The Monty Update

Hays CISD Special Education Parent Newsletter, January 2023

"The Monty" is a term of endearment used by special education district staff for The Montgomery Building, the special education office located at 451 N Meyer St in Kyle, Texas.
The mission of the Hays CISD Special Education Department is to provide exceptional programming for every student with special needs and build collaborative partnerships with their families.

A Message from the Executive Officer and Director

Dear Hays CISD Families,

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2023! We are getting very excited for our 2023 graduates as they embark on the last couple of months of their high school careers.

We are also very excited to have finally held our first SEPAC meeting. We had a great a turnout and although it was more of an informational meeting, we look forward to breaking out into committees to get some work done. Our next meeting is scheduled for February. We hope to see you there.

See you soon!

Michelle Velasquez and Melissa Corona

#Glowgetters #Allin

Special Olympics Bowling

On December 7th & 8th, Hays CISD and the Special Education Department hosted the Special Olympics Bowling Tournament at Sunset Bowling Alley in San Marcos, Texas. The Hays Heat, the Hays CISD Special Olympics Team, had a blast with their Unified Champions Peers!

Special Olympians had the support of their non-disabled peers who join them during inclusive activities at school. The smiles, cheering, and pure enjoyment of all students at the tournament was incredible to see! Congratulations to all our students!

Hays HS Special Olympian Earns Letterman Jacket!

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Carter Cawley, Hays High School Junior, earned his letterman jacket that was presented by Hays CISD Special Olympics coaches, Jennifer Welma and Alicia Hartman, during the opening ceremonies of the Special Olympics Bowling Tournament held at Sunset Bowling Lanes in San Marcos, Texas. Carter has played and competed in basketball, bocce ball, bowling, cycling, flag football, powerlifting, and track and field both with school and outside of school. Carter loves the UT Longhorns and can tell you just about anything about every single Texas Longhorns football player past and present.

Carter is a true example of a Special Olympics athlete who continues to develop physical fitness, demonstrates courage, experiences joy, and participates in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with his family, other Special Olympics athletes and the community. Congratulations Carter! We are so very proud of you!

Run, Volunteer, Sponsor!

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Spread the Word and Join US on Raceday!

We are excited to hold the inaugural Hays CISD Unified Champions 5k and 1K on February 25, 2023! The Unified Champions 5k and 1k are the first intentionally inclusive race put on in Hays County. All proceeds from this race will go toward the implementation of the Unified Champion Schools (UCS) programs on campuses all across Hays CISD!

What is the Unified Champion Schools (UCS) program? The Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools program is aimed at promoting social inclusion through intentionally planned and implemented activities affecting systems-wide change. With sports as the foundation, the three-component model offers a unique combination of effective activities that equip young people with tools and training to create sports, classroom and school climates of acceptance. These are school climates where students with disabilities feel welcome and are routinely included in, and feel a part of, all activities, opportunities and functions.

This is accomplished by implementing inclusive sports, inclusive youth leadership opportunities, and whole school engagement. The program is designed to be woven into the fabric of the school, enhancing current efforts and providing rich opportunities that lead to meaningful change in creating a socially inclusive school that supports and engages all learners.

Register Here!

Students can register for the 5k for FREE using code "GOSQUAD23"

Volunteer here!

Would you like to be a sponsor? We are looking for local businesses or organizations that would like to support our Unified Champions! Check out our sponsorship letter!

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We'll Be Volunteering At This Event!

Join the City of Kyle Parks and Recreation Department as they host their second Valentine's Day Dance for People with Disabilities on Friday, Feb. 10, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Gemstone Palace, 1101 Bunton Creek Rd.

The event is free and open to all individuals with a disability, regardless of age. Event activities include a Valentine's themed dance party with DJ music, swag bags and loads of fun! Some snack food will be available. Participants that require assistance must be accompanied by a parent, caregiver or an individual that provides assistance. Both the participant and the individual providing assistance will count toward the total capacity number.

Registration for the Valentine's Day Dance opens Jan. 6, 2023 and closes Feb. 8, 2023, or until all spots are filled. Registration is required and limited to the first 300 participants through teamsideline.

To register go to

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Supplemental Special Education Services

Supplemental Special Education Services (SSES) are $1,500 one-time on-line grants for eligible parents/caregivers of eligible students served by special education that have been impacted by COVID-19 school closures.

