Special Services Parent Newsletter

March 2021

The Hill We Climb

In case you missed it, this beautiful, gifted, articulate woman overcame an auditory processing disorder and a speech impediment to become the nation's first Youth Poet Laureate in 2018 and inspire us all at the Inauguration!
WATCH: Amanda Gorman reads inauguration poem, 'The Hill We Climb'

Black History Art Exhibit - Morgan Richardson, H.F. Stevens Middle, won 3rd place! Congratulations, Morgan!

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Snowball Fun in Mrs. Nudleman's PALS class!!

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Mrs. Venturi's students designed a weather station - just before the weather event of the century hit Texas!!

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AVID Night - Grades 6 - 11

Thursday, March 4

6:00-7:00 pm virtual

Crowley ISD's AVID Program prepares students for college readiness and life success by closing the opportunity gap, and learning to overcome obstacles and achieve success. They graduate and attend college at higher rates, but more importantly, they can think critically, collaborate, and set high expectations to confidently conquer the challenges that await them.

Could my child who receives special education services be a candidate for AVID? Jump onto this zoom meeting to learn more about Crowley ISD’s AVID program and whether it might be a good fit for your child with learning differences. You will hear student testimonies, program benefits, information about the application process and more.


Monday, March 8

6:30-8:30 pm

Crowley Middle School - 3800 W. Risinger Road

SIBSHOP is for your typically developing child, age 8-14, who would like to get to know other kids who have a brother or sister with a disability. It's all about playing games, talking, and having fun with others who 'get it' - who understand the good...and not so good...things about having a sibling with special needs. We will be following safety protocols including 6 ft. distancing, hand sanitizing and mask-wearing. Limited space available, so please register asap! Register here.

Reunión para Padres de Educación Especial

Lunes, 29 de marzo, 1:30-2:30 pm

Aquí tiene la oportunidad de conversar en español con otros padres: ¿Qué ha funcionado mejor para su familia? ¿Le gustaría escuchar y compartir algunos consejos sobre cómo enfrentar un desafío que esté ocurriendo? Esta reunión es un foro informal para apoyarse y animarse unos a otros. Venga a compartir su sabiduría, obtenga consejos útiles y simplemente disfrute un poco de tiempo con otros adultos en estos tiempos desafiantes. Regístrese aquí para asegurarse de recibir la invitación de zoom.

Texas Able Zoom Meeting


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The Panther Emporium started six years ago because of a need to serve the whole student in addition to the academic student. It started as a small closet with some donated clothing. Over the years it has expanded to a resource center that includes a clothing closet, prom closet, food pantry, cuisine kits handed out weekly, as well as supplying hygiene products and school supplies. The Panther Emporium impacts students, families, staff, and multiple schools within the district and our amazing community.

Last spring our Transition Specialist was asked if some of the district’s secondary special needs programs could run the Panther Emporium. We are so lucky and are extremely grateful to members of the North Crowley High School staff for providing this opportunity! This year our Community Based Vocational Instruction (CBVI) program and some of our Adult Transition classes are in charge of keeping the Panther Emporium stocked and running like a well-oiled machine! This has been an excellent opportunity for several of our special needs programs to receive on campus vocational learning opportunities in an inclusive environment.

Getting on Medicaid Waiver Lists

Do you have 5 minutes to learn how to get your child on a Medicaid waiver list? The March Transition Fast Facts video is Getting on “The Lists”. Click on the video below.

Be watching for these future videos:

April - Levels of Support Through Medicaid Waivers

May - Guardianship 101

June - Texas Workforce

Transition Fast Facts: Getting on "The Lists"

What Do Diagnosticians Do?

  • Keep up with state and federal regulations for special education programs.
  • Receive campus and parent referrals and perform educational evaluations
  • Understand and select testing and assessment tools.
  • Analyze test results and communicate the findings to appropriate people.
  • Produce the written Individualized Education Plan (IEP) based on input from the ARD committee (parent, administrator, teacher, service providers, and evaluators)
  • Coordinate schedules to bring together parents, teachers, service providers, and evaluators for ARD meetings.
  • Make recommendations for classroom accommodations and/or modifications based on evaluation findings.

What are Cognitive Processes?

Often times Diagnosticians casually mention cognitive processes and how they impact your child. But what does this mean? Here is a breakdown of commonly used cognitive processes.

1. Comprehension-Knowledge - the Brain’s “Library”:

· Measures the breadth and depth of a person’s acquired knowledge, the ability to communicate one’s knowledge (especially verbally) and the ability to reason using previously learned experiences or procedures. This is sometimes referred to as crystallized intelligence.

· A weakness in crystallized intelligence may cause difficulty in the classroom with the following tasks: learning vocabulary, answering factual questions, comprehending oral and written language, acquiring knowledge in content areas, and/or using prior knowledge to perform activities.

2. Fluid Reasoning – the Brain’s “Detective”:

· Measures the ability to reason, form concepts, and solve problems using unfamiliar information

· A weakness in fluid reasoning may cause difficulty in the classroom with the following tasks: drawing inferences, solving abstract problems, creating solutions to problems, generalizing concepts, solving unique problems, extending concepts, and/or thinking conceptually.

3. Short-Term Memory - the Brain’s “note-pad”:

· Measures the ability to encode, maintain, and hold information, and then use it within a brief period of time.

