Students were out having fun, spirited competition again this year with Unified Sports! In addition, our own Fort Collins High School has been nationally recognized as a Special Olympics National Unified Champion School! Congrats to FCHS, and to all of our schools in PSD who participate in Unified Sports throughout the year!
With the utmost sincerity and respect from PSD Integrated Services Director Sarah Belleau and the Integrated Services Leadership Team, we recognize and send our gratitude to all of our staff! Although this past year had been incredibly challenging, you’ve been there for our students. YOU did it! Integrated Services staff – you have adjusted, created, persevered, and stood strong, continuing your drive to assure that all our students received the best education possible, no matter the circumstances. Thank you! You have been the light in what was for so many a dark time. You were the encouragement for many to keep going. You shined bright so that others could find their way. You have inspired with your commitment, passion, and ability to carry on. We are incredibly moved by all of you who continue to work tirelessly to provide the best programming and services for students with disabilities. We celebrate you this week (and always!) for being outstanding, motivating others, and becoming the beacon of hope to assure that the needs of students with disabilities in Poudre School District have been met.
Enjoy this week as we celebrate you! Happy Appreciation Week 😊
The following staff members were recognized at the Integrated Services Quarterly Meeting on Monday, April 12, 2021. Their nominations were filled with praise from several co-workers; read on for just a few excerpts.
Michelle Bullock, Para II – Werner Elementary
“Thank you to Michelle Bullock for trying out a new math program this spring for students who needed an educator to think out of the box to meet their needs. Michelle knew her students needed something different to support their mathematical thinking and progress and worked hard to learn something new to increase the success of her students with disabilities. Michelle is differentiating for each students’ needs and implementing best practices every day. Thank you Michelle!!”
Patty Heyse, School Psychologist – Preston Middle School
“Patty is so supportive of the IS team at Preston. During Covid-19, Patty understood how busy the IS teachers were with trying to meet the needs of their students that Patty offered to complete different pieces of paperwork to help out. ” “Patty’s current intern said ‘I can say that Patty is very knowledgeable, helpful, and willing to lend a hand at any time. She is a positive and bright presence even during the most stressful of times. I’ve learned so much from her and I know that her consistent supervision and coaching have prepared me to enter my first year as an official school psychologist.” “We wish Patty all the best in her retirement and thank her for all of her years of service, dedication and most of all friendship.”
Garry Keller, Multi-categorical Teacher – Poudre Community Academy
“The students, staff, and entire community of PCA are incredibly lucky to have a teacher like Garry. He is always willing to think “outside the box” to make sure that our students get their needs met. Garry is beyond creative when it comes to meeting students where they are, while guiding them in meeting their individual goals as well. All of us at PCA are proud to work with you Garry, and are grateful for you, even the butter braid thief and constituents. Thank you for working so hard everyday and making all of us around you better. You truly make our world a better place. ”
Kaitlin Patterson, Multi-categorical Teacher – Rocky Mountain High School
“Kaitlin goes above and beyond to improve our Integrated Services team at Rocky. She constantly strives to streamline systems and processes within IS. Kaitlin has shown initiative and leadership. She has been the liaison between the science department and our team. The fostering of this partnership has allowed so many students to flourish in challenging, yet supportive general education classes. While doing so, Kailtin has also helped general education teachers learn how to best accommodate and modify for students with disabilities. Her honest, direct, and humorous approach to working with students and parents has increased student achievement, independence, and self-advocacy skills. Kaitlin’s willingness to seek areas of improvement and then act has catapulted our team to the next level of awesomeness.”
Erin Ruffner, Multi-categorical Teacher – Rocky Mountain High School
“This semester (Erin) has taken on our school restaurant which is not an easy task during a pandemic. She has gone above and beyond to make the class accessible to all students and has started to grow the business in new and innovative ways.” “Students are learning to grocery shop, meal plan, measure, use customer service skills and more. The students in her class are thriving.” “She always problem solves every roadblock that is in the way for either students or for the restaurant and has made the opportunity for students one of the best parts of their school day.” “Erin has skill when it comes to helping students navigate their social/ emotional/ high school drama needs. Often, we have students who get involved in high school drama but do not yet have the skills necessary to maturely navigate the situations. Erin does an amazing job teaching students’ the skills they need to solve their problems. Thank you for all you do, Erin!”
Karyn Schrom, Multi-categorical Teacher – Cache La Poudre Elementary School
“Karyn has been an impactful and important leader for our team and for our students this year. She is always striving to find unique, individual tools, interventions, and solutions for every student that she works with. She leads our IS team with a calm, caring and inclusive manner. She listens and is always positive and proactive with each team member. Students love working with Mrs. Schrom and are excited to be in a group with her. Karyn is always going above and beyond for our team and for the students!”