Families of eligible students can use the on-line accounts to obtain educational materials and resources and/or services such as additional speech therapy or other specific services.

For more information and to apply for a grant visit:

STAR Autism Grant Parent Training

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Hays CISD is the recipient of the STAR Autism Grant provided by the Texas Education Agency. In our second year of implementation, we continue to provide parent training sessions in English and Spanish. These training are held via Zoom. Please join our next trainings to be held in March and April.

Do With, Not For: Teaching Skills Through Functional Routines

Date & Time: March 2 at 12:00 PM

English Session:

Meeting ID: 846 9345 5408

Spanish Session:

Meeting ID: 894 1916 6192

Thriving in a Social World

Date & Time: April 20 at 10:00 AM

English Session:

Meeting ID: 898 4168 2839

Spanish Session:

Meeting ID: 835 8012 5216

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The Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research at Texas Tech has been awarded a grant that is enabling them to provide support for families with children with autism through the Mobile and Telehealth Outreach Center for Autism (M-TOCA).

Through M-TOCA services, the Burkhart Center is able to offer, at no cost, parent training for clients of all ages with either a medical or educational diagnosis of autism who live in the state of Texas. If the families meet these two requirements, they are eligible to sign up for the service. The MOCA side supports families within a two-hour (~110 miles) radius of Lubbock. Outside of that radius, they would fall under the TOCA side.

For more information please visit the following website" (

Special Education Parent Advisory Committee (SEPAC)

SEPAC needs your input and support to build a high functioning advisory group to the Special Education Administration and Superintendent as to programming, services, and needs in Hays CISD . This is your opportunity to provide feedback on what is working well and what areas need to improve to ensure students with disabilities are receiving the services and supports they need to be successful. We will take this information to provide training for both service providers, teachers, parents, and the community.

We are still looking for parents to join us. At our next committee meeting, we will break into sub-committees to identify areas of need and create an action plan.

Our second meeting will be held on February 9, 2023 at 6:30.

Current committee members will receive an email from Melissa Corona this week. If you are interested in joining, please email Melissa at

See this link for November meeting agenda and minutes including a link to the presentation:

From the Curriculum & Instruction Team

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How to talk to someone with hearing loss

Some environments are much easier for communication for people who are hearing impaired. Here are some things you can do to ensure the environment is perfect for communication:

  • Make sure the room has enough lighting. People with hearing loss often rely upon lip reading, facial expressions, speech reading, body language and gestures to supplement their remaining hearing and improve communication.
  • Pick a place that has minimum background noise. Though our ears and brain are able to filter out background noise in most situations, people with hearing loss often have a difficult time hearing over excessive noise. Keep in mind that small rooms with no carpeting or curtains tend to have poor acoustics and can distort voices.
  • Make it easy to see everyone's faces. If you will be in a group setting, choose a location—or if you're at a restaurant, a round table —where the person with hearing loss will have visual access to everyone's faces to facilitate better communication.

Here are a few examples of using the above tips to pick an appropriate environment for communication:

  • If you're planning a dinner out, pick a restaurant that you know has ample lighting, does not play loud music and has decent acoustics. Choose a restaurant that you have been to before, where you know the noise levels do not get too loud. Another good tactic is to select an off-time: Rather than having dinner at 7 p.m. on Friday or Saturday night—the busiest dinner hours—opt instead for a late lunch or early dinner, between the hours of 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. when restaurants are likely to be the least busy.
  • During a group gathering at your home, if you'd like to have a conversation with a friend or family member with hearing loss, invite him or her to speak in a different, quieter room. Turn off the TV and any other sources of noise.

For more information about explaining a hearing loss:

Getting started with Google Read&Write

Learn how to access and use Google Read&Write with your child.

Getting started with Google Read&Write (Spanish)

Learn how to access and use Google Read&Write with your child. Instructions in Spanish!

From the Compliance Team

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How Teachers Determine Goals

All students who receive special education services must have at least one measurable annual goal. The ARD committee must develop the goals from an area of need described in the Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP).

Steps teachers take to write a goal:

  1. Collect data to determine the students strengths and weaknesses.
  2. Document the data in the PLAAFP
  3. The "baseline" indicates how the student is doing with a particular skill. If the "baseline" is 25%, this is a weakness. If the "baseline" is 85%, this could be a strength.
  4. Teacher will choose an area of need (weakness) to work on with the student to turn into a strength. For example, the student is adding 2 digit numbers with only 25% accuracy. The goal will be written to INCREASE the accuracy from 25% to something that is reasonably attainable for the student in one year (maybe from 25% to 70%).

