Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Special Education and Student Services Newsletter for July 3, 2012

Special Education and Student Services Newsletter for July 3, 2012

Another extremely busy week for Special Education and Student Services:

1. Prayers and Sympathy
Prayers and Sympathy for Linda Ziembo and her family on the passing away of her father this week.

2. Summer School
Thank you to all the summer school staff and Mr. Everhard for their help with our summer school special education and at risk programs for the past three weeks.  I have received a number of compliments from our special education parents about how well the programs went and type of offerings this year.  Summer school will end on July 6.

3. Flow Thru and Preschool Entitlement Budgets
Amendments for the 11-12 Flow Thru and Preschool Entitlement Budgets have been submitted into DPI for approval.

12-13 Flow Thru ($440,647) and Preschool Entitlement ($23,525) Budgets have been submitted into DPI for their approval along with copies of assurances that funds will only be used for special education purposes.

4. Self Assessment of Procedural Compliance Training on July 26
This ad hoc committee will meet on Thursday July 26 from 9:00 to 11:00 am at the D.O.  We will be reviewing IEPs for their compliance with a number of areas.  This self-assessment is required of each school district every 5 years. If you are interested, please register with Luanne at the D.O.  Special thank you to Luanne for her help on this project and training.

5. RTI for Identification of Specific Learning Disabilities Training on July 26
We will be implementing this model for the 12-13 school year in our elementary buildings. All school buildings must adopt this model by December 2013.  A training will be held on Thursday July 26 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm at the District Office.  Focus will be on implementation at the elementary level.  Staff from other buildings can still attend to learn more. Title I and Intervention staff are encouraged to attend as well in addition to special education. Please contact Luanne at the D.O. if you plan to attend.

6. Wilson Just Words Training
This will be held on July 30 and 31 at the District Office from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm.  A light breakfast and snacks will be provided.  Lunch will be on your own.  Staff should bring along their Just Words Teacher Kit and/or a Tile Board for the training.  Some teacher kits will be available.  We will have representatives from 2 other school districts (Potosi and Chippewa Falls) in attendance.

There is an additional Just Words training in Chippewa Falls on August 15-16 if you are unable to attend the one on July 30 and 31.

7. Wilson Reading Training
There is a Wilson Reading Training on August 13-15 at CESA 1 in Pewaukee which will be conducted by Katharine Campbell. If interested, please contact Becky in Human Resources.  We have two paraprofessionals from MAMS who will be attending for sure.

8. Elementary Special Education Teacher Position (Wagner)
Cathy Venzke has been offered and accepted the Elementary Special Education Teacher Position (Wagner) for the 12-13 school year pending Board of Education approval in July. Cathy would be hired as a Teacher of Record which will allow her to complete her student teaching requirements while maintaining some teacher responsibilities for 1st semester and then completely starting 2nd semester. Cathy will be able to work part time at MAES (afternoons) and at MASH (mornings) for 1st semester throughout the 18 weeks.

Congratulations to Cathy on this achievement and her new position!

9. Speech Language Assessment of ELL Students
The new Speech and Language Assessment for Linguistically Culturally Diverse: Spanish Speaking Students Technical Assistance Guide (July 2012) can be found at http://www.dpi.state.wi.us/sped/pdf/sl-lcd-spanish-speaking.pdf

10. ELL Testing Update
From WITESOL: Newcomers to the USA are exempt from the reading portion of WKCE for 1 year, but they are required to take the math and other parts (can have translated questions, or have it read or translated into Spanish.  They are required to take the ACCESS for ELLs which is the English proficiency test.  many districts also use the MAPs or other tests, and again we exempted them from the reading part for one year but not the math.  There are Spanish versions of many assessments, if the student can read spanish.  The WI DPI has a list of accommodations for testing on the website, which is helpful to see who needs to take what. The link is: http://dpi.wi.gov/oea/pdf/accomell.pdf

Thank you to SES teacher/ELL certified teacher Lisa Vanusek for this information.

11. Seclusion and Restraint Training Grant:
We will be applying for an Appropriate Use of Seclusion and Physical Restraint Grant through DPI.

2011 Wis. Act 125, which addresses the use of seclusion and physical restraint in public schools, was signed by Governor Walker on March 19, 2012. The Act takes effect on September 1, 2012. The Act applies to both regular and special education students and governs the use seclusion or physical restraint. Approximately $500,000 of IDEA discretionary funding has been allocated to assist districts in meeting the training requirements, specifically to train at least one staff member per school. This funding will be available one-time only, during the 2012-13 fiscal year, to supplement the cost of training staff in seclusion and restraint. DPI projects to allocate $224 per school in a district.

We will be required to submit assurances of appropriate use and the staff who were trained and on what date. More grant information is available at: http://www.dpi.wi.gov/sped/grt_disc.html 

12. Seclusion and Physical Restraint Requirements
There will be new training requirements of staff and reporting requirements for building administration on the Appropriate Use of Seclusion and Physical Restraint. Here is a link to that information: http://dpi.wi.gov/sped/sbseclusion.html. I have worked in collaboration with Don Everhard over the past four years to hold similar type trainings for staff. 

13. Diagnostic Special Education Program Support Teacher Position
The Diagnostic Special Education Program Support Teacher job description has been written.  This position was posted both internally and externally today and will close on July 20.  Interviews will be scheduled for August 2nd.  A person would then be offered the position and their name submitted to the Board of Education for their approval at the August meeting.  This position will teach for 1/2 the day and support our IEP/Evaluation Procedures for the other half.

