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MCSE Board

M.C.S.E.C. Board History

The Marathon County Children with Disabilities Education Board represents six rural districts in central Wisconsin and oversees a variety of programs for the Marathon County Special Education Consortium (M.C.S.E.C.) and has done so since 1957.  Our history reflects various activities and support provided to our partner districts on behalf of students with special education needs. Year-End Program Summaries provided by our staff reflect the ongoing activities, services, and responsible programming supports provided to our consortium districts. The information contained in this executive summary highlights and summarizes some of that work.

Standards-based I.E.P.s (Individual Education Plans) continue to be a cornerstone for ongoing staff training, focusing on data driven, outcomes-based growth for children with disabilities.  In addition to onsite administrative and special education support, M.C.S.E.C. continues to provide specialized services such as nursing, behavioral support, vocational/transition skills, technology support, occupational, and physical therapy, deaf/hard of hearing services.  In addition, Marathon County Special Education continues to partner with the county health department to provide vision and hearing screenings throughout Marathon County and Northwest Passage for mental health services/day treatment.

Our agency, in collaboration with our school districts, has sought to create capacity for an integrated system of support for all children around academics, engagement, and behavior and have taken steps to implement a multi-tiered system of support to better meet educational and behavioral needs.  Marathon County Special Education has provided guidance and training for implementing a model of problem-solving for school improvement so that services provided to districts will be sustainable, implemented with fidelity ensuring data based decisions with relevant and real-time data.

Prevention and early intervening services continue to be monitored by M.C.S.E.C.’s universal screenings in reading (DIBELS, PALS), math (cbmMath) and social-emotional behavior (b.e.s.t.).  The process has become streamlined and more efficient with the addition of online access for screening math and behavior.  Our third year of the Measures of Academic Progress (M.A.P. 2013-2014) will provide districts with historical benchmark data to support student matched instruction and documentation of student growth.  Support for local districts on the use of MAP as a growth measure has been provided to districts through the Northwest Evaluation Association (N.W.E.A.) and Marathon County Special Education.  Districts are on a path to establish systematic protocols for the use of student data.  As an agency, we have begun to put more focus on growth data for students with disabilities and will work in the coming year to be sure special education staff are accountable for student data and continue to use that data to direct instruction.

The 2014 Wisconsin Statutory changes to the eligibility criteria for learning disabilities placed particular emphasis on our staff on understanding, accessing and utilizing data to monitor student progress.  Staff knowledge and leadership in these areas have become critical to districts’ implementation of a ‘response to instruction’ model and overall school improvement.  On-site training and staff support have been initiated to provide teachers the necessary skills and resources for these ongoing program changes.

Marathon County Special Education's flagship conference, the Annual Institute on Educating Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities, which hosts nationally recognized experts, held its twenty-first Annual event in March with over 190 educators in attendance. We are continuing our educational awareness on seclusion and restraint by providing onsite and outreach training in Nonviolent Crisis Prevention and Intervention several times a year to our member schools as well as invited districts. Since 1994, we have provided ongoing research-based training to over 1000 school personnel regarding the appropriate use of school-based seclusion and restraint.

The M.C.S.E.C. Summer Academy has become a foundation for providing teacher training and professional development to all the staff of the consortium schools with internationally recognized trainers in specific content areas. July 2013 brought over 150 regular and special educators together experiencing three intensive days around explicit instruction and active student participation and engagement. We provided support for districts’ efforts to improve literacy instruction at all levels and spent time during the Academy to research evidenced-based academic and behavioral interventions that have been utilized to develop an online instructional resource.  These efforts have resulted in the Marathon County Special Education Intervention Guidebook LiveBinder providing teachers with a portal for accessing the tools necessary for multi-tiered instruction and intervention. 

Training for both Para-Educational staff and Health Assistants has expanded this year.  All instructional support personnel will be enrolled in online training modules with personalized coursework designed to support classroom and student assignments.  The second annual Health Skills Training will be held in August, providing our school nursing health assistants' with school health preparedness, updates, and hands-on skills practice.  Both training programs serve to ensure that support personnel meets criteria for maintaining ‘highly qualified’ staff that serve our students, staff, and schools.

Universal screening and training in behavior and social/emotional learning were expanded in our schools through grant funding for 2013-14.  The b.e.s.t., an online tool is now available for teachers to screen their students in fall and spring; reports generated from the screening provide guidance for supporting social and emotional learning.  The first School-Based Mental Health Summit sponsored by Marathon County Special Education in partnership with UW-Madison will be held in August 2014 to help schools identify mental health needs and integrate services to better support social and emotional learning.

Finally, each fall, M.C.S.E.C., and school district staff begin the school year with Multi-District Beginning of the Year Inservice presented by nationally recognized speakers.  This multi-district event began in 2005 bringing many distinguished presenters to our area. M.C.S.E.C.’s 9th Annual Multi-District beginning of the year in-service will be held in August and once again will bring together nearly 500 M.C.S.E.C. educators to receive an energizing welcome to the start of another school year focused on a tradition of high-quality educational services and high expectations for all staff and students.  

As an agency, we will continue to work toward improved collective capacity to reach and teach all children, defining what we value most, and emphasizing how attitude and perspective affect all that we do.  We want to challenge our collective staff to the highest levels of professional development and collaboration, and we will do it in a manner that recognizes the central and important strategic role that teachers play in a child’s educational life and future development.

Respectfully Submitted,

Kelly Kapitz, Ph.D.
Director of Special Education