Department of Student Services

Exceptional Students…Exceptional Staff 1.5.16

HAPPY 2016!

Welcome back! It is hard to believe we are already beginning the second semester. Over the break, we hope that you were able to spend time with family and friends, celebrate, and relax. The true power of a little extra downtime is especially important for educators. A new year brings a sense of renewal along with the opportunity for many new possibilities.

Many of us begin a new year with resolutions for ourselves, both personally and professionally. Educational leadership coach Elena Aguilar offers a different take on the traditional idea of resolutions. Check out her thoughts at:

Have a happy and healthy 2016!


Spotlight on Nonpublic Services

Many of you may not be aware that The Department of Student Services provides special education services to 38 nonpublic schools in the Cincinnati Public Schools District. This includes psychologists, speech pathologists, and intervention specialists who provide services through Service Plans to the nonpublic students who are identified as eligible for specially designed instruction.

In addition to those serving individual schools, we have a team (a psychologist and an intervention specialist) who work from the Department of Student Services to be available to provide consultation, observation, and strategies to nonpublic staff through a referral and permission process. This “Team of Two” share the spotlight this month:

Chris Siciliano is the intervention specialist; this is her second year in this position. Her history includes teaching in four nonpublic schools over an 18-year period and serving as a director of religious education/ pastoral associate for a parish in Cincinnati for ten years. She is certified as an Orton Gillingham master teacher. She joined the Department of Student Services, first as an intervention specialist in nonpublic schools and now as the academic half of the nonpublic consultation team.

Dr. Shelley Kilcoyne is the school psychologist for this team. She has been with CPS as a building school psychologist for 13 years and recently finished her Ph.D. in clinical psychology. Before that, her journey included earning a music degree, serving as a VISTA volunteer, working at both The FreeStore Foodbank and the Civic Garden Center, and teaching private piano lessons.

When asked about their experiences in CPS, they said they enjoy working in a variety of school settings and collaborating with school teams to address an array of student concerns. They have found they are able to offer a fresh perspective to staff seeking a deeper understanding of a student’s behavioral and academic needs. By identifying specific strategies for teachers to use in the classroom, they contribute to enhanced student learning and success.

We recognize and appreciate the significant academic and behavioral contribution of “The Team of Two.” You just might see a report from this team in one of your schools!!! They are skilled and we are so fortunate to have them!

Gifted News

High Schools
Just another reminder...your gifted students can be shown as served (Gifted Indicator) if they are enrolled in AA courses or AP courses in their area of giftedness. AP teachers are highly qualified to teach the students, but AA teachers need an initial short PD with ongoing support from Betsy Singh to be HQ. Please sign up to for a support session here. Thanks!

Elementary Schools

Seven of our schools have Brain Bowl teams led by volunteer coaches. Brain Bowl is an academic team consisting of 4th-6th grade students. In Brain Bowl, a team of four students listens to questions read by a moderator and tries to beat the clock, and the opposing team, with a correct response. Games have started and will continue through March 19, 2016. You can find the complete district Brain Bowl schedule here.

Do you have a parent asking for an out-of-school enrichment suggestion for their gifted child? Super Saturday is a quality enrichment program for intellectually gifted children, ages 4-14. The new campus is Walnut Hills High School (not affiliated with the school). Registration for the spring session starts January 24. They never turn a child away even if money is an issue. For more information, go to: Super Saturday.

Gifted Endorsement for Free!

Are you interested in getting your Gifted Endorsement? Are you in a qualifying "low income" school? (All CPS schools but Clark, Fairview, Hyde Park, Kilgour, SCPA, Sands, and Walnut Hills - but everyone else should qualify). You may be able to use the TEACH grant to take the necessary courses!

What is the TEACH grant? The TEACH grant allows teachers to access funds to pay for courses. If the teacher teaches for a qualifying school for five years, the money is forgiven. If the teacher does not teach for a qualifying school, the money reverts to a loan and must be repaid. To see if your building qualifies please click here.

Interested teachers need to contact Jackie Smith at Xavier University.

ESP Curriculum Council

10 Instructional Strategies to Support Students with ADHD

  1. Task Duration: To accommodate a short attention span, academic assignments should be brief and feedback regarding accuracy immediate. Longer projects should be broken up into manageable parts. Short time limits for task completion should be specified and can be enforced with timers.

  2. Direct Instruction: Attention to task is improved when the student with ADHD is engaged in teacher-directed as opposed to independent seat-work activities. Also, the teaching of note-taking strategies increases the benefits of direct instruction. Both comprehensive and on-task behavior improve with the development of these skills.

  3. Scheduling: Based on evidence that the on-task behavior of students with ADHD progressively worsens over the course of the day, it is suggested that academic instruction be provided in the morning. During the afternoon, when problem solving skills are especially poor, more active, nonacademic activities should be scheduled.

  4. Structure and Organization: Lessons should be carefully structured and important points clearly identified. For example, providing a lecture outline is a helpful note-taking aid that increases memory of main ideas. Students with ADHD perform better on memory tasks when material is meaningfully structured for them.