It is important to note that not all goals are intended to INCREASE accuracy by a percentage. Sometimes the goal is written to DECREASE errors and/or even behavior. Here are some examples of goals a teacher may write:

By the next annual ARD, given a 4th grade story prompt and 30 minutes to write, Sara will write a 3 paragraph essay using transition words in sentences and between paragraphs with 5 or fewer errors in usage.

By the next annual ARD, given a visual prompt, the student will use visual cues to communicate choice instead of hitting in 4 out of 5 opportunities.

By the next annual ARD, given counters, the student will add and subtract single digit numbers with 70% accuracy in 3 out of 4 opportunities.

Teachers write SMART goals for students. SMART goals are SPECIFIC Goals that are MEASUREABLE, ATTAINABLE, REALISTIC, and TIME-BOUND.

ARD Facilitators:

Amy Mulvihill: Buda, Hemphill

Alena Sapp: Blanco Vista, Elm Grove

Ann Valdespino: Fuentes

Nancy Davis: Science Hall, Tom Green

Cynthya Herzog: Camino Real, Uhland

Mary Jo Webber: Negley

Lisa Bell: Tom Green (RDSPD), Pfluger

Rachel Gomez: Kyle, Tobias

Missy Haley: Carpenter Hill, Sunfield

Yvonne Schneider: Barton

Christina Miranda: Chapa

Bridgette Gatzert: Dahlstrom

Helen Garcia: McCormick

Michele Castillo: Simon

Ali Tison: Wallace

Sheila Morgan: Johnson HS

Amanda Brown: Hays HS, Live Oak

Stephanie Rodriguez: Lehman HS

From the Psychological Services Team

Special Education Evaluation Timelines

What can you expect when you have referred your child or the school has referred your child for a special education evaluation.

From the Behavior Team

Manifestation Determination

The Consideration of Disability

A child with a disability typically face the same disciplinary actions as every other student, including suspensions. Having a 504 Plan or an IEP means that special considerations may apply to disciplinary actions the school can take in certain circumstances, which gives kids with disabilities additional rights.

Anytime a decision has been made to change a child’s placement in response to a disciplinary issue the IEP team should go through the Manifestation Determination process to consider whether the behavior was due to the child’s disability.

When should a manifestation determination be held for a child with a 504 Plan or IEP?

It is important for parents to understand the way a “change in placement” is defined. A change of placement could include a few different circumstances:

  • when the team decides to move a student to a different type of classroom for more support (like a smaller classroom setting),
  • when a child is suspended for more than 10 days in a row, and
  • when a child has been suspended for a few days at a time on multiple occasions for similar behaviors that add up to 10 or more days in a school year.

What is included in the manifestation determination process?

Two questions must be answered in the manifestation determination process:

  • Was the child’s behavior caused by, or did it have a “direct and substantial relationship to” the child’s disability? or
  • Was the behavior the direct result of a failure on the part of the school, district, or AEA to implement the student’s IEP?

For more information:

From the Transition Team

Project SEARCH is for students graduating from high school. Student spend year interning at Ascension Seton Hays Hospital in Kyle. During the intern year, students get to try different job opportunities. Students graduate from the program in May most often with a job offer from the Hospital.

Join us at Open House on February 7, 2023 at 6:30 PM inside the main entrance of Seton Hays. Please email for more information.

Contact Us, Special Education Department 512-268-8250

Michelle Velasquez
Executive Officer Special Education

Melissa Corona

Director of Special Education

DeAnn Hoschek

Coordinator of Psychological Services

Erica Renger
Coordinator of District Program Management Software,
Medicaid, and ARD Facilitators

Jennifer Welma
Coordinator of Motor Services

Margarita Limon-Ordonez
Coordinator of Speech Services, Assistive Technology, Visually Impaired Service

Brenda Bondurant
Coordinator of Special Education Curriculum & Instruction

Patricia Esteves
Coordinator of Special Education Behavior Services

Shelli Cervenka
Coordinator of Early Childhood Services and Elementary Specialized Classrooms

Victoria Trevino

Coordinator of RDSPD program