Monday Message

February 25, 2019 WLWV Student Services We've Got This!

Improving Instructional Practices, Creating Inclusive Cultures, Increasing Student Voice

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Who Can Participate in Science Fairs?

We all may have an image of who traditionally participated in inquiry-based learning events like Science Fairs. An image that likely does not come to mind is a student with significant cognitive challenges and limited verbal communication. Yet the educators, parents, and most importantly students in West Linn-Wilsonville are challenging those stereotypes everyday, and discovering that given the right access tools, all students can engage in rigorous learning. The team at Lowrie Primary shared with a terrific example of this transformation in expectation and opportunity.

"I wanted to share with you a win for ULS (Unique Learning System) and for a student inclusion. I had one parent discuss at her student's IEP last year that she wanted him to be part of science fair. I have been printing off the science experiment from ULS every month since then. I met with mom in December and we decided on one of the experiments for her student to do. I gave her all the resources and she completed the experiment with him. She sent me some pictures and is so excited to have him participate this year. Patrice and I are going to pre-program his communication device so he can answer questions during the science fair."

Thanks to the very humble Learning Specialists and SLP for their hard work on this, for the great example of parent collaboration, and for helping us continue to raise expectations for all students!

Now, where are our next science fair champs at all levels?!

Paraprofessionals: The Superheroes of Our Schools

In our schools today, there is arguably no role more important than our amazing paraprofessionals (Instructional Assistants). Our paraprofessionals are in classrooms, on playgrounds, in motor rooms, in healthrooms, in cafeterias, in gyms everyday doing whatever it takes to make sure all student have access to their education.

Here are a few words of wisdom from Dr. Kent Gerlach, who is a leader of professional development for paraprofessionals. He wrote these as part of a paraprofessional training manual, but really, these are great words of wisdom for all of us working in teams to support our students!

  • Help each other be right, not wrong.
  • Look for ways to make new ideas work, not for reasons they won’t.
  • If in doubt, check it out.
  • Don’t make negative assumptions about each other.
  • Help each other be successful, and take pride in each other’s success.
  • Speak positively about each other and about your school and educational programs at every opportunity.
  • Maintain a positive mental attitude no matter what the circumstances. A
  • ct with initiative and courage, as if it all depends on you.
  • If you need assistance … ASK … mentor one another.
  • Do everything with enthusiasm: it’s contagious!
  • Don’t lose Faith.
  • Enjoy what you do! HAVE FUN!

Please know that your learning specialists, classroom teachers, SLPs, nurses, counselors, OTs, PTs, ICs, principals, DO staff, all have the DEEPEST respect for what you do every day. Let us know how we can continue to support you, the very best paraprofessional team in the state!

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Inclusive and Equitable Classrooms: The Restorative Practices Addition

The Life Changing Skill-building of Independence in the Bathroom

There are very few things that impact a student's ability to be independent and socially confident as achieving independence in the bathroom. We know there are some students who have such significant medical or orthopedic considerations that some level of assistance in toileting may always be needed, and we are incredibly proud of the dignity with which educators in our district provide this support. The vast majority of student can be independent in the bathroom, or at least move along the continuum of independence in a way that adds agency and quality of life the student and their care givers. Not the most glamorous of skill building topics, but arguably one of the most important.

Last Professional Growth Wednesday, Learning Specialist Mikhailah Brace led a workshop for 27 educators on this important topic. Learning Specialists, Instructional Assistants (paraprofessionals), OTs, and PTs all came together at Boeckman Creek to think through some practical task analysis and strategies to help every student increase their independence. A big thank you to Mikhailah for sharing her great expertise, and helping us all become stronger in this important work!

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QPR: The CPR of Suicide Prevention

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth in our country-and it is time that we all come together to change this. As part of WLWV’s comprehensive approach to Health & Wellness, we are adopting QPR training for any staff or community members.

QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer — the 3 simple steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide.

Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help. Each year thousands of Americans, like you, are saying "Yes" to saving the life of a friend, colleague, sibling, or neighbor.

Four wellness leaders in our district have become qualified QPR trainers: Cheryl Wilson, Sarah Hiatt, Brittany Bucholz, and Krystal Toderick. They are offering this 90 minute training on the remaining district wide Professional Growth Wednesdays, and will be scheduling additional training opportunities soon.

  • March 20, 1-3 at CREST (currently full)
  • April 24, 2-4 at CREST
  • May 27, 1-3 at CREST

Please register through the link below if you are interested in becoming QPR trained.

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The Puzzle of the Schedule: Making Time for Documentation and Planning

When you as a special educator "What is the most rewarding part of your job?", you will likely never hear, "Scheduling my time." Most of us feel this is part of our work that we keep coming back to, adjusting, and revising.

We are here for our students, so prioritizing time providing direct support for students is clearly our first priority. We are also here to develop capacity in others, so scheduling time to co-plan, to consult, to provide coaching for staff, to meet with families and IEP teams. These are equally important in our inclusive model.

What can be hardest for many of us is to craft a schedule that reflects these different priorities. We know at a minimum that each certified educator must have a daily lunch period and a daily prep period. Depending on your role and your caseload, there may also need to be assessment/reporting writing times in your schedule, collaboration times, documentation time. How much is necessary? How much is too much? There are no clear formulas because ever situation is different. If you are unsure if your current schedule meets these priorities appropriately, bring your schedule and talk it over with your building principal and/or your SPED IC. If you really get stuck, reach out to Jennifer or Josh. Stay in the conversation, be flexible and open to changing it as you go. Together, we can continue to solve the on-going puzzle of scheduling.

Using Station Rotations As One Way of Many to Co-Teach and Meet The Needs of All Students

Increasing Student Voice: Growth in the IEP

At February's Inclusive School's leadership, our team reviewed district progress towards our goal: 100% of Students with IEP's Meaningfully Participate in or Lead Their IEP Meeting.

We heard some compelling stories from our two student representatives. One of our students shared, "I really like being part of my IEP. I like hearing what my team thinks about how I'm doing. I like being able to give input about what's working and what isn't." Another student shared, "At my first IEP meeting I didn't really know what to do...Now I know how to talk about what I need and don't need. I've gotten way better at advocating for myself."

In addition, we reviewed the graph below from ePEP. We are encouraged that we continue to move closer to our goal of all students leading their own learning, as shown by their participation in the IEP meeting. Let's keep striving toward 100%!

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  • MS Unified Basketball Tournament: Tuesday, February 26, 4:00-6:00, Meridian Creek MS
  • School Counselors: Wednesday, February 27, 7:30-9:30, DO
  • Learning Specialists Cycles of Inquiry: Friday, March 1, 7:30-9:00, DO
  • HS Unified Basketball Tournament: Saturday, March 2, All day, WHS
  • Final Inclusive & Equitable Classrooms Workshop: Tuesday, March 5, 4:00-5:30 STPS
  • SLP Meeting: Friday, March 8, 7:30-9:30
  • SPED Parent Collaboration Group: Monday, March 11 5:00-6:15, DO
  • All Born In Conference: April 4 & 5