Integrated Service Equation

IS equation (2)

The greater the least restrictive environment, combined with purpose, planning, pedagogy plus collaboration, communicating, core content equates to a greater student achievement.

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

Focus on Literacy.

Children are the lifeblood of the future. Their bright eyes and open hearts should inspire us all.  Children are so excited about learning all things from the time they are born.  After language begins to develop, children become interested in reading and writing.  Reading and writing are subjects that everyone has done. For some, learning comes seamlessly but for others, time and care must be taken.

In every school district there will be children who struggle to follow along with the curriculum put in place. How we handle those challenges is the bigger question. Teachers are constantly brainstorming ways to help their students become successful, but time is limited.  In Poudre School District the Director of Integrated Services (special education), Sarah Belleau, recognized the need to give both students and teachers strategize and a helping hand. All of the good intentions in the world must be supported, and the truth of the matter is that often this comes with a monetary cost.

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

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

In 2013, Sarah Belleau applied through the Colorado Department of Education for a grant focused on intervention for students with disabilities in literacy areas. The Literacy Achievement for All Grant award to Poudre School District was a little over one million dollars, to spread the course of 4 years. It allowed the hiring of 3 literacy coaches, Teresa Ashton, Janet Klein and Julie Woolner.

Woolner, JulieJulie Woolner has worked in the field of special education since 1997.  She has taught students with various disabilities from Kindergarten through Sixth Grade, and is currently a Literacy Coach with Poudre School District. She has a Masters Degree in Special Education.

Spring 2015 1091Teresa Ashton is an instructional literacy coach in Poudre School District. She supports special education teachers in implementing research-based practices, conducting progress monitoring and analyzing data to guide decision-making. During her 20 years in education, Teresa has taught students with disabilities in preschool through 12th grade, as well as middle and high school students in reading and language arts. Teresa holds a master’s degree from Valdosta State University in Special Education, and is currently working towards earning an education specialist degree from University of Northern Colorado in Administration.

Klein, Janet2 Janet Klein is a Speech-Language Pathologist and has been practicing in this field for nearly 25 years. Additional, she has certifications and licensures in the areas of Secondary English-Language Arts and Special Education. She has served students in the hospital setting at Children’s Hospital in San Diego, California and The Children’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado as well as the public school setting since 1987. She has provided speech and language services to students, Pre-k through middle school for the past 25 years.

The grant’s intent is to increase achievement for students with disabilities in language, reading and writing and to improve outcomes for students with disabilities in Northern Colorado through shared professional development opportunities. The students primarily targeted by the grant are students pre-k through 5th grade supported under and IDEA 2004 identified with a disability in the areas of speech/language, specific learning disability, physical disability or serious emotional disability.

The role of coaching consists of but is not limited to:

– Collaborating with principals, Integrated Services staff, and general education staff;

– Guide staff with embedding their training into delivery of instruction;

– Provide support of research based instructional strategies through training and modeling;

– Provide coaching for effective inclusion of students with disabilities into general education;

–  Assist with design and implementation of professional development in literacy instruction for Pre-K through 5th grade staff;

– Facilitate instructional decision making through the examination of progress monitoring data.

Data collection and analysis is important and sometimes underemphasized piece of education. Critics equate it to turning education into a business. On the contrary, by collecting data and learning where emphasis should be placed, educators are able to focus in on areas specific to students. Data collection to inform instruction is a huge part of how literacy coaches work with general and special education teachers. It is also a part of the accountability to the Colorado Department of Education.

“It’s been an amazing experience personally. I feel so fortunate to be in the position and so lucky to make a difference with students and teachers. (It is) really fun.” Janet Klein.

In the 2 years of its existence Ashton, Klein and Woolner have done an exceptional job creating a program that is supportive, educational and resourceful. Their commitment to teachers and students is contagious.

Dive into a good book!

As the school year comes to a close, you may be making plans for the summer; vacation, relaxation or time at the pool. Whatever you do, remember to exercise your mind. A great way to do that is with reading.