  5. Rule Reminders and Visual Cues: Rules given to students with ADHD must be well defined, specific and frequently enforced through visible modes of presentation. Well-defined rules with clear consequences are essential. Relying on the student's memory of rules is not sufficient. Visual rule reminders or cues should be placed throughout the classroom. It is also helpful if rules are reviewed before activity transitions and following school breaks. For example, token economy systems are especially effective when the rules for these programs are reviewed daily.

  6. Auditory Cues: Providing students with ADHD auditory cues that prompt appropriate classroom behavior is helpful. For example, use of a tape with tones placed at irregular intervals to remind students to monitor their on-task behavior has been found to improve arithmetic productivity.

  7. Instructions: Because students with ADHD have difficulty following multi-step directions, it is important for instruction to be short, specific and direct. Further, to ensure understanding, it is helpful if these students are asked to rephrase directions in their own words. Additionally, teachers must be prepared to repeat directions frequently, and recognize that students often may not have paid attention to what was said.

  8. Productive Physical Movement: Students with ADHD may have difficulty sitting still. Thus, productive physical movement should be planned. It is appropriate to allow the student with ADHD opportunities for controlled movement and to develop a repertoire of physical activities for the entire class such as stretch breaks. Other examples might include a trip to the office, a chance to sharpen a pencil, taking a note to another teacher, watering the plants, feeding classroom pets, or simply standing at a desk while completing class work. Alternating seat work activities with other activities that allow for movement is essential. It is also important to keep in mind that on some days, it will be more difficult for the student to sit still than on others. Thus, teachers need to be flexible and modify instructional demands accordingly.

  9. Token economy systems: These systems are an example of a behavioral strategy proven to be helpful in improving both the academic and behavioral functioning of students with ADHD. These systems typically involved giving students tokens (e.g., poker chips) when they display appropriate behavior. These tokens are in turn ex-changed for tangible rewards or privileges at specified times.

  10. Response-Cost Programs: While verbal reprimands are sufficient for some students, more powerful negative consequences, such as response-cost programs, are needed for others. These programs provide mild punishment when problem behavior is displayed. For example, a student may lose earned points or privileges when previously specified rules are broken. There is evidence that such programming decreases ADHD symptoms such as impulsivity. A specific response-cost program that could be effective with ADHD students involves giving a specific number of points at the start of each day. When a rule is broken (a problem behavior is displayed), points are taken away. Thus, to maintain their points, students must avoid breaking the rule. At the end of the period or day, students are typically allowed to exchange their points for a tangible reward of privilege.


BookFlix available free to all Ohio preK-3 classrooms


Scholastic BookFlix, a collection of paired fiction and nonfiction eBooks that promote foundational reading skills such as vocabulary and fluency, is available at no charge to all preK-3 Ohio classrooms through INFOhio. This year, Scholastic has added five new fiction/nonfiction book pairs for a total of 120 pairs. The new titles are:

  • One Zillion Valentines and Valentine’s Day;
  • Emily’s First 100 Days of School and 100th Day of School;
  • John, Paul, George & Ben and Benjamin Franklin;
  • Fletcher and the Falling Leaves and How Do You Know It’s Fall?; and
  • How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? and Back-to-School Safety (both titles also in Spanish).

Children can choose to have the books read to them or, as their reading skills improve, read them on their own. Each book pair also includes comprehension games to test a student’s ability to understand words used in the stories, distinguish fact from fiction and put story events in order.

Find tips for using BookFlix to improve foundational literacy skills with INFOhio’s Beginning Reader’s Resources publication.

Email with questions about using BookFlix.

Co-teaching Roundtables are Here!

CPS intervention specialists are increasingly being asked to co-teach and collaborate with their fellow teachers in order to better meet the needs of diverse groups of students. These sessions will provide general education teachers, intervention specialists, and building administrators a forum for delving deeply into what co-teaching means. Participants will have the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded peers in other buildings to exchange ideas and grow professionally.

WHO: All intervention specialists, general education teachers, (it would be great to attend as a co-teaching pair if possible), building administrators

WHEN/WHERE: Mayerson, course number- 1991.6452

1/13/16: Specially Designed Instruction, Accommodations, and Modifications

2/10/16: Instruction and Strategies

3/9/16: Instruction and Strategies

4/13/16: Data Collection

5/11/16: Becoming a Co-Teaching Model in Your Building

You may attend all offerings or select dates that are most interesting to the co-teaching team. We look forward to seeing you!

Case Coordinator Meeting

Wednesday, Jan. 6th, 4pm

2650 Highland Avenue

Cincinnati, OH

Mayerson Academy

IS Curriculum Council

Tuesday, Jan. 19th, 4:15pm

2650 Highland Avenue

Cincinnati, OH

Mayerson Academy

ESP Curriculum Council

Tuesday, Jan. 19th, 4:15pm

2650 Highland Avenue

Cincinnati, OH

Topic: Practical Strategies to Address Bullying

Transition Coordinator Meeting

Wednesday, Jan. 20th, 4pm

2650 Highland Avenue

Cincinnati, OH