Jamie Straw, Speech-Language Pathologist – ECH Assessment Team
“What is there to say about Jamie other than that she is a wonderful teammate who has children’s best interest in all that she does. She is easy going, knowledgeable and professional which allows her to quickly establish rapport with children and their families. Her way of communicating is direct yet empathetic. Jamie is compassionate, helping families recognize the strengths of their child, while educating them on their child’s needs. She has difficult conversations with grace and earnestly listens and incorporates perspectives and contributions of others. She is an exceptional practitioner who makes personal connections with her students and beams with pride when talking about their growth throughout the year. She is a teammate who is quick to volunteer and help others out when needed and provides direction in a non-threatening, non-judgmental and helpful manner. ”
Jennifer Thomason, School Psychologist – Blevins Middle School
“Jenni is so much more than our school psychologist: she is a continual source of insight, wisdom, and professionalism. She is flexible and willing to fill in where she is needed, and always with a positive attitude.” “During my time at Blevins Middle School, I have been fortunate to learn from the guidance and direction of Jenni. Jenni is a bright light in our building, always willing to answer a text in a moments notice to help a student in need. She displays a calm demeanor and truly makes relationships with students where they feel trusted & cared for. ” “Jenni has been instrumental to making my first year a success. She is always open to discuss questions that I have.” “She is a wealth of knowledge and always open to collaborate and consult. Students’ wellbeing is her top priority – kids are put first. I am honored to work with her and call her my friend. Thanks for all you do Jenni!”
Andrea Wallace, Multi-categorical Teacher – Webber Middle School
“Andrea is an amazing paraprofessional because of her big heart, patience, understanding, reliability, and organization. She has worked with these current 8th graders since 6th grade and knows them well. She has developed positive relationships with each student to allow them to feel safe, comfortable, and valued. The relationships she has built has allow these students to grow emotionally and academically. Andrea’s organization skills are top notch which allows her to accommodate each student so that they can access work at their level. Andrea is willing to step in and help in any situation. She has great ideas and is a great person to collaborate with. Andrea is moving on next year to pursue her school counseling degree and license and will be greatly missed at Webber.”
Shannon Wick, Multi-categorical Teacher – Rocky Mountain High School
“During the last two years I have had the opportunity to work with Shannon as a multicatigorical teacher. During this time, I have seen Shannon, advocate for students, coworkers and the greater wellbeing for all those at Rocky. Shannon works alongside one of our coworkers and is able to piece together a complicated para schedule to meet not only students here at school, but also to support PSDV and students who are remote learning due to various circumstances. Next year, Shannon will be spearheading the center based SED program here at Rocky and is taking it on with excitement and enthusiasm. Thank you for all you do, Shannon!”
Thank you all for your service and dedication to EACH and EVERY student in PSD!
Poudre School District
Sarah Belleau, Director
Dear PSD Community,
This month is the National Social Work Month and this week is National School Social Work Week! We are proud of the work that our many School Social Workers do each day to support students with mental health needs throughout the district. The national theme is “Social Workers are Essential” and we certainly agree with this theme! Our School Social Workers provide essential services to our students each day through the school year.
School social workers bring unique knowledge and skills to the school system. School Social Workers are trained mental health professionals who can assist with mental health concerns, behavioral concerns, positive behavioral support, academic, and classroom support, consultation with teachers, parents, and administrators as well as provide individual and group counseling/therapy. School social workers are instrumental in furthering the mission of the schools which is to provide a setting for teaching, learning, and for the attainment of competence and confidence. School social workers are hired by school districts to enhance the district’s ability to meet its academic mission, especially where home, school and community collaboration is the key to achieving student success.
School Social Workers… thank you for your tireless effort to ensure students’ emotional, social and educational needs are met.
Take a moment to thank and celebrate your School Social Worker!
Poudre School District
The following staff members were recognized at the Integrated Services Quarterly Meeting on Wednesday, February 10, 2021. Their nominations were filled with praise from several co-workers; read on for just a few excerpts.
Brenda Bryan, Integrated Services Teacher – PSD Virtual
“I would like to recognize Brenda Bryan for her growth mindset along with her genuine positive attitude. Brenda previously worked in an ILS program and because of COVID, made the jump to work at PSDV. This is Brenda’s last year before she retires and instead of having a “quiet year” she is working tremendously hard to learn a new platform, a new age group of students, and new virtual tools to teach. Brenda has a picture of each of her students at her desk to help motivate her each day. She strives to connect with her students in this new environment, making sure each student feels supported. This year has not been perfect, but Brenda takes each “failure” as an opportunity to grow and learn. Brenda has fully embraced the challenge of this year with grace, positivity, and a great sense of humor. She always has a smile on her face and is the first to genuinely embrace those around her.”
