Friday, May 27, 2011

Projected Support Staff Needs

Projected Assistants needed for 11-12:
Grade K-4 CC: 1.0 full time and .5 half time (AM)
Pre-Kindergarten: .5 assistant
(maintain current staffing as 10-11)
Grade 4 CC and 2-4 Severe Autism: One full time (Phillip) and one 4 hour assistant (Scott/Austin)
Grade 3 CC and 2-4 CDS: 2 full time assistants (Jason, Cassie, and Paula)
Grade 2 CC and 2-4 EBD: 2 full time assistants (Connor, Connor, and William)
(10-11 = we currently have 3 assistants in 2-4.  11-12 = 5.5 assistants are needed.  This would mean adding 2.5 assistants)  
Grade K-1 CC: 2 full time assistants
(maintain current number of 2 assistants supported by 2.5 special education teachers)  
Early Childhood:
Pre-Kindergarten/Preschool Options: 3 assistants
Early Childhood: .5 assistant
(transfer .5 assistant to EC from MASH CDS)
Grade 5: 1 assistant
Grade 6: 1 assistant
Grade 7: .5 assistant
Grade 8: 2.5 assistants
Grade 5-8: 1 Health Assistant
(maintain existing support staff numbers)
Grade 9-12 CDS/Autism: 2.0 FTE assistant time
Grade 9-12 CC: 2.5 assistants
Grade 10 OHI: 1.0 assistant/teacher
Grade 11 TBI: 1.0 assistant
(add 1.0 teacher or add 1.0 assistant due to needs in Grade 10)

Alternative HS Education Student Graduation Speech

Alternative High School Student Graduation Speech
Jim Lyon, a student at our Alternative High School, was selected to give a commencement speech at the NTC Graduation. Here is the YouTube link to his speech:

Transition Advisory Council

Taylor County Transition Advisory Council will meet on Thursday June 2nd at 12:00 at the DO

Email today from a 5th Grade Teacher

You know you touch the lives of students when your student makes you cupcakes with Miss Sam, he brings you flowers from him and his family, and gives you a hug saying he loves you. What a beautiful day. . .I now have tears in my eyes, just wanted to share this wonderful moment and thank you for 5th grade and for putting the special ed kids in my classes.


Dan Miller, Don Everhard, Richelle Woller, and Sue Eloranta attended a PBIS workshop on Thursday May 26. I would like to thank each of them for their extra work and time this year in getting started this initiative which has the potential to help all students be successful in school and in life.

Graduation Recognition

Excellent night at our Alternative HS Graduation on Thursday May 26. Looking forward to our Medford Senior High School Graduation tonight. Congratulations to our graduating students. Sincere thank you to their current and former staff who helped these students reach their goal of high school graduation. Your work at the early education, elementary, middle, and high school levels does make a difference.

Thank you to our retirees and those leaving the district

I wish our retirees and those leaving the district nothing but the best, and wish them the best in their future endeavors. We are losing great people in Karen Lach, Karen Baka, John Thurmeier, Michelle Danen, Cathy Peissig, Oralee Dittrich, and Erin Stendahl. They have all made a positive and significant impact on our students and their peers. We will be forever grateful.

NTC HSED Contract

NTC HSED Meeting
Cindy Gibson and I will be meeting with NTC representative Dan Nowak on Wednesday June 1 to review and sign the HSED contract with NTC for 11-12. This collaboration agreement saves the school district approximately $30,000 each school year.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Autism Story

Autism Story that was forwarded to me from Mr. Everhard
Kristine Barnett won't soon forget the "most devastating day in the life" of her son.

Jacob, called "Jake," her then 3-year-old, had recently stopped talking and had been diagnosed with autism. One day, she dropped him off at a gymnastics class, and, when she returned to pick him up, Barnett, 36, says she found all the other students sitting in a circle, while Jake was curled up and cowering in a corner.

"It was the day I knew Jake would never do sports or be like other kids later in life," the day care provider and mother of four tells ParentDish. "My heart broke, thinking he would be trapped inside this forever and never be able to talk to us."

But today, 12-year-old Jake is studying electromagnetic physics at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and has an IQ of 170, higher than that of Albert Einstein. And he's astounding university professors by developing his own theory of relativity -- they're lining him up for a Ph.D research role, Barnett, of Noblesville, Ind., says.

