November Parent Letter

November 17, 2016

Dear Parents,

At the October 25th, 2016 CVSEC School Board Meeting a decision was made to seek a full time Special Education Director the the Cooperative to start as soon as possible. As the Cooperative grew last year from 2 districts to include 4 districts the need for a full time director became evident.

I am happy to announce that Lynn Krominga was offered the position as CVSEC Executive Director. We expect the Northfield School Board approval on November 28th, 2016, with her transition to the position beginning December 1st, 2016.

Many of you may already know Ms. Krominga. She is currently in the role of Assistant Director of Special Education for Northfield Public Schools.  She has been instrumental in helping with many aspect of the cooperative development and start-up.  Prior to this role, Lynn was the previous Coordinator of the Setting IV programs and the Secondary Transition Education Program (STEP) at the Cannon River Education Center. She has many years of experience teaching and working with a variety of students with special needs.  

We welcome Lynn in this new role as Executive Special Education Director of the Cooperative. Rob Dehnert and I will make every effort to help Lynn transition smoothly into this position. The cooperative member special education directors; Rob Dehnert, Wendy Cirksena , Julie Ladwig and I will support Lynn and continue in our roles to represent our resident students and families as we move forward.

Weather Related School Closing

As we enter into the season of winter weather I would like to remind families of the Weather Related Closing Procedures for the Cooperative. We want to ensure the safety of our students and staff. Please keep this information on had for reference.

Student Programming

1.    If any one of the member districts (Northfield, Faribault, Medford, or Owatonna) decide to cancel school due to poor weather, all CVSEC sites will close for student programming


2.    If any one of the member districts (Northfield, Faribault, Medford, or Owatonna) have a two-hour late start or an early release, all CVSEC sites will do the same.


3.    On Wednesdays (normally a one-hour late start for teacher Professional Learning Communities), a two-hour late start follows the same schedule as a two-hour late start on any other day of the week.

Please follow T.V. and Radio announcements for the four school districts on the following stations ( CVSEC will not be listed separately):  WCCO, Channel 4,  KSTP Channel 5, KARE 11 and your local radio stations and CVSEC Web page: http://www.cannonvalleyspecialed.org

We are also in the process of setting up the Skylert messaging system. Once you are signed up you will be able to choose to receive a direct messages about school closings and other announcements via voicemail, text and/or email. More information will be coming home soon about this option.

Please fill out this informational form for the school office to have on hand. This is especially needed for our elementary students and/or most vulnerable students.

Sincerely,
Cheryl Hall

Welcome to the 2016-17 School Year

Dear Students, Parents, Staff and Community Members,

Cannon Valley Special Education Cooperative, formerly CREC, has a long and rich history in our community strongly supported by the dedicated students, parents, staff and community members in the Faribault and Northfield communities. During the 2015-16 school year, Faribault and Northfield collaborated, along with Medford and Owatonna schools, to create a new special education cooperative named Cannon Valley Special Education Cooperative (CVSEC). Moving forward, starting this school year, Cannon Valley Special Education Cooperative will provide leadership to all off-site programs including the SUN Program at Laura Baker, STEP 18-21 program and Alexander Learning Academy, ALEX (formerly Reflections and Focus programs). These programs provide highly individualized learning experiences for students in kindergarten through age 21 identified as needing more structure, support and modifications than can be accommodated in the traditional academic setting.

At the Cannon Valley Special Education Cooperative, we seek a learning environment where parents, as primary educators of their children, actively participate alongside teachers to develop the unique gifts and talents of each individual child. Further, we create a safe, welcoming learning environment where students have high academic expectations and are provided with daily opportunities and support to develop and deepen their own social, emotional and mental health growth.

Parents, teachers, staff, students and a strong community partnership with Faribault Public Schools, Medford Public Schools, Northfield Public Schools and Owatonna Public Schools work in partnership to achieve Cannon Valley Special Education Cooperative’s mission to provide all students with opportunities necessary to be successful in their home, school and community in a safe and nurturing environment. As we start the new school year, we hope that you get a sense of who we are as a school community—one that is committed to a high quality, comprehensive academic program centered around recognizing each student’s individual gifts and talents, fostering a love of lifelong learning, the desire to develop social emotional skills and learning to serve our community.