Renee Perry, ILS Teacher – Rocky Mountain High School
“Aside from writing approximately 6,000 iterations of our weekly schedule, Renee has approached this nearly impossible moment in time with grace and positivity. She has consistently worked to team with each member of our group, including myself, to create adjustments to our program that will continue to benefit our students throughout this time. She has designed specialized class experiences for students who have unique needs/familial situations, all of which have yielded tangible, lasting results. Her approach to this unprecedented moment in time has been focused, doable, and results-driven. She has managed to create a version of our program that fits a seemingly never-ending set of changing needs and home situations. I’ve never seen one person spin so many plates at one time. This goes for every year, but especially for this one – I am grateful for her dedicated leadership. I genuinely do not know where we would be without her.”
Marie Scott, Multi-categorical Teacher – Rocky Mountain High School
“When I first started working with Marie, I was not sure what to expect. She has a completely different personality than I do. She is quiet, which is the main difference. This past year, Marie has exploded from her shell. Marie is hardcore when it comes to holding students accountable and ensuring they are following through. Whenever I have students in her study skills class, I know they will successful due to her persistent and adamant support. She has high expectations and does no fall pray to high school excuses. Maire – I am so grateful to work with you. You are dedicated, hardworking, student focused and all in all a great person to work with. Thank you for being part of our team.”
Megan Simpson, Multi-categorical Teacher – Lesher Middle School
“I would like to nominate Megan Simpson for her work as a 6th grade integrated services teacher. Megan has worked tirelessly to make sure her 6th grade students and parents transitioned smoothly to Lesher given the odd year. She is diligent to answer every single question and works hard to provide all the necessary service minutes to her students. She is also the self-contained math teacher for all grade levels here at Lesher and does an outstanding job teaching her students important concepts remotely. Megan strives to provide the best coteaching model to support her students in Math and Language Arts. She is a master planner and has all her lessons developed well for her students. She dedicates a great deal of time to supporting her students inside and outside of class. This has been a challenging year with a new way of teaching and providing services. Megan has risen to the challenge and excelled in her position. I am lucky to have her as a resource and a coworker on the Integrated Services team here at Lesher.”
In addition to recognizing these wonderful team members, we would like to thank those who presented during the evening: Markay Cosper, Deanna Hartje, Lisa Hernandez, Ryan Miller, Lizzie Newhouse, Dustin Noden, Emilie Ring, Sean Risatti, Jenny Rosen, and Shaunda Stahl.
Thank you all for your service and dedication to EACH and EVERY student in PSD!
Poudre School District
Sarah Belleau, Director
Your fur baby will love these all-natural treats and fleece toys, made with love by the students at PSD’s Cooper Home and Community Connections.
A note from Cooper Home Program Specialist, Gayna Jobe:
I wanted to personally thank you all for your years of support of our student run business. With us returning to the buildings more, this project is really important for our students to have opportunities to continue to work on vocational skills. This week we have students who mixed, rolled out, weighed and packaged the dog treats. I wanted to let you know that when you purchase our dog biscuits and fleece toys you ae supporting both Cooper Home post school transition program and Community Connections post school Transition program. Community Connections students make the dog fleece toys.
Thank you again for helping us out!!
See flyer for ordering info:
The following staff members were recognized at the Integrated Services Quarterly Meeting on Thursday, December 3, 2020. Their nominations were filled with praise from several co-workers; read on for just a few excerpts.
Jeanne Abkarian, IEP System Coordinator – Integrated Services Enrich Support Team
“Jeanne is an incredible example of dedicating a career to the students in PSD. She devotes her time and attention, her true heart to every aspect of her position. Her knowledge of Enrich and the District as a whole, are an incredible asset to us all. Jeanne sees every child as an incredible individual. She works daily to ensure they are served as best as possible through our Integrated Services Dept. Like a bloodhound she will comb those IEPs! Through this unique Covid time she has been a rock for so many. Day after day, phone call after phone call, she continues to share hope and encouragement.”
Jill Frey, Multi-categorical Teacher – Rocky Mountain High School
“Jill is a dedicated department head. She works diligently to ensure everyone on the team is continually growing and working towards being their best selves. Jill is organized, focused and enthusiastic (in a quiet kind of way.) She is a natural born leader who works hard to place everyone in roles in which they are able to show their skills and meet each student’s needs in and individual way. Thank you for always being a problem solver, Jill.”