When Jake was 8, he jumped from fifth grade to college after teaching himself all the high school math classes -- calculus, algebra, geometry and trigonometry -- in one week and testing at college-level mathematics, Barnett recalls.

Recently, the boy has embarked on his own expanded version of Einstein's theory of relativity. Barnett sent a video of his theory to the renowned Institute for Advanced Study near Princeton University.

She tells ParentDish she fears that because Jake "learns differently than traditional students," he will become bored with university-level courses and says she hopes "someone will take him on as an apprentice."

Barnett, married to Michael Barnett, a store manager for T-Mobile, says she drives her pre-teen son 50 minutes each way to the university. He calls her from his cell when it's time to pick him up at the end of the school day.

"We knew he was gifted, but we never realized to what a degree," she tells ParentDish.

Jake's classmates also marvel at the scrawny little kid in the front row of the calculus-based physics class he's taking this semester, the Indianapolis Star reports.

"When I first walked in and saw him, I thought, 'Oh, my God, I'm going to school with Doogie Howser,' " Wanda Anderson, a biochemistry major at IUPU, tells the newspaper.

Barnett says the journey has not been an easy one.

By the time Jake was 1 1/2, he was reciting the alphabet backwards and forwards and calculating the volume of his cereal box in his head, she tells ParentDish.

But soon after, at 18 months, she says he completely stopped talking and withdrew emotionally. A battery of physicians diagnosed him with autism, and later Asperger's syndrome.

Barnett says it was then that the family settled on a mission: "to help our son and to help other kids like him." The Barnetts held a small fundraiser in a friend's garage and founded

The Barnetts and MyJacobsPlace supporters have turned a dilapidated building into a recreation center, where children with autism and their families gather for movie nights, parent support groups, social gatherings and other events. The foundation has helped hundreds of families across Indiana and Ohio through its awareness and sports programs.

"We were so afraid Jake would be withdrawn from us forever, and so we set out to find out what was the spark that could light him up," Barnett recalls.

For Jake, that spark turned out to be astronomy. As a 3-year-old, Barnett says, he loved looking at books about stars, and so the family spent a lot of time at a nearby observatory and planetarium.

"He could teach himself to read, but couldn't answer a simple question like 'What did you do today?" she says. "But he loved the planetarium and astronomy, so I knew I had to figure out how to build on that. I called the university and practically begged a professor to let Jake audit a class and sit in the back. I was so afraid that he would lose himself in the autism. I was desperate."

That determination paid off.

So far, Jake is the only member of his immediate family to have these rare abilities, Barnett says.

"But my family and my husband's extended family all are quirky," she tells ParentDish. "My grandpa was an inventor and my sister was a child artistic prodigy, and everyone is entrepreneurial on my side of the family. We've never had normal desk jobs."

Looking ahead, Barnett says she doesn't know what the future holds for Jake, but she has learned some valuable lessons for other parents when it comes to focusing on "what your child can do, instead of what people tell you he can't."

"I'm thankful that Jake has become the person he is and feel that, for all children with autism, we need to find the place where there is a little spark inside them," Barnett says. "If we had listened to all the people that told us our son would always be in special ed, and would probably never escape the isolation of autism, how sad would that be?"

Friday, May 20, 2011

Twitter for Special Education and Student Services

You can follow our Special Education and Student Services programs and up to date news on educational technology, current events, educational updates, applications, iPads, and more on Twitter at @Joseph_Greget

Thursday, May 19, 2011

WI DPI Guidance on RTI and Frequently Asked Questions

New DPI Guidance on Response to Intervention from May 2011

1. What is RtI?
2. Why are schools and districts interested in RtI?
3. What is DPI's framework for RtI in Wisconsin?
4. How will DPI support districts implementing RtI?
5. What resources are available to help districts?
6. What is DPI's policy on assessment tools used as part of an RtI system?
7. Were do running records belong within a balanced assessment system?  Are they a formative or benchmark assessment?
8. How do students with IEP's "fit into" an RtI system?
9. What role can special education teachers play in the implementation of RtI?
10. What role can speech and language pathologists play in the implementation of RtI?
11. What role can special education paraprofessionals play in the implementation of RtI?
12. Is the implementation of RtI mandatory in Wisconsin schools?
13. Will all districts have to implement a comprehensive RtI system in order to apply the new SLD eligibility criteria?
14. Can a district wait to act on a special education referral until staff have had a chance to implement interventions?
15. Can IEP teams consider RtI data when evaluating students for impairments other than SLD?

