Fresh Start - MS

Department of Special Education Programs


Do the words used to describe you have an impact on your life? Contrary to the old "sticks and stones" lesson we learned as children, words do matter!

For too long, people who happen to have conditions we call "disabilities" have been subjected to devaluation, marginalization, prejudice, and more. And the first way to devalue someone is through language, by using words or labels to identify a person/group as "less-than," as "the others—not like us," and so forth. Once a person/group has been identified this way, it makes it easier to justify prejudice and discrimination. Our language shapes our attitudes; our attitudes shape our language; they're intertwined. And our attitudes and language drive our actions!

Using People First Language—putting the person before the disability—and eliminating old, prejudicial, and hurtful descriptors, can move us in a new direction. People First Language is not political correctness; instead, it demonstrates good manners, respect, the Golden Rule, and more—it can change the way we see a person, and it can change the way a person sees him/herself! (adapted from Disability is Natural)

Building the possible,

Mrs. Tarvis Williams-Mull

New Items

  • Cycle 2 begins September 29th and runs through January 9th.
  • Cycle 1 post-conferences and Cycle 2 goal-setting feedback sessions will be conducted this week; September 22nd - September 26th. During this session, we will discuss your Cycle 1 evaluation results as well as your Coaching Plan for Cycle 2. The sessions will be scheduled via an Outlook invitation during your planning periods on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. Please accept or decline the invitation ASAP. If you decline, provide an alternate day/time between the 24th & 26th.
  • Coaching Check-ins for Lead Teachers (Piper, Smith and Scudder) will now take place every week instead of every other week. Please prepare your schedule for this. If the time we originally agreed on is no longer a good one, let me know this immediately as well as a time every week that does work.
  • Our 1st Common Planning Day (CPD) for this year is scheduled for October 13th. The expectation is for ALL teachers and support staff to attend for the full day. Your principal will share the agenda with you in the days to come.
  • Lizzie Swoboda shared with you last week that all students, including those with disabilities, will use AIMSweb for reading interventions. This caused quite an uproar from your department so I want to clear up some things:

  1. AIMSweb is a much more useful tool, it has over 400 reading probes compared to the 36 offered by EasyCBM Lite.
  2. You will be provided more building-level support from Swoboda and Abeles since they are familiar with AIMSweb and they are already using it with all of the other students at WAMS.
  3. Swoboda and Abeles will provide you baseline data to determine starting points and specific deficit areas for reading for all of your students.
  4. Swoboda and Abeles will provide AIMSweb training to you.
  5. You will need to use EasyCBM for math.
  6. Nothing else in our intervention plan has or will change because you are using AIMS web for reading.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding Tier IV Interventions, please direct them to me.


  • Your School Practice Review (SPR) is scheduled for September 30th. The SpEd document/file review portion of the SPR will be conducted by the ASD SpEd team on September 23rd. My team will be in your building all day on Monday, September 22nd to help you prepare for the SpEd file/document review. In a previous email last week, I asked certain members of your school team to provide specific artifacts and evidence. If you were asked to provide something, I will need it by 8am Monday morning.
  • September's General Focus - Ensuring accessibility for SWD in all classes.
  • If I have not received your 1st Teacher Collaboration forms that were due on September 8th, get them to me immediately. It is actually now time to begin preparing for the 2nd batch...
  • Continue to update your Student Data Tracker as you receive new data and information.
  • Key Tier IV Intervention dates:

*9/17 - Expectations, Routines & Procedures due

*9/24 - Completed Tier IV Intervention Planning Template due

*10/1 - EasyCBM should have been administered to all students on your caseload

*10/14 - Tier IV Interventions officially begin

  • You should be co-planning with your co-teachers, supporting planning with the other grade level teachers and meeting with your grade level SpEd partner each week. These is necessary to ensure your students are being provided with the appropriate supports in every class for assignments, assessments and homework.
  • TCAP MAAS is not an option this school year and you will have to justify the need for testing accommodations, therefore, it is imperative that the necessary supports and scaffolds are provided early so students can build their 'stamina' for testing.
  • Partner Teacher Cycle 1 Evaluations will be conducted this week. Mr. Dillard and Ms. Eason, please send me two days/times by noon Monday that work for you.

In the Compliance Corner with Alexis

  • IEP Development Forms must be completed and returned to Alexis at least 10 days prior to the scheduled meeting date. You received two exemplars in a separate email.
  • Don't forget to complete the Pre-vocational Checklist for your students. This document is not a one time thing. It should be tracked and monitored just as all other needs-assessment documents particularly in the areas in which your students score below a 3.
  • Make sure you are keeping up with your students' attendance and disciplinary actions and consequences. You should be serving as an advocate for your students and finding and suggesting alternatives to OSS. If you notice that a student is getting close to 5 days of OSS or is displaying a pattern of inappropriate behaviors, you should notify Alexis.
  • There are three resource links below to assist you with identifying supports for your students.
  • September's Service Logs are due October 3rd before you leave for Fall Break. Please scan and email them to Portia.

Shout Outs!!!

Joseph Piper - for being prepared for his first evaluation meeting this school year with all documents completed and on-hand!!!

Ashley Scudder - for getting me her Tier IV Intervention expectations, routines and procedures and on time!!!

Two Claps - One...Two...