The Autumn 2013 PSI Paradigm is now available

Articles in this magazine include “The 4th R”, Fostering Resiliency in Special Education Students, Overcoming the Impossible – a reflection on stuttering, Advancements in Autism Science.  Click Here to download the most recent version of our educational magazine.

What Do We Do To Prevent School Violence?

photo_boy_holding_headWhat do we do to prevent school violence?

The following PSI Webinar, The Minds of School Shooters-  Effective Strategies for Addressing and Preventing School Violence was recently presented by PSI. This webinar was given by PSI and Dr. Scott Poland.  Dr. Poland is a world-renowned expert on school safety and violence prevention.  He has personally responded to 13 school shootings and has authored several books and articles on school safety, youth violence, bullying and suicide.   The webinar is now available to stream online.  

PSI hosted a workshop on Human Trafficking. Is this really happening in my school?

The speaker was Sr. Anne Victory, HM, MSN; Education Coordinator: The Collaborative Initiative to End Human Trafficking.

  • Do you know the red-flags students may exhibit if they are victims?
  • How does this affect your school achievement, school safety, attendance and other important factors?
  • What community resources are available to help your school?

Right now in Ohio, more than 2,000 school-age children are potentially at risk of being forced into human trafficking through exploited labor, domestic servitude or prostitution. Children, especially those not living with their parents, are especially vulnerable. The average entry age into the commercial sex market is 12-14, although it is not unusual for the age to be younger.  Traffickers may use girls to recruit other girls at schools and after-school programs, or involve school age boys in gaining and betraying the trust of potential victims. Educators have an opportunity to help identify and guide youth who display risky behaviors to receive appropriate community supports and services. (   For more information from PSI to assist you in learning more about this issue please contact

PSI lost its co founder, dear friend and colleague Don Wonderly this past week. Read more…

Don Wonderly

It is difficult to overstate the impact Dr. Don Wonderly had on the lives of so many in Ohio while he was a school psychologist, a KSU Professor, an OSPA President, a co business owner of PSI that continues today to provide jobs to hundreds of school psychologists impacting the lives of tens of thousands of Ohio children.

Don challenged the establishment; intellectually, professionally and collegially to change its focus, its priorities and its mission. In many, many ways he was incredibly successful in motivating his students who became leaders in a variety of fields impacting children, Ohio families and educational institutions for generations.

He was brilliant, prophetic, prolific and incredibly multi talented in the university post – graduate classroom, in the music world and even in the kitchen as a gourmet cook. His students and friends long remember the fantastic gatherings at dinners and beyond that were full of great fun, incredible conversation and wonderful people.

His impact on me continues to this day in many, many ways. I will always be indebted to him and to all that he taught me for the many years we were associated. During the last few years we drifted apart as life took us in different directions. But it is the rare day I do not think of him and his lovely family as being one of the most important and long lasting influences on my life. We will all miss you Don!

Steve Rosenberg
President, PSI


PSI lost its co founder, dear friend and colleague Don Wonderly this past week.   Don was a pioneer, innovator and tireless proponent of children services to children on both the state and national stage.

In Memoriam: Dr. Donald M. Wonderly (1920-2013): Donald MacKay Wonderly, Ph.D., was one of the founders of the Kent State University SPSY program, having begun at KSU in 1963 with a grant-funded program to train school psychologist with prevention-foci. He died as the fall 2013 academic term began, aged 93.

Don anticipated RTI/MTSS/PBIS by about 50 years! In many ways he was a catalyst for creating a space for prevention initiatives in school psychology, an emphasis later championed by his students and others. Don served not only KSU but also school psychology in Ohio, including his term as OSPA President in 1962-63. Following his presidency, Don served as OSPA’s program chair for a short period, and then as its first executive secretary from 1963 to 1967. Don’s service to OSPA was rewarded with OSPA’s first Honorary Life membership in 1967.

Don was influential in co-creating a ‘market’ for school psychologists to work in alternative settings through developing, with several of his students, a business-enterprise (PSI) that hired school psychologists as prevention-specialists in parochial and private schools in Ohio. After he left for retirement PSI (named after the KSU Program Don started ‘Prevention: System Intervention’) continues to this present day.