With a new Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) rule that requires the analysis of data following intensive intervention, district and school staff have questions regarding the relationship between the new SLD rule and the state’s concurrent emphasis on a school-wide system’s approach to Response to Intervention (RtI).  Although districts are encouraged to fully implement a RtI framework, RtI, as articulated by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), is not required.

These documents from Wisconsin's Department of Public Instruction are designed to help schools prepare for implementing the new SLD rule, and to answer questions about it's relationship with RtI.

WI-RtI Brief:Specific Learning Disabilities Rule Implementation and RtI, Some Clarifications

Wisconsin SLD Rule: Guiding Questions for Self-Assessing Readiness for Implementation

WI- RTI Resources & Tools: Wisconsin’s Response to Intervention (RtI) Framework Bridged with the 2013 Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) Rule

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Special Education Support at Concerts

Support staff can put time down on their time card if they attend a concert to help support a high needs special education student.  Certified staff would complete a stipend pay sheet for same situation. This would be for concerts like the POPS concert on Wednesday night at MASH.

Autism: Interventions and Strategies for Success

TEACCH Training

TEACCH training from 9:00 to 1:00 on Thursday August 4 at DO conducted by Mandy Jensen Autism Consultant from CESA 7.

Board Maker Training

Boardmaker training from 1-5 on Thurs Aug 4th at MAES conducted by Ann Jochimsen and Caroline Radlinger

Kurzweil and Dragon Naturally Speaking Training

Kurzweil training on Tuesday August 2nd from 8-12 at MASH and Dragon 12:30-2:30 conducted by Caroline Radlinger

Youth Risk Behavior Survey

YRBS will be administered to all Grade 7 to 12 students including special education and alternative high school students on May 19.  Contact Patty Krug from Health Department for more information.


RTI for English Language Learners: Appropriately Using Screening and Progress Monitoring Tools to Improve Instructional Outcomes

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Staffing Alignment (Projected) for 11-12

Read 180 at MASH
Nicole Gripentrog will be teaching Read 180 at MASH for special education students in 11-12.

Expert 21 at MASH
Shari Gajewski will be teaching Read 180 at MASH for special education students in 11-12

MAMS Certified Staffing Alignment (Projected)
Grade 5 CC = Julie Kakes
Grade 6 CC = Rebecca Gauthier and Ryan Brown
Grade 7 CC = Carol Wieman
Grade 8 CC = Jill Chasteen
Grade 7 and 8 CC = Sue Laher
Grade 5 to 8 EBD = Jan Farmer

MAMS Paraprofessional Alignment (Projected)
Grade 5 = Tammy Lange (AM) and Brenda Kraegenbrink (PM)
Grade 6 = Candy Lindow
Grade 7 = Gloria Lindahl
Grade 8 = Julie Scott, Brenda Kraegenbrink (AM), and Tammy Lange (PM)
Grade 5 to 8 = Sam Henrichs

MAES Certified Staff Alignment (Projected)
Early Childhood = 1.0 Special Education Teacher
Kindergarten to Grade 1 = 2.5 Special Education Teachers
Grade 2 to 4 = 3.5 Special Education Teachers

Early Childhood = Amber Fettes
K-1 LD and K-2 RTI = Marla Hemke
K-1 Resource = New Hire
Grade 2 CC and Grade 2-4 EBD = Misty Galli
Grade 3 CC and PK-4 PBIS = Richelle Woller
Grade 3 CC and Grade 2-4 CDS = Monica De Groot
Grade 4 CC and Grade 2-4 Autism Severe = Kathleen Schumacher

MAES and SES Paraprofessional Alignment (Projected)
Teacher: Amber Fettes
EC and Pre-K = Kari Dahlby, Nancy Higgins, and Vanessa Brandner

Teacher: New Hire
Kindergarten = Tammy Damm
Grade 1 = Teresa Gardner

Teacher: Misty Galli
Lori Buehler (AM)/Jessica Sherfield (PM)

Teachers: Monica De Groot and Richelle Woller
Jessica Sherfield (AM)/Lori Buehler (PM)

Teacher: Kathleen Schumacher
Kathy Nassious and Joanie Pfaff

SES Teacher: Kris Brandner
Sue Smith and Marsha Duellman

Grade 2 Evidence Based Practice in Reading

We will be starting Wilson Reading in addition to Reading Mastery curriculum for students with disabilities in Grade 2 starting in 11-12.