· A weakness in short-term memory may cause difficulty in the classroom with the following tasks: following directions, remembering information long enough to process it for understanding, recalling sequences, memorizing factual information, listening to and comprehending information, and/or taking notes.

4. Processing Speed - the Brain’s “Racecar”:

· Measures the ability to perform simple, repetitive cognitive tasks quickly and fluently

· A weakness in processing speed may cause difficulty in the classroom with the following tasks: processing information rapidly, completing assignments within time limits, taking timed tests, making rapid comparisons, and/or copying

5. Auditory Processing - the Brain’s “Ears”:

· Measures the ability to detect and process meaningful nonverbal information in sound

· A weakness in auditory processing may cause difficulty in the classroom with the following task: acquiring phonics (i.e., decoding), learning structural analysis of words, spelling, and/or speech perception.

6. Long-term Storage and Retrieval - the Brain’s “Filing System”:

· Measures the ability to store, consolidate, and retrieve information later

· A weakness in long-term retrieval may cause difficulty in the classroom with the following tasks: learning and recalling information through association, recalling information on tests, pairing and retaining visual with auditory information, retrieving specific words, and/or memorizing facts, poems, etc.

7. Visual Processing - the Brain’s “Eyes”:

· Measures the ability to use simulated mental imagery to solve problems

A weakness in visual processing may cause difficulty in the classroom with the following tasks: using patterns and designs in geometry, building, sensing spatial orientation, reading maps/charts/graphs, and noting visual detail.


SNAP & STEAR - Emergency Preparedness for People with Special Needs

Now that we've survived the Winter Storm of 2021, what can we do to improve emergency preparedness readiness in the future? Consider registering with these two special needs programs for assistance during times of emergency:

Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP) - SNAP provides Tarrant County emergency responders with vital information about residents who have special needs. Information is safely maintained to protect privacy. If you have questions about the SNAP program, please call 817-392-6144.

State of Texas Emergency Assistance Registry (STEAR) - STEAR is a free registry that provides local emergency planners and emergency responders with additional information on the needs in their community. Tarrant County uses the registry information in different ways. Registering yourself in the STEAR registry DOES NOT guarantee you will receive a specific service during an emergency.

FIRE: Flexing Independence and Retaining Employment

Tuesdays, March 2-April 27th

6:00-7:00 pm Virtual

FIRE is a 9-week series that provides training in social skills to make a good impression to employers, career exploration, accessing job search services, and discovering community resources available to help reach employment and independent living goals.

This FREE training is available to any person with a disability ages 14-22. Participation in all sessions is encouraged but not required. Certificates of completion will be awarded. Register here or by calling Rita at 817-569-4852

Ausome Butterflies Social Skills Group for Girls

Saturday, March 6th

9:30 am at Chisholm Trail Recreation Center

Featuring ADEPT Dance. Free Class!

Register here

Saturday, March 27

Social Outing at Main Event

Includes bowling, food, friendships and fun!

. Click here to learn more. about Ausome Butterflies for girls ages 10-17 with autism or ADHD.

Parent Tip on Qualifying for $1,500 in Supplemental Special Education Services

A wonderful CISD parent is excited to report she is receiving $1,500 for her son and wants to share her experience:

"It takes only about 5 or 10 minutes to complete and submit the application. Don't give up if you get denied! I was denied, but then I saw at the bottom of the page: If you have applied and want to follow up on the decision that you received, please contact us at 1-855-773-3839. So I called, and within 2 weeks I heard back that I had been approved."

Please click on the overview below to apply or contact donna.heim@crowley.k12.tx.us for assistance.

Morgan's Wonderland!

Are you looking for a Spring Break Family Trip? Morgan’s Wonderland, located in San Antonio, Texas, is an ultra-accessible family fun park. It was built in the true spirit of inclusion to provide a place where all ages and abilities can come together and play in a fun and safe environment. Learn more here www.morganswonderland.com

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Community Accommodations: To Request a Sign Language Interpreter or Not?

Wednesday, March 24

6:00 - 7:00 p.m. Virtual

Lindsay Chandler, Lead Interpreter for Plano RDSPD, will discuss the processes and struggles of requesting sign language interpreters for activities outside of a child's school day. It is ALWAYS a child's right to have access to communication. Topics of discussion include the following:

  • How to approach businesses about needing a sign language interpreter,
  • How to help the business throughout the process of requesting an interpreter, and
  • How to resource creatively when requesting a sign language interpreter.
Andrea Raye, owner of American Sign Language Interpreting Services in the DFW area, will add insight into this process as well. Parents and students will leave this session with a feeling of empowerment and a list of resources. Participants must register in advance here.

Drawing for a 'Door Prize'

Just because we aren't meeting in person doesn't mean we don't have door prizes. Earn a chance to win a door prize by emailing what you found helpful in this newsletter, or what type of information you'd like to see in future newsletters. It's that simple! Send your feedback here.


Celebrating Black History

Ms. Keys' Class Learning about Garrett Morgan, Inventor of the Traffic Light

CMS Students Displaying Their Projects

Ms. Oko's Student's Learning about Past & Present Leaders

100 Days of School!

Mrs. Coleman's Class Made Necklaces of 100 Fruit Loops

Ms. Steelman's Smiling Summercreek Students

How to explain 'grits' to deaf students? Make and eat some, of course! Yum!

Ms. Rutherfords' Students Love Exploring in Motor Lab

Morning Meeting in Mrs. Marlow's Pre-K Blended Class