Rachel Hesse, Multi-categorical Teacher – Boltz Middle School
“Rachel excels at building strong, positive relationships with students and their families. She is so thoughtful and considerate with her words, always responding as an advocate for the student. Rachel is also a team player. In moments of need, she is always the first person to volunteer to help out her colleagues with paperwork, services, or holding meetings on their behalf. She is also a great problem solver, identifying needs and coming up with realistic and actionable solutions. I appreciate her experience, knowledge, and energy she brings to the team.”
Tatiana Lee, Paraprofessional – Beattie Elementary
“Tatiana has been a wonderful team member. She goes above and beyond to meet the needs of all students. During remote learning, Tatiana has found creative ways to engage students. In person, she makes the most of the time she has with students. She cares about the whole student socially, emotionally, and academically; taking the time to get to know them and build a relationship. She is always ready to jump in and help out when needed. We are lucky to have her a part of our team.”
Jessica Loveall, School Psychologist – Laurel Elementary
“Jessica is a very valuable member of our IS team at Laurel. Her commitment to meeting the needs of our students is evident in the time she spends getting to know each student and collaborating with those who work closely with each student. She develops IEP goals and behavior plans that focus on the reasons for the behavior, student strengths and uses their interests for reinforcement. Jessica is readily available when we have questions and when she does not know the answer, she will assist us in finding it. I often will use her as a sounding board for ideas. She is always willing to listen and give her input. It is a joy working with someone of her high professional caliber.”
Jill Savage, Occupational Therapist – Traut, Werner and Preston
“Jill brings such a wealth of knowledge to our program. She is always willing to jump right in where needed, and she has a calm demeanor that helps diffuse challenging student behaviors and situations.” “She is calm and steady in both her work ethic and ability to engage students. She is a true team player and is looked up to by her colleagues. She continually makes herself available and shares her breadth of knowledge around sensory and motor skills with parents, teachers, colleagues, and students. She often goes above and beyond to support students in general education if needed as well.”
Lacy Vannorsdel, Speech Language Pathologist – O’Dea Elementary
“Lacy is a positive light and force of goodness at O’Dea! She juggles a large caseload and is always centering the students’ needs and best interest! Lacy has a heart of gold; she always cultivates a sense of community and team. Lacy is creative, flexible, and an expert in her field! She is always willing to jump in support where she can and share knowledge and positivity with staff and students! Despite everything changing during this pandemic, nothing has changed about the amazing way Lacy cares and works for her students! O’Dea wouldn’t be the same without Lacy Vannorsdel!”
Ian Wells, Multi-categorical Teacher – Rocky Mountain High School
“Ian goes above and beyond every day. Whenever someone on the team needs help, Ian is the first one to offer. He never complains and always has a positive attitude. No matter how challenging a relationship may be with a family or student, Ian is always professional and works hard to solve the issues at hand. He takes his job very seriously and never lets anything fall through the cracks. Ian has no issues asking for helper or clarification when he is unsure on what something is, or how to do something. He values being the best teacher he can be and is always willing to learn and grow.”
Thank you all for your service and dedication to EACH and EVERY student in PSD!
Poudre School District
Sarah Belleau, Director
Power of Possibility
Here in Poudre School District, we want our students to reach their potential and develop skills to thrive in school and in life. November 9-13, 2020 is National School Psychology Week (NSPW), and this year’s theme is “Power of Possibility.” The word “possibility” implies hope, growth, resilience, and renewal. The word “power” implies that things can and will happen. When we focus on what is possible, we have hope that students will grow and thrive and will be empowered to take the action steps necessary to do so.
In these unpredictable times and as we ride the wave of COVID-19, embracing the Power of Possibility is perhaps more important now than ever before. During this year’s NSPW, our school psychologists throughout the district hope to highlight how focusing on possibilities can help lead us to our goals, interests, and growth, even in challenging times.
The Power of Possibility at Home:
There are many ways families can celebrate the power of possibility. As parents and caregivers, you can:
1. Talk to your kids about their strengths and interests. Emphasize that learning and growing require trying new things and that success comes from small steps to a long-term goal
2. Help your children develop positive relationships with peers and adults, and model respectful, caring behaviors with others.
3. Encourage goal setting and mapping out a plan for achieving the goals. Talk with your children about steps they have taken, what worked and what didn’t, and what they might do next.
4. Praise attempts, as well as success, and make sure that you focus on the effort or hard work put into the success.
5. Help your child work through setbacks, or lack of self-confidence, by helping to identify negative thoughts that may suggest concerns about his or her ability to be successful. Help your child realize that setbacks are not permanent or all-encompassing.
