all students with disabilities in Poudre School District! You are an amazing leader that inspires others to excel in everything we do!

Sarah, you have been the most amazing leader! I appreciate your genuine kindness and respect for your team. You lead by example and always make our students a priority. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with you this year. I have learned so much and will always be thankful.

I so appreciate Sarah’s skilled leadership with Integrated Services.  Her commitment to students, families, educators, support staff, and the larger district as a whole is commendable.  Sarah navigates complicated scenarios with grace.  She is always willing to listen as well as help do the work.  A big THANK YOU to Sarah for all the many contributions she has made for students with disabilities.

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

NOMINEES ANNOUNCED – 35th Annual PSD Integrated Services Mary Hull Awards – Event evening: Thursday, April 28, 2022.

Congratulations to the following nominees:

Collaborative Award
Jessica Stelzer – Rocky Mountain High School
John Hermanson & David Miles – Fort Collins High School
Susan Stephens – Laurel Elementary

Honorary Award
Alexis Bryant – Laurel Elementary
Angelina Cappel – Bacon Elementary
Barbara Clark – CLP Elementary
Dawn Webster – Bennett Elementary
Heather Defazio – Zach Elementary
Hilda Nieto – Traut Elementary
Jayme Harper – Project Search
Jennifer Brown – Rocky Mountain High School
Melissa Hunnell – Posthumous Nomination – Olander Elementary
Nina Rosenquest – Loveland Food Share
Teri Marsh – McGraw Elementary

Specialized Service Professional Award
Benjamin Fraase – Speech Language Pathologist (PHS & Blevins)
Corrine Knudson – Social Worker (Bennett)
Kathryn (Kassie) McDermott – Social Worker (FCHS)
Melanie Potyondy – School Psychologist (RMHS)
Kerry Alexander, Trish Atherly and Elizabeth Crawford – SWAAAC Team

Special Education Teacher Award
Amy Gardner – Timnath Elementary
Emily Gilchrist – Putnam Elementary
Emmalie Pfankuch – Irish Elementary
Ian Wells – Rocky Mountain High School
John Magruire – Fort Collins High School
Michael Woodruff – Community Connections
Molly Kechter – Shepardson Elementary
Sara Thompson – Lincoln Middle School

Wonderful happenings in PSD Integrated Services Transition Programs!

COOPER HOME GRADUATION
On Tuesday, December 7, David – currently a post-high school student with Cooper Home – received his high school diploma from Fort Collins High School! The diploma was presented by Poudre School District Superintendent, Brian Kingsley. Congratulations, David!

David with Cooper Home Program Specialist, Gayna Jobe
Diploma presentation from Superintendent Kingsley


COOPER HOME RECEIVES RECOGNITION AND DONATION FROM SAFEWAY
On Wednesday, December 8, Cooper Home was presented with a large donation check as part of Safeway’s grand re-opening and their Nourishing Neighbors program. During the presentation, Safeway representatives announced that the donation would be DOUBLED! Cooper Home plans to use the money for their ongoing participation with a local therapeutic facility and will also be sharing a generous portion with our other Transition Programs. Thanks to Safeway, and congrats to Cooper Home!


TRANSITION PROGRAMS MAKERS’ MARKET
On Thursday, December 9, our Transition Programs held an overwhelmingly successful holiday Makers’ Market in the Boardroom of the PSD Support Services Center. The items went quickly and soon sold out! Thanks to all who supported the Market, and thanks to the students for making wonderful handcrafted items: dog biscuits and toys, sugar scrubs, craft roasted coffee, rice therapy bags and more!

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, December 2, 2021.  Their nominations were filled with praise from colleagues; read on for just a few excerpts.

Karen Offord – IS Paraprofessional, Shepardson Elementary
We cannot begin to express how wonderful a staff member Karen is within the Autism program and within the school. She is an incredibly hard worker and always puts the needs of the students above all else. She has worked with students with all levels of need within the program; supporting their various needs both in the substantially separate classroom as well as supporting their needs within the general education classrooms. Karen is proactive for the student’s needs; she is excellent in knowing in the inclusion setting how to modify the curriculum and what the students need in order to thrive. She is able to easily support the children’s needs both academically, behaviorally, empathically, socially, and emotionally. Karen works collaboratively with many team members. She will often be proactive about consulting with other special education teachers, classroom teachers and related service providers when faced with a challenging student. She is very reflective in her practice and is eager to continue to develop herself professionally. She brings an impressive work ethic and is an incredible Team player. She strives to help provide the best learning opportunities for all students. We are incredibly lucky and grateful to have Karen on our Team.

Elizabeth Crawford – OT
Elizabeth is always SO willing to help and super open to feedback and ideas from colleagues. She is amazing to collaborate with and with other IS staff and General Education teachers. Thank you Elizabeth for all of your work with staff.