Summer Trainings for Special Education

I am tentatively looking at August 1 to 4 to hold summer trainings for special education.  TEACCH is already scheduled for 9:00 to 1:00 on August 4.  We will also look at Boardmaker/Writing with Symbols, Kurzweil, iPad Curriculum Development, and other training topics during that week.  Official dates and times to come. 

School Business at MASH

From FACE teacher Erin Stendal with further possible ideas about our special education student business:
“I use to run a "Kookies for Kids" program at one of my schools that we took orders and sold Christmas cookies. All our profits we bought toys for students in our district that wouldn't of gotten presents.

There are also other ideas where the students could make things and sell. Even if it is some type of sewing / hand crafted project. That same school I was in started a school business in the special education department.

They call it Patchwork Enterprises. I also have the list of stuff that they sell. If you are interested in that I can pass it on.

It is an opportunity that allows students to practice, in a classroom setting, the work skills and behaviors needed to maintain successful employment in the “real world”.
Students learn important life skills while running a small business.
     Students Learn and Practice:
• Meeting performance and attendance standards
• Punctuality
• Proper grooming
• Safety
• Safe food handling practices
• Customer Service Skills
• Cashiering Skills
• Working cooperatively with others
• Communication skills
Money generated from the business is used to fund materials and equipment necessary to maintain or improve the program.”

Math Curriculum

We will be exploring a new pullout math curriculum for students with disabilities at MAES and SES over the summer. 

We are exploring potential of Compass Odyssey as Math Remediation for students with disabilites, gifted and talented, and all students at MAMS.  Compass is based on NWEA alignment.  We will be exploring double blocks of math instruction for students with disabilities for Saxon Math and Vmath or Vmath Live for MAMS in 11-12.

Our test scores and needs of students are driving this process.  

Spelling Mastery

Spelling Mastery curriculum will be used at MAES special education in 11-12 for Grades 2 to 4.  Staff should plan accordingly for which students will need this program.

Summer School Special Education

Summer School registration began on Saturday May 7 through Family Access.  If you are running a summer school special education program, remind your families of registration.  You should also promote this to your families as much as possible as many of our families don’t have computer access. 

Autism Trainings on May 17

Reminder to register with Luanne Olson at 715-748-4620 ext 534 or email if you plan on attending either or both of the upcoming Autism Alert Inc trainings on:

Autism Training for First Responders
10:00 to 3:00 (with an hour lunch)
Tuesday May 17
MASH Red and White Theatre

Autism Training for Caregivers
4:00 to 6:00
Tuesday May 17
MASH Red and White Theatre

VSA Day for 2011

VSA Day at Camp Randall set for Oct. 15, 2011. We will use special education funds to budget this trip for our special needs students and band students for this trip.  Thanks to Brenda Ann McNary and Carol Wieman for helping organize this event for our middle and high school students again.

Special Needs Scholarship State Law

2011 AB-110 was introduced into the assembly, and referred to the assembly education committee.  Assembly Bill 110 would give vouchers to parents of children with special needs that they could use to attend a private school, which could impact local budgets and special education categorical aid.  The bill is modeled after legislation passed in Florida and Ohio.  A hearing was held on May 3rd .  The text of the bill can be found at    Coverage of the hearing from diverse views can be found by googling WI special needs scholarship hearing.

Audiology Services

We will be using Melinda Brahmer from Betting Hearing and Audiology Services for Audiology Services in 11-12.  We will still contract through CESA 10 for these services to help with liability coverage. We will be charged $1,500 for these services which is decrease from the original $8,600 that CESA was going to charge.  This is anticipated savings of $7,100.

Autism Resource Team

Our Autism Resource Team meetings will be held on a monthly basis starting in September.  These will be EC to Grade 12 team of staff.  These will be similar in format to our autism committee meetings held last year, but more expansive in terms to autism trainings, services for students, worktime, functional behavioral assessments, and sharing of resources. Thank you to staff who have asked to be on this team.

Wraparound Services

We will be starting Wraparound Services meetings at our elementary level on a monthly basis starting in 11-12. The purpose of these meetings are to collaborate with special education staff, student services staff, building administration, mental health counselor (Northwest Passage), Director of Student Services, human services, and/or community providers as appropriate.  We will discuss individual students that need or could use these services, sharing of ideas, discuss continuum of service options, trainings, and more. Students with significant behaviors, mental health issues, autism, or other significant disabilities will be purpose of discussion.