I knew him in his later years as a trainer at KSU, in which we overlapped. He was a curmudgeonly, inquisitive, intellectual-irritant ― always questioning practices to make sure that face-valid but incorrect presumptions did not become a gold standard. Don never let a wrong-idea die naturally; he always wanted to make sure it was dead and deeply buried and that everyone knew it. Don was self-assured…he knew his ideas were correct and advocated tirelessly for their implementation ~ never did the words “On the one hand, and on the other hand…” ever pass his lips.

He was a good friend to school psychology practitioners and his inspiration lives.

Caven S. Mcloughlin, September 2013





PSI represented at the Annual TESOL Conference


Recently chosen to present workshops at the Ohio Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Annual Conference were Kay Almy and Sharon Hamad, PSI ESL staff.

ESL professionals throughout Ohio attend this annual conference. The two presented well received workshops entitled ESL Best Practices (Only The Best For Our ELLS) and ESL/Core Teacher Collaboration– Working Together To Service ELLs in the Regular Classroom. The need for the content for both of these workshops has evolved from requests by PSI partner schools that utilize PSI ESL services.  The PSI ESL service area is continually expanding, responding to the changing demographics in our schools and assisting them in complying with Limited English Proficiency requirements under No Child Left Behind. Our programs implement ESL Best Practices so that students exit from the OTELA program as quickly as possible. PSI ESL services that are available include trained ESL staff, both specialists and aides, to meet the needs of each school.

In addition to working directly with ESL students, there is on-going reporting and communications with the classroom teacher and administration to ensure collaboration of efforts, particularly in regard to lesson-planning and student achievement. As needed, PSI provides staff workshops to review ESL Basics, ESL Myths and Musts, and provide classroom teachers with techniques to assist their ESL students in the mainstream classroom. PSI will formally and informally assess the

English language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) of each Limited English Proficient student throughout the school year, and to provide teachers and administrators information about each student’s specific strengths and weaknesses.

by Sharon Hamad

An Outcast Becomes a Rainmaker

lisagreeenePSI’s Lisa Greene, RN, is a busy woman! Working at Roxbury Elementary School in Solon as District Nurse, she oversees a large health team in Solon City Schools.

A typical day would see her as a resource for people who have concerns about the health of students. “If it means going to a school, I go. I check on schools routinely, working in conjunction with the District Officials and the principals of seven schools.” Lisa is at the center of a wheel whose spokes include students, teachers, staff, parents, administrators and community leaders.

During the summer of 2010, Lisa and husband Matt were part of a group of 23 that visited Uganda for 2 ½ weeks to establish a free rudimentary health clinic.

Matt, one of the non-medical people on the trip, served as photographer. The clinic was set up in the village of Kabingo, with the news quickly spreading through wordof- mouth.

Pictured above, from left to right: Mackline, Lisa and Marie

Kabingo is a place with mud houses, very little schooling for children, rampant diseases and health problems, and no running water or electricity. Free medical help was a gift from the skies, with hundreds of people walking all day and then patiently waiting in long lines for their turn.

“One day my eyes locked on Mackline, a 13-year-old girl whose face had been mauled by a wild boar when she was eleven months old. Her first question to me was: ‘Could you help me?’”

Lisa did. After over a year, a plan was patched through to get Mackline and an interpreter named Maria passports, visas, and arrangements for four surgeries at Shriner’s Hospital in Cincinnati. In the ensuing year, Mackline and Maria lived at the Greene household in Hudson, with Mackline attending East Woods Elementary School as a Special Education student. While growing six inches and gaining 40 pounds, Mackline learned the basics we take for granted: colors, the alphabet, how to read, numbers, even watching television. The Hudson community was fantastic, constantly donating clothes and holiday costumes, with numerous invitations for sleepovers, playdates, birthday parties and holiday celebrations. One family agreed to sponsor Mackline in a private boarding school in Uganda for ten years!

Since returning to Uganda, a new wing has been added to Mackline’s private elementary school through charitable donations. “I grew to love this little girl who had so much to offer and give to this world,” Lisa adds. “The little outcast became a rainmaker here in Hudson, OH and then in Uganda.”