As we transition to new leadership at Cannon Valley Special Education Cooperative for the 2016-2017 school year, we would like to formally introduce ourselves and affirm our commitment to maintain the educational excellence known to the Faribault and Northfield communities, as we welcome Medford and Owatonna communities and children. The leadership team consists of the following people:

  • Cheryl Hall will continue in her role as Director of Special Services in Northfield Public Schools and will be the Director of Cannon Valley Special Education Cooperative. Ms. Hall has over 30 years of experience in teaching and special education leadership, working with multiple districts in our cooperative. Phone: 507-645-3410/Email: chall@northfieldschool.org

  • Robert Dehnert will continue in his role as Director of Special Services in Faribault Public Schools and will be the Associate Director of Cannon Valley Special Education Cooperative this year. Mr. Dehnert has over 18 years of experience in special education leadership and was the director over the former CREC programs. Phone: 507-333-6004/Email: rdehnert@faribault.k12.mn.us

  • Tom White will be the Coordinator of the SUN at Laura Baker in Northfield and the STEP 18-21 program in Faribault. Mr. White has over 20 years of experience working with children and families. Phone: 507-366-1326/Email: twhite@cannonvalleyspecialed.org

  • Elizabeth Deen will be the Coordinator of Alexander Learning Academy in Faribault. Ms. Deen has over 15 years of experience in teaching and leadership. Phone: 507-209-2223/Email: edeen@cannonvalleyspecialed.org

News and Notes:

Cannon Valley Special Education Cooperative:

  • Programs: SUN Program at Laura Baker in Northfield, grades K-12, STEP 18-21 program in Faribault and Alexander Learning Academy in Faribault, grades K-12.

  • Membership districts: Faribault Public Schools, Medford Public Schools, Northfield Public Schools and Owatonna Public Schools.

  • CVSEC Board Meetings: On the fourth Tuesday of every month at 4:30 p.m., board meetings are held at the Faribault District office, located at 710 17th Street SW, Faribault, MN 55021. The board consists of Superintendents and one board member from each member district. The public is welcome to attend.

  • Website: https://cannonvalleyspecialed.org

Programs:

  • SUN Program at Laura Baker: Located at 211 Oak St. Northfield, MN. Phone: 507-366-1326. This is a highly structured and individualized program for students who have significant needs in the areas of: behavior, communication, self-regulation, mental health and academic assistance. The SUN Program at Laura Baker specializes in working with students who fall on the autism spectrum. The curriculum supports each student’s academic, social and emotional development, emphasizing the importance of working both independently and collaboratively with other students.

  • STEP 18-21: Located at Town Square, 201 Lyndale Ave. S, Faribault, MN. This is a new location and phone: (Will be announced soon). The focus of the STEP Program is to prepare students to live as independently as possible after their high school experience. This individualized program is designed for students ages 18-21 who have a current Individualized Education Plan (IEP) which demonstrates significant transition needs. There are four key components to the program: (1) Classroom Instruction, which offers courses that are designed to meet the unique needs of each student and help them obtain their high school diploma; (2) Practical Assessment Exploration System Lab, which helps students explore their work interests and skills and provides hands-on simulated work exploration and work behavior development; (3) Work Experience Opportunities, which matches students with work opportunities to help them further explore their interests and meet their educational needs; and (4) a Learning Lab, which provides students with access to a kitchen, laundry facilities and a living space to develop transition skills.

  • Alexander Learning Academy: Located at 128 8th Ave. NW Faribault, MN. Phone: 507-209-2223. This program serves students with significant social, emotional and behavioral needs. Students who qualify for mental health services are provided therapeutic support during their school day. Fernbrook Family Services staff work collaboratively within the school program.

Open House/Meet the Teacher:

  • All programs invite you and your family to an open house on Thursday, September 1, 2016 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. You will have an opportunity to see the buildings and meet the staff.  There will be light refreshments served.

Student/Family Handbook:

  • The Cannon Valley Special Education Cooperative will have a student handbook of policies and procedures which will be handed out at the open house.

Calendar, School Hours and Wednesday Late Start:

  • The first day of school is Tuesday, September 6, 2016.

  • Included in this letter is our school calendar. Cannon Valley Special Education Cooperative programs (SUN Program at Laura Baker, STEP 18-21 and Alexander Learning Academy) will follow the Northfield Public Schools calendar. Please note: even if Faribault, Medford or Owatonna schools have school, but Northfield doesn’t, we will not have school at our program that day. We will always follow Northfield Public Schools calendar.

  • School Hours

    • Alexander Learning Academy: 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.; Wed. 9 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.

    • SUN Program at Laura Baker: 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.; Wed. 9 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.

    • STEP 18-21: 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Wed. 9 a.m. 2:30 p.m.
       
  • Every Wednesday, school will have a late start and begin at 9 a.m. Please plan accordingly for student supervision. The buildings will open at 9 a.m.