More information is available at http://www.nasponline.org
About School Psychologists in Poudre School District:
PSD has 42 School psychologists working in every school and program. They are integral members of school staff who support students’ ability to learn and teachers’ ability to teach. School psychologists apply expertise in mental health, learning, and behavior to help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally by providing direct support to students, such as individualized learning and behavioral assessments to identify students’ strengths and needs, academic and behavioral interventions, counseling, and social skills training. We also consult with teachers, families, and other educators to improve support strategies and school-wide practices and policies. We are in a unique position to ensure students’ success every day, including both small and big accomplishments. More information is available at www.nasponline.org
Let’s celebrate Poudre School District’s three physical therapists: Rachel Collier, Nancy Miller and Anna Siliciano! Our physical therapy team serves students across Poudre School District from early childhood through transition services. As you can imagine, they are working hard every day to meet student needs in our many schools and programs.
Here’s a little information about physical therapy in schools:
- Physical therapy is one of the related services under Part B of IDEA;
- Physical therapy is provided to support the student’s individualized education program (IEP);
- Physical therapists work collaboratively with a student’s IEP team and participate in screening, evaluation, program planning, and intervention;
- As a member of the IEP team, physical therapists design and implement physical therapy interventions—including teaching and training of education personnel and measurement and documentation of progress—to help the student achieve IEP goals;
- Physical therapists assist students in accessing school environments and benefiting from their educational program and can assist students who have Section 504 needs.
When you see one of our physical therapists this month (or anytime), please take a moment to celebrate the work that they do to support students in our schools!
Poudre School District
Please consider nominating a PSD School Psychologist for the 2020 CSSP School Psychologist of the Year. We have some FABULOUS School Psychologists in this district, and this is a wonderful opportunity to recognize them. Information is below. Please note that the deadline for Step 1 has been extended to 10/9/20. Thanks!
The Colorado Society of School Psychologists (CSSP) is currently accepting nominations for the 2020 School Psychologist of the Year. If you would like to nominate an exemplary school psychologist for this honor, please see the guidelines outlined below. Co-workers, supervisors, students, parents, and anyone else who has worked with the nominee in a professional setting may write letters of support. CSSP only considers school psychologists currently working in the school setting. A committee of educational professionals will review all nomination packets submitted. The winner will be announced at the CSSP Fall Conference. Additionally, they will then have the opportunity to be nominated for NASP’s School Psychologist of the Year.
STEP 1- By September 25, 2020: • Nominator will complete a one-page nomination statement describing why the candidate should be considered for this award and complete the contact information attached in this email. In your one-page statement, please give specific examples in any of the following areas: data-based decision making; consultation & collaboration; interventions & instructional support to develop academic skills; interventions & mental health support to develop social & life skills; school-wide practices to promote learning; prevention, crisis prevention & mental health; family-school & community collaboration; diversity in development & learning; research and program evaluation; legal, ethical and professional behavior; performs job in an exemplary manner; earns respect of others; professional memberships and leadership activities.
STEP 2- By October 16, 2020:
• Nominator and/or nominee must collect four, one-page letters of support (one must be from their school(s) of employment) from colleagues, administration, students and/or parents about the candidate’s capabilities with a focus on the domain of school psychology.
• Nominee needs to be a CSSP member and must be a practicing school psychologist in the schools, who spends the majority of his/her time providing direct service to students, teachers, and parents in school settings. Trainers, researchers, or administrators are not eligible for this award.
• Nominee must submit their résumé and/or curriculum vitae, inclusive of any presentations, newsletters and/or publications.
• Nominee must answer the two following essay questions in 1,000 words or less per question. Please include your name and the page number in the header or footer on your résumé and essay questions.
Question 1: Describe one professional accomplishment specifically related to your role as a school psychologist. How has it given you your greatest satisfaction professionally and/or personally?
Question 2: In what ways have you collaborated with and engaged students’ families and community (e.g., school, neighborhoods, agencies, faith-based institutions, etc.) to support student learning and health?
• Nomination materials must follow CSSP guidelines listed above and all documents are due no later than October 16th, 2020.
• Please email nomination statement, nominee résumé, four letters of support, and candidate essay electronically to Leigh Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org
• A panel of peers will review all materials confidentially and determine the top candidate who will be nominated to represent Colorado for School Psychologist of the Year.
I understand I am responsible for submitting a one-page nomination statement and informing the nominee that they must include four one page letters of support addressed to “CSSP and NASP review committee members” and answer the two essay questions in 1,000 words or less.
All materials and questions can be sent to Leigh Williams at email@example.com CSSP Professional Development Program Chair