Saturday, November 3, 2012

Special Education and Student Services Newsletter for October 24, 2012

Special Education and Student Services Newsletter for October 24, 2012

October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month

We have added many features to our services for students with learning disabilities in the past 5 years. These services would not be possible with Board of Education, Administrative, Teacher, and Parent support. Thank you to all of the stakeholders for making these a reality for our students. Here are just some of the new services added in the last 5 years: 
  • RTI for Identification of Students with Specific Learning Disabilities
  • WIlson Language - Wilson Reading, Just Words, and Fundations
  • Wilson Reading Professional Development - Level II, Level I, and ongoing Wilson Workshops
  • Wilson Fundations Certified Presentors
  • Wilson Academy online support for staff
  • Reading Assistant (fluency) Program in each building
  • Read 180 at MAMS and MASH
  • Read Write and Gold - MAMS sped computers and home versions
  • Kurzweil stations
  • Learning Ally - books on tape subscriptions
  • Bookshare subscriptions
  • Unlocking the Mystery of Dyslexia - Dr Reuter and Dr Messerly presentation
  • Audiobooks/MP3 players for books in MAMS library
  • Read Naturally at SES Special Ed
  • Richard Lavoie Video Series on LD
  • Taylor County Literacy Council
  • Title I Teacher at MAMS
  • Adult Literacy Classes through CLC
  • Family Reading Night at MAES and SES
  • Updated Reading Mastery Signature Series curriculum
  • Corrective Reading Decoding Strand
  • RTI Medford School District Website
The combination of our new programming/services coupled with existing measures such as Title I services at MAES and SES, Medford READS, Foster Grandparent, Grandma Readers, Remediation Assistants, Special Education and 504 Services, and early intervention (ECSE, Pre-K, and K-2) all help provide tiered levels of supports for our students.  

Attendant Care Services
For parts of the past three school years - the Medford Area Public School District Special Education Staff have been completing Attendant Care Services billing under Medicaid with parent permission.  We obtain parent signatures and talk to them about why this is important. It also takes staff extra time to complete the Attendant Care Services billing forms.  Luanne Olson has been instrumental in working with parents and staff to obtain the permission and receive the attendant care sheets.  

There are currently 25 students that need Attendant Care Services in our school district.  This number alone shows how many severe students with disabilities that we have in our school district.  It takes extraordinary staff and administrative support in helping meet  the ongoing needs of each and all of these students.

Attendant Care Services include a range of human assistance provided to students with a disability and/or chronic condition. The assistance enables them to accomplish tasks in the educational setting that they would normally do for themselves if they did not have a disability or chronic condition. Assistance may be in the form of hands-on assistance (i.e. actually performing an attendant care task for the student) or cuing the student so that he or she performs the task by himself or herself. Such assistance most often relates to performance of activities of daily living (ADLs) (Wisconsin Only).

In these economic hard times the more funding which school districts can receive, the better we are to help us maintain special education staffing levels and supports for individual and groups of  students, obtain needed supplies, and and acquire resources.  I would like to express thank you to Luanne Olson, the staff, and parents for their work in this area.  We were one of the first school districts to bill for Attendant Care Services and it has allowed us to obtain extra funding for our special education. We have obtained approximately $250,000 ($35,539 in 09-10; $103,403 in 10-11; and $96,384 in 11-12) in extra revenue since the 2009-10 school year.

Ad Hoc Committee of Procedural Compliance Self Assessment
Thank you to all the staff who has participated thus far in our Procedural Compliance of Self-Assessment in Special Education.  We will be convening our Ad Hoc Committee which includes parent representatives and staff.  The Ad Hoc Committee will have three purposes for meeting as outlined below.  Staff are invited to attend this meeting to help us continue with this process.  The PCSA online Report and Corrective Action Plan needs to be submitted into DPI by November 16.

When: Wednesday October 31
Time: 4:00 to 5:00 pm
Where: Medford Area Public School District Office

1. Review Procedural Compliance Self Assessment Timeline of Activities for 12-13
2. Review our Procedural Compliance Self Assessment Findings for Evaluation, IEP, and Discipline
3. Discuss Corrective Action Plan activities and implementation schedule

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month
Listed are recommended resources on Down Syndrome:

"If People with Down Syndrome Ruled the World" -

Teaching Students with Down Syndrome

Transition Night
Reminder to have any parents, students, and staff who are interested in attending our first ever Transition Night to register with Luanne Olson at 715-748-4620 ext 534.  Transition Night will help educate parents an students about transition resources during and after high school. Any current or former student with an IEP or 504 plan are invited to attend.