14. Autism Resource at MAMS
We will be able to align certified staff schedule in 12-13 to allocate for increased autism resource room support for our students on the autism spectrum.  This is possible due to the addition of the part time Diagnostic Special Education Program Support Teacher and transfer of an assistant position to MAMS.

15. Reading Mastery Signature Series
We will be scheduling Reading Mastery Signature Series curriculum work time in July or August to better help teach this curriculum for some students with cognitive and learning disabilities at the high school level in 12-13.

16. Developing Inclusive College Opportunities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities
There will this workshop held on July 25th, 2012 from 12:30-2:30 at the Westwood Conference Center.  We will have a high school special education teacher and guidance counselor represent the school district. There is no cost to attend this conference.

17. Daily Living and EBD Social Skills High School Classes for 12-13
New Daily Living and EBD Social Skills classes will be offered at MASH in 12-13 for students to enroll in. Nikki Gripentrog and Beth van der Berg worked on developing the Daily Living curriculum in the past week.

18. High School Special Education Classes in 12-13
High School Special Education Classes have been tentatively scheduled for certified and support staff in 12-13. Mrs. Lybert, Kathy Strebig, and I worked on this schedule last week.  Contact the high school to see what classes staff will be teaching in 12-13.

19. Annual Notice for Homeless Student Identification and Services
I serve as the Homeless Student Liaison for the school district. The Annual Notice for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth was worked on this week and will be sent out to families.

20. Facebook Photos
Lots of cute photos from our summer school special education programs and Luanne Olson's new twin grandbabies are on our facebook page! http://www.facebook.com/pages/Medford-Area-Public-School-District-Special-Education-and-Student-Services/120488408019562

21. iPad Curriculum Time for Early Education
Pre-Kindergarten and Early Childhood Special Education staff worked on their curriculum alignment with applications earlier today. 

22. Out of District
I am planning to be out of district from July 7 through July 20.  I will try check my email and/or you can call or text me at 715-560-0171 with any questions/information during that time if needed.

23. Dr. Glenis Benson
I have been in contact with Dr. Glenis Benson about holding a training on "Autism Spectrum Disorders: Rethinking Behavioral Challenges" here in Medford.  For the past several summers we have held a day long training on Autism Spectrum Disorders/Behaviors including the TEACCH model and FBA/BIP training for example.  Dr. Benson is highly respected and has years of experience working with students on the spectrum. She recently held this training in Stevens Point but interested staff were unavailable to attend.  I have been in contact with her about the possibility of August 10.  I am awaiting to hear back from her. 

24. Caseloads for 12-13
I will try to finish up division of caseloads of students in special education prior to the end of the week and submit to staff so they can plan accordingly.  With the hiring of Cathy Venzke and the Program Support Teacher positions, the alignment of certified staff can better be done at MAES and MAMS.

25. Taylor County Literacy Council
I met this week with Cindy Gibson and Sue King about the Taylor County Literacy Council.  We now have a Literacy Center open 8 hours per week to support adults/parents who might need support in reading, job, math, computer, ELL, or other literacy needs.  Brian Wilson from Star News interviewed the three of us for an upcoming newspaper article.  

26. Summer School Support at MASH
I may have to transfer an existing summer school support person or a high school student to MASH for August 13-24 to support our CDS/Autism program to replace Linda Z.  If you have an interest, please let me know.

27. Alternate Achievement Standards: The Common Core Essential Elements
In June 2010, Wisconsin adopted the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics, including the literacy in History, Social Studies, Science and the Technical subjects, for all students. These standards define K-12 academic standards which are aligned with college and work expectations, include rigorous content and application, and are internationally benchmarked. Additionally, the Common Core State Standards emphasize literacy in all of the disciplines. For all students to be career and college ready, including students with significant cognitive disabilities, educators should include both the content and the reading and writing skills that students need to demonstrate learning in the other disciplinary areas.

All students, including students with significant cognitive disabilities, deserve and have a right to a quality educational experience. This right includes, to the maximum extent possible, the opportunity to be involved in and meet the same challenging expectations that have been established for all students. Wisconsin educators collaborated with educators from 12 other states to create alternate achievement standards aligned to the Common Core State Standards. These alternate achievement standards are called the Common Core Essential Elements (CCEEs) in English Language Arts and Mathematics. The CCEEs were developed to satisfy the requirement of the U.S. Department of Education that Wisconsin have alternate achievement standards for its students with significant cognitive disabilities that are clearly linked to grade-level academic content standards, promote access to the general curriculum and reflect professional judgment of the highest expectation possible.These new standards will replace the current Extended Grade Band Standards and will be used as the basis for a new alternate assessment, which will replace the current Wisconsin Alternate Assessment for Students with Disabilities (WAA-SwD) in 2014-15.

These Common Core Essential Elements will be the basis for the new Alternate Assessment for Students with Significant Disabilities starting in the 2014-15 school year.  We will start to review these elements and learning how to incorporate these into our curriculums and IEP goals/objectives starting with the upcoming 12-13 school year.  The Common Core Essential Elements for English Language Arts and Mathematics along with much further information is located at this website link: http://www.dpi.wi.gov/sped/assmt-ccee.html.

Staff were sent an email attachment with the new Common Core Essential Elements.  Contact me if you would like this sent to you.

28. Annie
Congratulations to all the students and staff who participated in the play Annie this past week.  Great performances all around!

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