FSSD Special Education News

Doing what's right for our students - one child at a time

October, 2015

After two months in school, I hope you have adjusted to your schedules are making great gains with your students.

I know many of you are enjoying Imagine Learning with our students with disabilities. I was fortunate to attend an Imagine Learning Forum last week where I learned more about this amazing company. Our 160 special education student licenses give our students the opportunity to use technology in order to achieve. Use it wisely and often. Share the results with me. I look forward to hearing about the success of our students! Remember: Technology doesn't build relationships. That's our job!

One of my favorite quotes from last week's forum: "Until we close the Engagement Gap, we won't close the Achievement Gap." Jim Worthen

Enjoy your fall break! Relax, recuperate and renew! Use it well!

Beth Herren


615.794.6624 - FSSD Central Office

615.472-3722 - Direct office line

615.554.4999 - personal cell phone


Congratulations to Renny Henry (PGMS) and Darrell Vanzant (FMS) who both recently received their BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) certification.They completed the graduate certificate program through Lipscomb University and Florida Institute of Technology respectively. 1500 supervision hours, supervised both directly and in-directly by a BCBA, gave them the experience and knowledge necessary to pass the board exam in August. I'm sure they also put in months of studying! Renny and Darrell waited (patiently) for about six weeks to receive the news of their certification. Congrats for the hard work and new credentials! We are all proud of you!
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Welcome to the FSSD Special Education Team!

Welcome Alaina Fox, Physical Therapy assistant. Alaina works with Martha Freeman to provide services for our students needing physical therapy.

Welcome back Kate Baker-McCormick, SLP for FIS and FMS while Kelley Jones is on maternity leave. She is assisted by Olivia Hollis.

Danette Cravens moved from Voluntary-PreK at MES into the special ed preschool position. We are thrilled she joined the special ed team.

Brittany Thomas is our School Psychology Intern this year. She is from the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL and plans to make this a permanent move into our area of Tennessee at the completion of her internship.


We look forward to our Professional learning day on the Monday following our Fall Break. Many of you are signed up for the Monitoring session with Diane Barber-Miller. After this day of professional learning, all special educators should have attended this training. Many of you participated in one of the two summer trainings. This abbreviated training is for anyone who did not attend a summer session. The monitoring will meet in room 811 at Freedom Middle School. Please bring your FSSD Sped Procedures manual.

Imagine Learning is also with us on this Professional Learning Day. If you received an email with your assigned time, please report to the Central Office Annex computer lab at either 8:00 or 12:30 for this day of Imagine Data!

The teachers of our students with the most severe disabilities will also meet on the 19th at PGES in room 200 to discuss the MSAA - Multi-State Alternate Assessment for ELA/Math and the portfolio for Science/Social Studies. Thanks for Genny Nash, Renny Henry and Amber Walsh for facilitating this session.

Both our SLPs and our School Psychologists will meet in the afternoon in their own district-wide PLCs.

If you are not attending the Monitoring (AM), Imagine Learning (either AM and PM) the MSAA (PM), the SLP or School Psychologist PLCs (PM), you have a choice from the course catalog through My Learning Plan. If you are in one of the designated groups, please check My Learning Plan to see if you are already entered.

Monitoring Update

Our monitoring begins immediately after fall break. The State has already pulled the student files they will monitor, and we have just been notified of the specific files. Because we are on Fall Break next week, we will begin the process on the 19th. The first step in the process is a "Self-Monitoring." A team of ten individuals will meet to learn the process and monitor the files. Once we have reviewed each file, made appropriate "fixes," and submitted our findings, the State will then review each file. The purpose of the monitoring is for districts to improve practices by writing appropriate IEPs and following proper procedures. Our deadline to have this process finalized is November 16th.

A huge thank you to Diane Barber-Miller, our resident expert on monitoring professional development. Diane will continue to serve as a resource for us to make sure IEPs are in compliance and reflect the appropriate present levels and goals. She is joined on the monitoring team by Kristi Jefferson, Betsy Bagsby-Disch, Fran Bucaric, Lydia Courson, Hanni Watson, Mary Kate Boston, Jenny Williams, Leigh Ann White, and Robin Wigant. Should one of these individuals need to "give up the crown," we have three alternates ready to assume the responsibilities. Our alternates are: Susan Nash, Jessica Chervenak, and Allison Rogers. Please thank all of these individuals for their service to our district during this monitoring process.

IEP Reminders

  • Upload your documents using PaperClip in EasyIEP - always and often
  • Make sure all current teachers have signed the IEP - including related arts/special classes
  • Make sure your present levels are organized by AREA and not by ASSESSMENT - See pages 11-12 of the 2015 Updates (For example, put all Reading Fluency information together - assessments and narratives) When we organize by area, we can determine if the entire present level is exceptional.
  • Read your manual!
  • If you have not already turned in your signed memo regarding the manual updates, please send it in the interoffice mail to Beth Herren

How do we teach resilience and grit?

It is never too early to teach our children/students independence. We all know how good it feels when we do something we didn't think we could do! Give our students the opportunity to feel that achievement! Life doesn't have many accommodations! Read the article below about how what we are doing today effects our students later in life.

Video: It just depends on how you look at things...

Imagine Learning: Easy

Important Upcoming Events

  • SPED Parent Meeting - Instructionally Appropriate IEPs - Tuesday, October 27 at 6:00 - Franklin Elementary Media Center (child care volunteers needed)
  • SPED Advisory Meeting - Thursday, October 29 3:30 PM - Central Office
  • SPED Parent Meeting - Sensory Concerns - Thursday, December 3 at 6:00 - Franklin Elementary Media Center (child care volunteers needed)


Please let me know if you are available for child care during our parent meeting on October 27th. We had a fantastic group of volunteers for our parent meeting last Spring, and I hope more of you will offer your expertise working with children for parents to attend this meeting knowing their child is in good hands. We will also need volunteers for the meeting on Thursday, December 3.
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After recently meeting with Special Education Supervisors across the middle TN area as well as in different parts of the country, I have been reminded how fortunate we are to work in a district where low student:teacher ratios are valued. Please be thankful for your low caseloads.
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