Transportation:

  • Transportation is arranged through your resident district. Please check with your local school district about bus pick-up and drop-off times.
  • Transportation Contact Information
    • Northfield: Benjamin Bus: JoAnn Gilbert, Special Transportation - 507-645-5720

    • Faribault Transportation: Iliana Pinon, Transportation Specialist - 507-333-6001

    • Medford Transportation Company: Lorice Wilke - 507-456-6876.

    • Ow atonna Transportation Company: 507-451-5262  

Nursing Services:

  • Nursing services are available at each site, as required to meet individual student needs.

Fernbrook Mental Health Services:

  • Mental health services are available at Alexander Learning Academy to meet individual student needs.  Should you be interested in pursuing a mental health assessment, please contact Jacki Kerkow-Dohmen (jkerkow-dohmen@fernbrook.org)

School Lunch:

  • Alexander Learning Academy

    • Lunch is provided by Faribault Public Schools. Parents are encourage to  set up an electronic payment lunch account through the Faribault Public Schools website.

  • SUN Program at Laura Baker

    • Lunch is provided by Northfield Public Schools. Parents are encouraged to set up an electronic payment  lunch account through the Northfield Public Schools website. On the left side, click on the Parents and Students button. Then, choose the Make a Payment option—this will take you to the Create a Parent access account.

  • STEP 18-21
    • Students in this program bring their own lunch or will be provided a schedule when lunch will be prepared as part of the program.
    • Should you pay by check in your school’s office, please make it out to the appropriate school district, Faribault or Northfield Public Schools. Please include the student’s first and last name. Should you need Free or Reduced Price Lunch applications, they will be available at the open house or in the school office the first week of school.

  • Each school district sets their school lunch prices which can be found on the district website or in the CVSEC Handbook and will be available at the open house.
  • Look for a link to each district on our CVSEC website beginning August 30.

School Supply List:

Your student is welcome to bring basic school supplies, such as:

  • ALEX Elementary grades K-6: pencil box, 2 pens, 10 pencils, 4 folders, washable markers, glue stick, small scissors, kleenex box, 2 wide ruled notebooks, box of 24 crayons, pencil sharpener, ruler and a ream of copy paper.
  • ALEX Secondary grades 7-12: folder for each class, notebook for each class, pencil, pen, calculator, kleenex box and a ream of copy paper.
  • STEP 18-21: folder for each class, notebook for each class, pencil, pen, calculator, kleenex box and a ream of copy paper.
  • SUN Program at Laura Baker grades K-6: pencil box, 2 pens, 10 pencils, 4 folders, washable markers, glue stick, small scissors, kleenex box, 2 wide ruled notebooks, box of 24 crayons, pencil sharpener, ruler and a ream of copy paper.
  • SUN Program at Laura Baker grades 7-12: folder for each class, notebook for each class, pencil, pen, calculator, kleenex box and a ream of copy paper.

Lockers:

  • Students at the Alexander Learning Academy will have lockers in their homeroom classrooms to store their coat and belongings.

  • SUN Program and STEP 18-21 will have access to lockers in one location at each site.

Cell Phones and Other Electronics:

  • Cell phones and other electronics are not allowed on campus, unless given permission by their teacher. Students will store electronics in their locker, and they may be retrieved by the student at the end of the day, unless permission is granted by staff.

School Safe Zone:

  • The “locked door” policy for the safety of our children and the faculty will be in effect this year. The main entry will be in the front of the school, and entrance will be granted through a buzzer and intercom. All visitors are required to sign in at the office and receive a VISITORS PASS. Once again, we thank you for your cooperation as we continue this safety measure.

School Pictures:

  • School pictures will be scheduled to occur at the Alexander and SUN Programs this fall. More information will be available at the open house or the first week of school. Watch for details.

School Phone Numbers:

  • SUN Program at Laura Baker: 507-336-1326

  • STEP 18-21: Will be available soon!  

  • Alexander Learning Academy: 507-209-2223

We are busy getting each site ready for the school year, and our new phone numbers will be operational very soon. Please contact us by email or call the Northfield or Faribault Special Services offices listed below.

Welcome to another wonderful year! Let’s make this the B.E.S.T. year yet. Cannon Valley Special Education Cooperative’s goal this year is Building Excellence and Success Together (B.E.S.T) with you!

Sincerely,

Cheryl Hall
Director
507-645-3410
chall@northfieldschools.org

Robert Dehnert
Associate Director
507-333-6004
rdehnert@faribault.k12.mn.us

Tom White
Coordinator of SUN at Laura Baker and STEP 18-21 programs
507-366-1326
twhite@cannonvalleyspecialed.org

Elizabeth Deen
Coordinator of Alexander Learning Academy
507-209-2223
edeen@cannonvalleyspecialed.org