When fully grown, Mackline can return for further surgery at Shriner’s Hospital, again at no cost.

These are the kind of wonderful people that both Solon City Schools and PSI hire.  We are proud to be associated with Lisa and the Solon Schools.

PSI’S Prevention & Intervention Initiatives

PSI prevention and intervention services have been implemented in over 200 schools yearly throughout Ohio, have touched the lives of more than 100,000 students throughout the years.  Research-based programs are offered for all grade levels, K through 12, and can be designed for a wide array of time parameters, including after school. These are both nationally recognized programs and unique PSI programs, with the curriculum and trained professionals to give personalized attention to gain success.

Learn more about PSI’s prevention and intervention initiatives.

Healthy is as Health Does

PSI has introduced some innovative nutrition programs for healthy living with the children we serve.  Healthy eating can stabilize children’s energy, sharpen their minds, and even out their moods.  While peer pressure and TV commercials for junk food can make getting kids to eat well seem impossible, there are steps parents can take to instill healthy eating habits without turning mealtimes into a battle zone.  By encouraging healthy eating habits now, you can make a huge impact on your children’s lifelong relationship with food and give them the best opportunity to grow into healthy, confident adults.

Bilingual Services Now Offered

PSI is now offering bilingual services to those students who are truly non-English speaking. Typically, most students have a basic knowledge of English, but some have little to none at all.
To understand what is spoken in the classroom, support services beyond inclusion in PSI’s English Language Learner (ELL) or English as a Second Language (ESL) programs is crucial.    Read more

Improving Reading Is Easier Than You Think!

Helping Children to Read.

Let PSI help your school with Reading Programs.

Despite our best efforts, we still have students who struggle in reading. Approximately 33% of our 4th grade students read at a level considered “below basic.” Clearly, we need new ways to think about delivering effective reading instruction for struggling readers.  Reading is highly correlated with academic success. Poetry is often overlooked as one engaging way to boost literacy in the struggling reader. The brevity, predictable and rhythmical structure, and rhyme embedded in most poetry allows even struggling readers to learn to read an entire poem easily and in a relatively short period of time. The confidence that comes from mastering a text and performing it for an audience can help develop in students the sense of self-efficacy that is also associated with proficient reading.

And although we recognize that many teachers continue to use poetry regularly in their classrooms, we see less and less time devoted to poetry as the instructional emphasis shifts in the elementary grades to narrative and informational texts. Perhaps it is time to revisit poetry – especially with struggling readers.

Working with Struggling Second and Third Graders

One way to utilize poetry as a supplemental intervention during the academic year and the summer break is to provide additional exposure to poetry. This use of poetry was explored as a main text for providing supplemental summer intervention for 10 second and 15 third grade students previously experiencing significant difficulty in achieving proficient levels of reading. Groups of two to four students worked with one teacher during a 90-minute instructional block. The primary goal of the instructional block is for each child to learn to fluently read a new poem each day. Developing literacy through poetry instruction was built around the Fluency Development Lesson (FDL).

(Rasinski, 2010) which is a daily lesson that integrates research-based elements of fluency and word identification instruction into an authentic purpose for reading. Each lesson involves the teacher modeling the poem for students, students reading the poem chorally with the teacher, practicing the poem independently with a partner or two, and then performing the poem for classmates and other audiences.

Did Poetry Help Students in Reading?

Over the course of our 5-week (19 instructional days) summer reading clinic students learn a poem each day resulting in improved word recognition from 90 .2% to 94 .6%; fluency improved from 65 .8 words correct per minute to 78 .4 wcpm . Similar gains were also found in comprehension. Clearly, one small-scale study such as this does not provide conclusive evidence that practicing and performing poetry leads to improved reading. Still, the results are compelling. (For the complete article and further references, please contact Dr . Rasinski: trasinsk@kent .edu). 

Timothy Rasinski & Belinda Zimmerman, Kent State University

Reference: Rasinski, T . V . (2010) . The Fluent Reader . New York: Scholastic .