The Coffee Bean

April 2023

"A Kind Word is like a Spring Day"

Student Spotlight...ELIANA KAPLAN

Eliana Kaplan is the daughter of Rabbi Larry and Gerri Kaplan. She has been a resident of St. Joseph's Center since April 13th, 2021 and a student of the NEIU19 since March 9th, 2022. Currently, Eliana attends the Moscow Elementary Center program of the NEIU19. Eliana is actively involved in the St. Joseph's community and lights up every room with her contagious smile. During her time in school, Eliana loves participating in morning circle time. She is very vocal and enjoys morning songs, especially "The Wheels on the Bus". She actively participates in Music Therapy and greets all that enter the classroom in a positive manner. Eliana gives the best hugs. She is sensory oriented and enjoys Adapted Physical Education, the ocean sound machine, and participating in her related service activities. Eliana is a big fan of watching "Barney" while enjoying her favorite snack: cheese doodles!

Although Eliana is non-ambulatory, she will scoot and pull herself around using her strong arms. She has demonstrated great progress with using her gait trainer and stander while at St. Joseph's and in the classroom. She is working to increase her self-care skills such as feeding, dressing, and brushing her teeth with assistance. She will choose her leisure activities by vocalizing and gesturing. Eliana looks forward to going to school each morning and enjoys all new experiences while in attendance. This summer, she will attend the NEIU extended school year program and will participate in the Challenger Little League program. We hope you continue to move mountains Eliana, and cherish your involvement in our NEIU19 classroom!

Pictured: Eliana being honored at the April 25th NEIU Board Meeting...


Pattianne began her career with NEIU19 on December 4th, 2000 substituting as a paraprofessional. She was contracted as an employee beginning with the 2001-2002 school year. For most of her years she worked with individuals in classrooms for students with multiple disabilities. Pattianne has grown within the organization by receiving the newly required Credential of Competency in May of 2007. In recent years, Pattianne has ventured into a new student population and enjoys her time in the Life Skills Support Classroom. Pattianne is actively involved within the classroom and provides necessary physical and emotional support to all students within her assigned population. She works effectively with all faculty and staff members. Pattianne is a team player and devotes her time to school-wide events including our Campus Lions Basketball Program. Keep shining brightly, Pattianne, and thank you for your incredible service to our IU and students!


Autism Acceptance Month (AAM) occurs every April and aims to show support, inclusion, and acceptance for those diagnosed with autism. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of neurological disorders that affect brain development and can lead to challenges with social skills, language/communication, and behavior. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that 1 in 44 people have been diagnosed with autism. This awareness initiative is sponsored by the Autism Society of America. Founded in 1965, the Autism Society of America is one of the largest and oldest autism advocacy organizations in the U.S. Its support efforts have helped the organization grow from a small team of parents into one of the nation's most trusted sources of information and research. The primary goal of the Autism Society is to empower, include, and give dignity and equality to every individual living with autism.
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Earth Day was celebrated on April 22nd, and is recognized by hundreds of countries around the world. There are many little things that you can do to celebrate and help save the Earth. Some of these include: Planting something; trees not only cool things down but they also clean the air and give off more oxygen, among other benefits. Ride your bike; find transportation alternatives that help reduce your carbon footprint but get you moving. Riding your bike and just taking a walk are two of the best options available. Buy reusable bags instead of plastic to use when you go to the grocery store. Get produce from a local farmer's market, besides supporting area businesses, you'll also be helping the Earth by buying fruits and veggies local. When buying locally, it is transported shorter distances. Spend time outside; Earth Day is a reminder of how beautiful our planet is. Try to spend some time outside and show some love to the place that we all call home.
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Easter Egg Hunt...Dunmore Learning Campus

One of Lindsey Hunt's Multiple Disabilities Classrooms at the Learning Campus Dunmore, attended an Easter Egg Hunt sponsored by Brighter Journeys at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Brighter Journeys is a 501C3 non-profit organization that provides words of comfort, direction to resources, and the intention to provide tangible support to families. One unique quality of this foundation is that Brighter Journeys is not specific to any one disability or diagnosis. Brighter Journeys is an inclusive organization seeking to brighten the journey of any individual with special needs. Students engaged in an interactive egg hunt and got their picture with the Easter Bunny.

Artist in Residency Activities...Dunmore Learning Campus

Students from Mrs. Kellie Stott's life skills classroom are shown below engaging in an activity with Artist in residency, Jenny Hill. Mrs. Jenny Hill visits Learning Campus Dunmore each week and has been working with our multiple disabilities and life skills classroom for our first session.

The smiles in the picture, speak for themselves.

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Staff and students participated in their final basketball game of the season for the Dunmore Learning Campus Lions. Students challenged staff in a game of hoops on the court at the Learning Campus.

Early Intervention...Spring Has Sprung

The staff at Early Intervention Line Street decorated their classroom doors for Spring!
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T-shirt drive for Early Intervention (EI)...

Shannon Calafut has successfully completed her T-shirt drive for EI, with the help of LINE STREET Designs. A large number of staff have purchased the shirts, which will add to staff morale, and also spread the Peace, Love, EI message!
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Training and Consultation (TaC) News...