Jessica Magrin – SLP, Webber Middle School
Jess does so much more than fill the role of an SLP. Jess is a mentor, counselor, and a great colleague to run ideas by. We appreciate all that you do Jessica for students and our team!!

Beth Ackerson – SWAP Specialist
Beth is attentive to student’s needs and goes above and beyond to formulate professional relationships with youth and students. Beth has a knack for understanding youth’s needs when it comes to employment and then takes the extra time to work through some of the barriers each individual person may have. Beth has a contagious positive spirit and looks for successes at work with her co-workers as well as with high school teachers, staff, and students.

Emily Gilchrist – ECSE Teacher, Putnam
Emily is an outstanding integrated services teacher who provides thoughtful, differentiated and data driven instruction for our smallest learners. She is also a strong team leader for our Putnam Early Childhood team. Emily goes above and beyond expectations of her classroom to ensure all her teammates and students in Putnam EC are thriving to their full potential.

Britany Gann – ECSE teacher, Bennett Elementary School
Britany is an amazing Integrated Services teacher. She approaches all she does with incredible enthusiasm, compassion, and dedication. Britany has taken a leadership role on our team this year, despite the fact that she is just completing her first year as an IS teacher. She has brought forth great ideas related to developing team goals and relationships. Britany’s super power is her connection with students. She has a number of students with high behavioral needs on her caseload and she has made substantial progress in helping them to access general education by developing well thought out behavior plans and consistently in implementing these plans, while at the same time developing connected relationships with the students. They adore her. We are grateful to have Britany as a team member at Bennett Elementary!!

Alicia Berry – IS Paraprofessional, Lincoln Middle School
Alicia is an incredibly dedicated, effective, and caring person. She is always willing to jump in and help, no matter what is needed. She has amazing relationships with our students. They see her as a safe person that can be trusted no matter what. Alicia is willing to listen to a student’s perspective and then make sure that they know that they are heard no matter what is happening. Alicia has also been working really hard to modify all of the science and social studies curriculum for all three grade levels at our school. She has created beautiful materials to make the curriculum more accessible for all students at our school, regardless of their level of need. Her ability to make this material accessible to all students is invaluable to our students. They love going to these classes with her knowing that they will be able to learn and participate in a meaningful way. We can’t say enough about Alicia, her flexibility and the dedication she brings to our students. She is a gift to our school and our students!

Kirsten Weissman – IS Teacher, Lesher Middle School
Kirsten is so knowledgeable on reading intervention and is such a great resource at Lesher! She works hard and completes task so thoughtfully and has such attention to detail. She has taught others so much about reading intervention and goes above and beyond for our shared students. We are thankful to work with someone like her!

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

Integrated Services Logo_3color
Poudre School District
Integrated Services
Sarah Belleau, Director

GREAT opportunity for families, school staff, and community members of PSD to provide input and participate in discussions around Special Education in our District.

PSD is currently accepting applications for membership on the Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC).  SEAC is families, school staff, and community members supporting the education of all students.  SEAC advises on PSD topics representing students with disabilities.  

SEAC’s vision is to facilitate partnerships between parents, general education, special education, and the community.  SEAC members focus on children and youth with disabilities and decisions made on their behalf, keeping at the forefront quality educational services.

Representatives will be asked to serve on the committee for two years and attend all SEAC meetings.

SEAC meetings will take place in the evenings from 5:30-7:30 pm in person at the JSSC with the option of joining over a virtual format, Microsoft Teams.

Meeting dates this school year are: November 18, January 20, March 14, and May 19. 

Committee members will advise the Integrated Services (Special Education) Leadership Team on topics relevant to PSD special education and will work with the Integrated Services Department on various special education and parent focused projects. 

Please consider applying for this opportunity for collaboration! 

Follow this link to apply: Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) 2021-22 Application

For more information, please contact:
Heidi Graber
Integrated Services
Parent Liaison
970-490-3225

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, September 21, 2021.  Their nominations were filled with praise from colleagues; read on for just a few excerpts.

Dani Bassett, IS Teacher, Werner Elementary School
Dani leads the IS program at Werner. She welcomed me as a new teacher into the building, helped with scheduling and filled in gaps to better support the students at Werner. She goes above and beyond to advocate for her students’ needs and provides clear plans of how to engage students actively and using specific strategies. Dani uses research-based practices to meet her students’ learning goals and adapts them to meet the needs of each student. She always comes in with a smile and is eager to work with all students.  Thank you, Dani!!

Brad Reimers, School Psychologist, Bauder Elementary School
Brad has been so helpful in supporting new staff at Bauder.  He patiently answers questions and helps in any way needed.  Thank you, Brad!!