Outpatient Services in the Schools

May 19 at 1:00 pm at the District Office.  Administrator and Mental Health Services Counselor will be in attendance to lay out the format of the program and services here in Medford.  Select staff will be invited to attend.  After-school training will all staff will be invited at later time.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Weekly Special Education and Student Services Newsletter

Special Education and Student Services Newsletter for Week of May 9
Special Education Dance
We had a great turnout and fun for our special education students in Grades 7 to 12 on Friday.  Students danced, dressed up in costumes, saw magic tricks by Don Houdoni, played plinko, played cards, ate popcorn and drank punch, visited with current friends and former staff, and laughed and had a good time.  Pictures are posted on our Special Education Facebook page. We plan to do again in the 11-12 school year.
Prayers and Sympathy
Prayers and sympathy for the family, friends, and former staff of Mike Kiselicka who passed away on Monday as a victim of suicide. Mike was a former Alternative High School Student who currently worked at Black River Industries.  Mike leaves behind a young son.
Thank you for all that you provide all of our students especially those with disabilities and at-risk students who have continued learning, emotional, and social needs.  They need and benefit from each of our staff providing them encouragement, love, and support.  Continue to deposit them each day with your teaching and support building them up more and more.
I have attached our suicide prevention resources for use as appropriate.
Outpatient Services in Schools Referral Packet
We have received copies of the referral packets from Northwest Passage who would provide outpatient mental health services in the schools.  I will send a copy of a packet to each of the following building representatives:
SES = Don Everhard
MAES = Misty Galli
MAMS = Jessica Martin
MASH = Nathan Bluhm
Alternative HS = Cindy Gibson
The packet should be filled out with the parent in collaboration with the student’s case manager, and building school psychologist and/or EBD teacher.
Special Education School Business
One of my goals for our high school special education program is that we start a school business.  I would like to start this within 2 years.  Here is a link to an article for an example of how some schools started a business:
FACE teacher Erin Stendahl has forwarded to me a number of resources and ideas to start this program.  More information and planning will be forthcoming.
Our trial period with the SMART table will begin when it is delivered on either May 10 or May 11.
Letters of Reference
I have had multiple staff in the past two weeks ask me for a letter of reference.  Please let me know if you will need one.  This will be done on letterhead and can be addressed for specific school district or a general one to use for any district.
MAMS Building Special Education Meeting
May 9 at 3:20 in the computer lab at MAMS
Child Outcomes
School districts will be required to report on Child Outcomes for all early education students with disabilities.  Sheryl, Eliza, Amber, and Luanne will be attending a conference on Tuesday May 10th to learn more about the requirements.
TEACCH Training
TEACCH training will be held on August 4 from 9:00 to 1:00 at the District Office.  CESA 7 Autism Consultant Mandy Jensen will do the training.
Autism Trainings on May 17
Reminder to register with Luanne Olson for the Autism Trainings for First Responders from 10:00 to 3:00 or the Autism Training for Caregivers/Educators/Parents from 4:00 to 6:00 pm.  CLC will be available to provide child care for those in attendance at the training from 4:00 to 6:00.
Special Education Alignment
It is challenging to align 11-12 special education certified and support staff with the number of staff retiring, leaving the professional, unfilled positions, and looking for new positions.  I will attempt to align best I can with current projections of staffing and students by Friday May 6 for elementary and Monday May 9 for middle school.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Prayers for families of 9/11 and Respect for Military

Prayers for the families and friends of those who lost loved ones in 9/11 and in the war since then. May you have some peace tonight. Respect also to the military fighting for and protecting our great country. Osama Bin Laden was killed in an attack last week and the US has his body.

Read Write and Gold Training in Medford

Our Read Write and Gold training will not be held on Tuesday and rescheduled for this summer. This will allow more staff to attend. This program can read text to students and be placed on all computers in a building.

Parent Panel at Autism Training

Autism Alert Inc and I are looking for several parents of children with autism to speak as part of a panel at our Autism Training for First Responders on May 17. If you are interested, please let me know.


Club DART is our new club at MASH for students in special education. We meet during homeroom on a weekly basis. Nicole Gripentrog and Oralee Dittrich are the cooperating teachers.