Here are some favorites from Poudre School District Integrated Services literacy coaches Julie Woolner and Teresa Ashton:

Teresa Ashton recommends:

Books to read with toddlers                  

Love You Forever by Robert MuncshLoveYouForever

I Love You the Purplest by Barbara Joosseiloveyouthepurplest

Books for elementary school kidsjuniebjones2

Junie B Jones by Barbara ParkE.B.-White-Charlottes-Web

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Books for intermediate grades

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinneydiaryofawimpykid

Books for middle school kidsthebully

The Bully by Paul Langen

Books for high school kids

old-man-and-the-sea-reviewThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsHunger Games Trilogy

The Old Man and the Sea by Earnest Hemingway

Books for adults

The Energy Bus by Jon Gordontheenergybus

thegirlwiththedragontatooThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Julie Woolner recommends:

      Books For Kids

ish Ish by Peter Reynolds

Spoon by Amy Krouse Rosenthalspoon

littlepeaLittle Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankardgrumpybird

ericcarlAny Eric Carle book

Books For Young Adults

watershipdownLittle House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilderlittlehouseontheprairie

Watership Down by Richard Adams

harry-potter-series1627The Hunger Games  series by Suzanne Collins

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Leeto-kill-a-mockingbird-by-harper-lee-profile

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

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

Inclusion… we all want to be part of something.

kindergarten all inInclusion may or may not be a part of your vocabulary when it comes to the school environment. As a part of specialized education, inclusion takes on many forms. There is no definitive answer to what inclusion is as part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. What IDEA does state is that students with disabilities have a right to be educated as often as possible with their non-disabled peers.  The IEP team makes this determination.  So, what does inclusion look like for those working with students with disabilities in the education environment?

In Poudre School District, educators have embraced and succeeded in looking past the challenges that come with learning gaps and work to be highly inclusive of all students. By remaining in general education classrooms, students are learning valuable skills such as developing and maintaining friendships, how to get along with people of all backgrounds, time management, how to communicate their ideas and work with others, and are provided access to core content instruction alongside peers. It gives students the opportunity to discover what they enjoy and where their passions lie. It is a chance to be exposed to a variety of people and activities.

Renee Ostergren, Integrated Service Coach and educator for Poudre School District describes inclusion as a mentality and culture, not a set amount of time. “Is every student a valued contributing member (of the classroom)? If yes, then the amount and time considerations don’t matter.” “It boils down to, do they matter?” She believes that inclusion in a team sport.

“When I’m looking at my students’ schedules in regards to inclusion, I try to look at the most interactive times of day. When will they have the most opportunity to interact with their peers and form relationships? There are times of the day that lend themselves easily to this, such as specials rotations (art, music, and PE), lunch, recess, and science/social studies – when students tend to be doing more group work or hands-on projects. I also work with the grade-level teacher to find other times of day, when students can be included in small groups, or have a job within the classroom.”

“The overarching idea of inclusion to me is that everyone is seen as a community member. That everyone recognizes that each person in their classroom, community, or work place, has something to offer to the better good of the group. I’ve seen this done amazingly well by young children. When they have opportunities to interact with people who are different than them, and are taught to value differences, it makes the community better. It always lightens my heart when I hear a student tell me about how well one of my students can do something, or that they’re excited to see a peer do something new. Inclusion really is a collective idea.  It isn’t something that one person can do by themselves. It takes an incredible team that values this idea, and will work to see it improve, that really makes the community. Inclusion is almost a feeling to me – you know when you walk into an environment if it is there or not.” Integrated Service teacher, Rice Elementary School.

By modifying activities for students opposed to isolating them in a self-contained program, everyone is benefiting including staff. These benefits are a beautiful reminder that as humans, we are all the same.

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

Philanthropists of Fort Collins High School

Something Beautiful is Happening at Fort Collins High School!

We are raising money for a good cause, but even more important we want our voices to be heard. Please view and share the video that our class put together with the help of PSD tech. genius Michael Foster. You can donate, Feb. 2nd through Feb. 28th   at the following link:

The students of the Fort Collins High School Give Next Service Learning class are philanthropists.  We give of our time through service projects and volunteerism. We give of our talent through crafts that we make to give away and to sell to raise money to give away.  We give of our treasure through providing grant money to local non-profit organizations who inspire positive change.

Our mission is to make a difference in our community with assistance from the Give Next Program of United Way of Larimer County, financial support from Woodward Charitable Trust, OtterCares Foundation, Houska Automotive, and additional fundraising efforts. Together we will fund local nonprofit organizations that focus on suicide prevention and bringing hope to the hopeless.

Krista Churchill

FCHS Integrated Services Teacher

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