Bacon Elementary taking to the streets.

Spending time outside of the classroom is a great way for students to practice soft skills. The time away allows students to interact with people in the community, by means of purposeful field trips. Through a Community Based Education Grant, Integrated Service teacher Jake Neufeld has mapped out a year full of trips to places like the grocery store, Target, Michaels and even bowling.

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

Jon Davenport

At Zach Elementary you will find Integrated Services teacher, Jon Davenport. With multiple education degrees, including psychology, special education and administration, Dr. Davenport brings his talents to the students at Zach Elementary where he supports students in realizing success.
In Dr. Davenport’s words “My favorite (part of this job) is working with students and celebrating their growth and progress…. celebrating with parents, celebrating with classroom teachers and the rest of the team. There is nothing better than sharing growth with last year’s teachers.”
Go green and gold!DSC_0070DSC_0076DSC_0071

Unified Basketball is back.

Last week kicked off the Special Olympics Unified Basketball season. Click here for 2016 season schedule.


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

Inclusion and what that means.

Rice Elementary School

As inclusion week wraps up its good to think through what inclusion means to you. Inclusion is not limited to schools, but it is generally where we devote the most time and energy. By definition, inclusion is the act of including or the state of being included. That’s a pretty subjective standard. Poudre School District staff and students were asked what inclusion means to them. Here are some of their answers:

  • To me, inclusion means that every student is thoughtfully planned for, purposeful in their environments, and valued as a part of the community. I also believe that inclusion can be felt, like a warm fuzzy hug – you know when you walk into an environment where ALL students are active and meaningful in what they are doing.
  • Giving each student what they need so that they can learn together.
  • Teaching students that it is okay to be different and to be themselves.
  • Truly supporting students in the least restrictive environment.
  • Helping to develop self-advocacy and disability advocacy skills.
  • Making friends.
  • Being exposed to lots of things I can be good at.
  • Not judging people based on what they can or can’t do.
  • Working with everyone no matter their abilities and forming friendships with all groups.
  • I love to be with my friends and to communicate with each other.
  • Coexisting in an environment where everyone is considered equally.
  • Connecting with others seeing their strengths not their challenges.
  • Being included and accepted, treated no different than everyone else.
  • It is an everyday practice. It is truly nothing special at Preston. Inclusion means collaboration. To do it well we have to work closely with peers and staff.
  • Preston does a good job with inclusion. There are not any classes where students are not included. There is not a stigmatism or labeling as different. I don’t even think the kids realize it is happening.

So, what does inclusion look like in a school environment? Laura Osborn

Preston Middle School

from Rice Elementary School explained, “At Rice, students in the ILS program are included in their general education setting as much as possible. While they are not in there the entire day, we make the times that they are in there meaningful. I conference with their general education teachers in order to provide modifications of curriculum when needed, and to provide materials that are appropriate for that student. We send students to class with support so that they can have more direction in the classroom. Our grade level teachers are amazing about setting the tone and culture of their classrooms. They teach their students that everyone is valued, and everyone can contribute. That sets the basis for our students coming in, who may do things a bit differently. Their peers view them as equals, and love to share their successes with us.”

Preston Middle School

Preston Middle School has multi categorical programming, supporting a wide variety of student needs, which allows for a good amount of support from within a general education classroom. “Our goal is to making sure students are viewed by peers positively and that they are able to work to their best ability in class,” shared multi-categorical, Integrated Services teacher, Amy Cesar.

Inclusion is the product of collaboration and hard work on the part of all educators who are involved. Inclusion is made successful by modifications, adaptation and acceptance.

Check out this great read from Renee Ostergren on inclusive competence.

Preston Middle School

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

Mental Health Night at Poudre High School.

In recent days, Poudre School District has suffered unimaginable tragedies when two students took their own lives. An unfortunate fact regarding events like these is the frequency at which stories like this are told. Families and communities are left behind to pick up the pieces and make sense of the heartbreak.

DSC_0089Integrated Services’ social worker Derrick Searle and Poudre High School’s counselor Cassie Poncelow sought to offer support to the whole Fort Collins community. Together their dream came to fruition with The Poudre High School Mental Health Matters Event. Professional presenters from around the community volunteered their time and expertise for the open event. Topics such as “How to Help a Grieving Teen”, “What to Say, When to Say It, How to Say It, and What Not to Say”, “Hurt! How to Identify and Help Those Who Self-Harm”, “Recognizing Signs of Stress and Ways to Help” and “Ask a Therapist” are a few of the workshops that were offered. These workshops offered a unique space for the community to find information and support for a variety of topics.

“Cass took it to a level that I never could have imagined,” Derrick Searle shared about organizing the event with Cassie Poncelow. The event was the combined effort of 2 programs, Counseling and Social Work, that don’t often intersect. The event was made possible by Poudre High School staff and students who volunteered, as well as the numerous mental health professionals who selflessly offered their time. “Mental health is a huge concern for the adolescents in the community and there are a lot of adults that want to contribute,” Poncelow says.

Student Ambassador, Ayushi, chose to participate in the event because DSC_0093she understands the stress and pressure of being a teenager. The student leaders that make up PHS Ambassadors are a trained group who provide underclassman resources and support with whatever they are going through. The group tackles hard topics such as managing stress, sexual assault prevention and teen dating violence. “I love that instead of it just being a conversation for my age group, it is open to the community to help and hopefully alleviate some of the stigma that goes with mental illness,” says Ayushi regarding the event.

The Poudre High School Mental Health Matters event created a platform to start conversations that will hopefully produce a healthier community. It was a place where a father from the same neighborhood that lost a child to tragedy, was able to come and find words to share with his own children struggling to make sense of something that doesn’t make sense.


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