BT Lively held an AT Maker Day at NEIU19 on April 12th, 2023 and it was a great success. Participants began their day learning the basics of soldering and wire splicing. Using this new skill, participants were able to wire and build a 3D-printed Light Touch Assistive Switch. Participants also learned how to modify a child's toy for adaptive use. The culmination of their hard work was that each participant electronically adapted an individual toy for use by an external switch. Time was also allowed for exploration in the use of InstaMorph and Corriboard products for the development of individual assistive technology access tools. Everyone walked away with their newly adapted toys ready to use in their classrooms.
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The STEM Design Challenge 2023

We are thrilled to announce the success of the Regional STEM Design Competition 2023, held at Johnson College on April 3rd, and organized by NEIU 19. This year's event brought together talented and passionate students from across the region, all eager to showcase their engineering skills using K’nex. The competition was fierce, with each team showcasing their unique designs and solutions to the 2023 STEM Design Challenge of addressing environmental issues facing the world. The teams were compiled of up to four students in 4-5th grades and 6-8th grades. Each team had the opportunity to present their projects and answer questions from the judges, showcasing their deep understanding of the problem they were trying to solve and the technical expertise they employed to develop their solutions.

After careful deliberation, the judges announced the winners of the competition:

-Grade 6-8:

First Place: All Saints Academy, Scranton

-Grade 4-5:

First Place: Forest City Regional School District.

These teams will compete at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex on May 12, 2023.

The second and third place winners are:

-Grades 6th-8th:

Second Place: Howard Gardner MI Charter School

Third Place: Tie-Forest City Regional School District & Riverside School District

-Grades 4th-5th:

Second Place: Wayne Highlands School District
Third Place: North Pocono School District

Overall, the Regional STEM Design Competition 2023 was a resounding success, showcasing the incredible talent and potential of our region's students. We are proud to have played a role in supporting and encouraging the next generation of STEM leaders, and we look forward to seeing the innovative solutions they will develop in the years to come. We would also like to thank Johnson College for helping us provide the students with a wonderful day and a great experience.


On Monday, April 17, 2023, the Northeastern Educational Unit 19 in partnership with the Chester County Intermediate Unit hosted 22 of our local high schools for the 2020 Academic Challenge. This is the second consecutive year that the competition was held in a face-to-face format at the NEIU Administration Building in Archbald. STEM activities and E-Gaming opportunities were provided to school teams when they were not competing during the Academic Challenge. After each team completed two rounds of competition throughout the day, the teams of Riverside, North Pocono, and Scranton High School were tied with a combined score of 145. A five-question extra round, led to a sudden death lightning round to decide the final competitors. North Pocono, Scranton High School, and Wallenpaupack Area won the spots. The final round consisted of three intense rounds of competition with Wallenpaupack Area coming out as this year's champions. This is the second consecutive year that Wallenpaupack Area has claimed the title and they will be representing NEIU region in Harrisburg at the Capitol Museum for the statewide tournament on Friday, April 28, 2023.
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The Final Four and Championship round of the 2023 NEIU Reading Tournament was held in person at the NEIU Administration Building.

-Elementary Teams (Grades 4-5) competed on Wednesday, March 29, 2023.

The results are as follows:

1st Place: Wallenpaupack (Advisor: Heather Hess)

2nd Place: Wallenpaupack (Advisor: Lisa Ostrowski)

3rd Place: North Pocono (Advisor: Heather Phillips)

4th Place: North Pocono (Advisor: Jennifer Rizzitano)

-Middle School Teams (Grades 6-8) competed on Thursday, March 30, 2023.

The results are as follows:

1st Place: Wayne Highlands (Advisor: Amy Flederbach)

2nd Place: Valley View (Advisor: Nicole Berta)

3rd Place: North Pocono (Advisor: Christine Nemitz)

4th Place: Forest City (Advisor: Leah Zawisky)

-High School (Grades 9-12) competed on Friday, March 31, 2023.

The results are as follows:

1st Place: Mountain View (Advisor: Stephanie Kile)

2nd Place: Mid Valley (Advisor: Sue Piorkowski)

3rd Place: Dunmore (Advisor: Maura Irving)

4th Place: Valley View (Advisor: Kathleen Myers)

The teams received a certificate from the NEIU print shop, colored medals, a swag bag, and a pizza lunch to celebrate all of the hard work from students and advisors. The NEIU planning team included Eliza Vagni, Mike Motsko, Erin Pencek, Carly Coaslon, and Kim Vitaletti.

Early Childhood Training...

Molly Weber and Colleen Penzone held a second session of their training, "Secondary Prevention: Targeted Social Emotional Supports", with a full house of 50 early childhood educators. A third session has been scheduled due to the waiting list for participating in this training. Participants left with tools that can easily be implemented in their preschool classrooms.

Materials and visuals for this training have since been organized and housed for virtual sharing. Hard copies to be used for individual students were also created through our IU print shop, LINE STREET Designs. Mindy Mendincino was instrumental with the success of this process.

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PAIU Day on the Hill...

On Tuesday, April 25, 2023 the Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units (PAIU) held their "Day on the Hill" at the PA State Capitol. Priority advocacy topics included increased funding for school-based mental health, increased funding for early childhood education, and addressing personnel shortages. State mandate relief, special education and other school funding also remain top concerns. Thank you to Vanessa Nee, Kelly Dickey, Colleen Penzone, and Molly Weber for attending!

Worth the Watch...

Celebrate the ones who DO, not the ones who WIN

"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.

The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time." ~Thomas Edison