There will be a spaghetti dinner served for all those in attendance. We are less than 3 weeks away from Transition Night which will be on Monday November 5 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at MASH.  Thank you to the Taylor County Transition Advisory Council for organizing this event! Medford Morning Rotary Club will be sponsoring the dinner!
Demystifying Special Education in Charter Schools

Comprehensive List of Visuals and Social Stories

Wisconsin Alternate Assessment
The Wisconsin Alternate Assessment for Students with Disabilities (WAA-SwD) is administered to any student with significant cognitive disabilities when the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team determines that the student is unable to participate in the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination (WKCE), even with accommodations. The WAA-SwD is administered to students in grades 3 through 8 and 10 in reading and mathematics, and grades 4, 8 and 10 in science. The reading, mathematics and science WAA-SwD test forms and administration guidelines were initially developed for the 2007-08 administration and the assessment is now scheduled to be administered in the fall of each school year.

WKCE Assessment Accommodations Matrixes
WKCE testing will be starting next week for some students.  Here are lists of accommodations below. Students who receive accommodations on the WKCE should have those accommodations also listed in their IEPs.  Here is a list of available accommodations for students with disabilities (special education and 504) and ELL:

Students with Disabilities =

English Language Learner =

WKCE and ELL Students
Students identified as ELL must take the accountability assessments (WKCE or WAA-SwD) required under Title I. An exception to this rule applies to ELLs who recently arrived to the US (i.e. enrolled in a U.S. school less than 12 months and have a language proficiency level of 1 or 2 as determined by ACCESS for ELLs®). ELLs are in the process of acquiring English, therefore ELLs are eligible to receive accommodations that enable students to demonstrate what they know and can do to meet content area standards. Effective accommodations for ELLs address the unique linguistics and socio-cultural needs of the students without altering the measurement properties of the test. Accommodations do not lower expectations for student learning or change the content or skill level being assessed. For more information on language assessments for ELLs see

Special Education Van Driver
We are in need of a special education van driver from 7:00 am to 8:15 am on Monday through Thursday. If you know of anyone - please have them contact Luanne Olson at 715-748-4620 ext 534. This would start Monday October 29.

English Language Learners Update
Here is an updated count of 44 English Language Learners in our school buildings:
MAES = 23
SES = 7
MAMS = 5
MASH = 9

We currently have 1 contracted certified staff member at MAES/SES (Lucia Albrecht) and 1 contacted paraprofessional staff member at MAMS/MASH (Arisbe Alvarado). Due to the number of ELL students at MAES especially we may have to look at arranging scheduling options to offer more additional ELL support.

Mr. Miller, Mrs. Lundy and I are meeting on Wednesday October 24 at 1:30 pm to discuss this further.

Upcoming Dates
October 24 - Taylor County Reality Fair
This is our Fall Reality Fair for Medford and Gilman Seniors from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm.  Thank you to the Taylor County Transition Advisory Council especially Lou Ann Stanton, Kathy Danen, and Lisa Porten for their work on this project each year.

October 25 - Taylor County Transition Advisory Council
12:00 pm to 1:30 pm at the District Office.  

October 25 - Club DART Halloween Pre-Dance Party
5:30 to 7:00 pm at MASH for Club DART students.

October 30
iPad/Educational Technology Training from 4:00 to 5:00 pm at D.O.

November 1 - Special Education and Student Services Staff Appreciation Night
4:00 pm at Florenas Restaurant.  Appetizers will be provided by me. Beverages will be on your own. You are invited to come and spend time with your colleagues. Spouses are also welcome.  Thank you for all you provide our students, parents, and each other.

November 5 - Transition Night
6:00 to 8:00 pm at MASH

November 6 Early Release Day
There is nothing scheduled for paraprofessional trainings at this time after the students are released from school.

November 7 Wilson Workshop
Our monthly workshop designed to help teachers and support staff teach and implement the program with fidelity, show best practices,  answer questions, and work on an online class for Steps 7-12.  We will meet from 3:45 to 5:00 pm in the MAES Computer Lab.

November 10 - Special Education Family Day
11:00 am at Broadway Theatre in Medford.  All students in Special Education will receive a free movie pass.  Siblings and parents only pay $6.00 per ticket.  Pop and popcorn will be 50% off the regular price.  We will be showing for younger students Disney's Wreck it Ralph or for older students - the new James Bond movie Skyfall.  Staff and their families are also invited to attend. A one page flyer is being developed to be sent home with families.

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