Katrina Gough, IS Teacher, Bamford Elementary School
Katrina has been a team player since day 1! Before I even started as an official PSD employee, she stepped in to introduce herself and support students and parents who needed IEP questions answered or held a meeting that needed to be held. She has been crushing it at coordinating her new role at Bamford!  Thank you, Katrina!!

Danielle Miller, IS Teacher, Wellington Middle School
Danielle jumped into WMS during the 2019-2020 and while it now feels like she has worked here for 10 years instead of starting her 3rd year, Danielle has been a tremendous addition to the WMS team. She is always caring and helpful to both students and staff. I have seen students with significant behavior difficulties make huge gains while working with Danielle. We are always bouncing ideas off of each other and making each other better teachers. She is the first to offer help if you need an extra hand or coverage for something. She engages students and gives them life skills that they will carry with them forever. Danielle has already made a huge difference for the students in our community. I hope she sticks around WMS for many years to come!  Thank you, Danielle!!

Ale McGee, IS Teacher, Fort Collins High School
Ale comes to work everyday with a smile. She works so hard to meet the varying needs of all her students. Even when things get difficult she is ready to follow through and is always a team player.  Thank you, Ale!!

Tara Gross, IS Teacher, Rocky Mountain High School
Tara has been a selfless leader for our department. She has taken on the challenge of scheduling all of our transfers and new students that came at the beginning of the school year. Tara is a selfless leader who always puts others before herself and the needs of her students above all else. Tara is an amazing educator and member of our team.  Thank you, Tara!!

Brian Farkas, IS Teacher, Rice Elementary School
Brian has jumped into Rice with both feet forward! He is always responsive to student and staff needs and communicates directly and effectively with the team. An example is a student this year who has big emotions and big behaviors. Brian created a plan and a very detailed data collection sheet to track behaviors. Without this data, we would be two weeks behind in the MTSS process for getting this student more support at school. Brian is a joy to work with and his commitment to all students keeps me going on especially tough days.  Thank you, Brian!!

Makenzi Semadeni, IS Teacher, Bennett Elementary School
Makenzi is a FANTASTIC team member and collaborator; this shows up in her ability to reach students because she creates such a unified team with all of the stakeholders in each student’s education (parents, general education teachers, administration, paraprofessionals, etc). This year she entered a new school and had a new caseload, and she has taken it on like a champ!  She has been dedicated, hard-working, open-minded, relationship oriented, respectful, responsible, and caring.  Thank you, Makenzi!!

Megan Kramer, BCBA & Madeleine Carter, Autism Coach, Poudre School District
Megan and Madeleine are both new to their position this school year. I am extremely impressed with the manner in which they support schools and work tirelessly to support students in extremely difficult situations. They also understand the importance of building supportive relationships with staff. They always keep the students needs first and foremost and are committed to their success. Thank you, Megan and Madeleine!!

Jenni Thomason, School Psychologist, Blevins Middle School
Jenni goes above in beyond in every aspect of her job. In my short time here at Blevins she has become the person I can go to when I have questions. Jenni is so supportive of all of us on the IS team and truly cares about the students and the school as a whole.  Thank you, Jenni!!

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

Integrated Services Logo_3color
Poudre School District
Integrated Services
Sarah Belleau, Director

Welcome back – and welcome aboard!

We’re thrilled to welcome back our veteran Integrated Services team members, as well as our new recruits! Our new licensed staff has just completed two very full and productive days of orientation. We thank you all for your participation and engagement – you’ve built a strong foundation for a successful new school year!

Looking Back on this Year…Congratulations Graduates!!

It is our pleasure to celebrate all of the graduates from our PSD Transition Programs! Congratulations to each of you as you embrace your next adventures!

Project Search Grads (left to right):
Lauren Tharp, David Knuckey, Fermin Romero Lopez, Lauren Schaub, Rafat Islam
Community Connections Grads (left to right):
Noah Ridley, Keith McCauley Jr., Cassandra Hoard, Tristen Lopez

Looking Back on this Year…Game On!!

It’s not whether you win or lose…! Rich Feller, a past CSU faculty member in the School of Education, and an author, speaker, and counselor with Rich Feller and Associates, co-authored a game called “Who You Are MATTERS”. Mr. Feller was a guest presenter for PSD’s Project SEARCH, where he shared his game with students. “Who You are MATTERS” ‘sparks meaningful conversations and helps participants connect the dots in their professional and personal lives’. (Description from website richfeller.com.) Project SEARCH Program Specialist, Emilie Ring, used the game as a transition assessment, and will work with Mr. Feller to create a modified version for students on IEPs for transition planning.

Also visit https://onelifetools.com/pages/who-you-are-matters for more information.

Looking Back on this Year…Temple Grandin!!

In November, Temple Grandin Zoomed in to Kaitlin Patterson’s Agricultural Science class at Rocky Mountain High School. Students had the opportunity for open dialogue with Ms. Grandin. It was a wonderful experience for learning and motivation!