Stephanie Carlson’s Biggest Loser Challenge!

Stephanie Carlson’s Biggest Loser Challenge!
Stephanie Carlson, PSI Registered NurseParadigmJan2016A

PSI’s Registered Nurse Stephanie Carlson has started her annual biggest loser contest between several Horizon/Concept Schools: Denison Elementary Cleveland, Denison Middle Cleveland and Noble Academy Euclid. Who will be the biggest Loser?

This year the team names were chosen as follows: Denison Elementary Team Waisting Away; Denison Middle School Team Losing It; and Noble Academy Team Lean Cuisine.

The competition begins this week and runs for a total of 10 weeks. Principals from each of the three schools have signed up to join their team.  Each participant pays a registration fee of $5.  Participants must weigh-in on the same scale in the school clinic each week in front of the nurse. There is a $1 penalty each week that you do not weigh-in, $1 if you gain or $1 if you stay the same.  There are 33 participants registered this year.

The team with the biggest percentage of weight loss at the end of the 10 weeks wins the piggy bank or should I say they take home the bacon.  The team has the option of going out to eat, ordering food in or simply dividing the money among their team members.

Formula used each week: (initial weight-actual weight)/initial weight)x100=%weight loss.

Stephanie began this program a few years ago in her schools as a fun activity for staff as they return from winter break.  The program helps to encourage exercise, healthy food choices and weight loss for staff.  Each week e-mails are sent out with reminders and fun healthy facts for the week.

There will be a weekly skinny cow for each school. This individual will stand out by losing the biggest percentage for their team that week. They will receive a skinny cow certificate and skinny cow candy bar as motivation to keep losing and for a job well done.  In years past, this competition has been a huge success and a lot of fun for teachers and administrators.

Stephanie, along with her three schools, is really looking forward to seeing the results from all the motivation and hard work of her teammates. Which school will be this years’ biggest loser?

If you have any questions on how to run a biggest loser contest at your schools, please contact the PSI health staff at your school or at the PSI office and we can tell you how to get started.


Helping Children Cope with Terrorism

All of us at PSI have been distressed and saddened by the on-going national and world events involving terrorism and other mass killings. Our partner schools often come to us for advice on properly communicating with students about these tragic events. We are aware that you want to individualize your school’s response, but we thought the following information from the National Association of School Psychologists might be of help. Please let us know if we can guide you in any way as we all navigate these turbulent times. As always, we thank you for your continued support of PSI.


Talking to Students About Terrorism

Due to the recent incidents of terrorism in Paris, children may turn to educators with questions and need support.  Our students may have known someone who has been affected by these recent incidents or other acts of violence.  They may be worried about a loved one who lives in an area where a terrorist act or threat has been made.  Our students may develop stress and anxiety due to media coverage of these incidents.  Some of our students may even be unfairly stigmatized due to a perceived resemblance of perpetrators who have enacted violence.

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) has provided to the public access to a variety of resources regarding school safety and violence.  A recent article posted by NASP, entitled Helping Children Cope with Terrorism – Tips for Families and Educators, may be useful for you in your schools.  Below is a summary of ways you can help support your students who are processing their thoughts and feelings regarding terrorism.  Please note that it is important to discuss your involvement in addressing these sensitive issues with your school administrator in order to ensure that your service aligns with their school policies and best meets the needs of the students.

Tips for Families & Educators:

1)    Be Conscious of Your Reactions – Children take their emotional cues from the significant adults in their lives. Avoid appearing anxious or overly frightened.

2)    Reassure children they are safe – Point out evidence that support this.

3)    Remind them that trustworthy people are in charge – Explain that emergency workers, police, firefighters, doctors, and the government are helping people who are hurt and are working to prevent this from happening in the future.

4)    Let children know that it is okay to feel upset – Explain that all feelings are okay.  Let children talk about their feelings in a safe and open environment.

5)    Tell children the truth – Don’t try to pretend that the event has not occurred.  Children will be worried if they think you are afraid to tell them what is happening.  It is a good idea to discuss ways to deliver this message to students in a developmentally appropriate way with the school administrators.

6)    Stick to the facts – Don’t embellish or speculate about what has happened or where another attack might occur.

7)    Be careful not to stereotype people or countries that might be associated with the violence – Talk about tolerance and justice versus vengeance.  Stop any bullying or teasing immediately.

8)    Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate – Early elementary children need brief, simple information that should be balanced with reassurances that the daily structures of their lives will not change. Upper elementary and early middle school children will be more vocal in asking questions about whether they truly are safe. They may need assistance separating reality from fantasy. Upper middle school and high school students will have strong and varying opinions about the causes of violence and threats to safety in schools and society. They will share concrete suggestions about how to make school safer and how to prevent tragedies in society. They will be more committed to doing something to help the victims and affected community.

9)    Maintain a “normal” routine – To the best extent possible, stick to a normal classroom routine, but don’t be inflexible. Children may have a hard time concentrating on schoolwork or falling asleep at night.

10) Monitor or restrict exposure – Monitor exposure to all forms of media, including social media. For older children, caution against accessing news coverage from only one source.

11) Observe children’s emotional state – Depending on their age, children may not express their concerns verbally.  Changes in behavior, appetite, and sleep patterns can also indicate a child’s level of grief, anxiety or discomfort.  Children will express their emotions differently. There is no right or wrong way to feel or express fear or grief.

12) Be aware of children at greater risk – Children who have a connection to this particular event, have had a past traumatic experience or personal loss, suffer from depression or other mental illness, or with special needs may be at greater risk for severe reactions than others.

13) Provide an outlet for students’ desire to help – Consider making get well cards or sending letters to the families and survivors of the tragedy, or writing thank you letters to doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals as well as emergency rescue workers, firefighters and police.

14) Keep lines of communication open between home and school – Schools are a good place for children to experience a sense of normalcy. Being with their friends and teachers is helpful. Schools should inform families about available resources, such as talking points or counseling, and plans for information sharing and discussions with students.

15) Monitor your own stress level – Don’t ignore your own feelings of anxiety, grief, and anger. Talking to friends, family members, religious leaders, and mental health counselors can help. It is okay to let your children know you are sad, but that you believe things will get better. You will be better able to support your children if you can express your own emotions in a productive manner. Get appropriate sleep, nutrition, and exercise.

To access the full version of the article Click Here.

Legislation Update: Asthma Inhalers House Bill 39

Stock Asthma Inhalers for Schools  House Bill 39 goes into effect Feb 1st

The full text of the bill may be found at on “View Current Version”)..  Please look for the underlined sections to see the new language added by this law. You may also find the new text at and enter the sections cited below.

A few key features of the law are noted below for your information:

  • The act updates several sections of the law, including:
  • The act does not require schools to have asthma inhalers, but sets out requirements to be followed for those that choose to have them
  • .7113 addresses The board of education of each city, local, exempted village, or joint vocational school
  • 7114 addresses governing authority, a chartered or nonchartered nonpublic school
  • 144 addresses governing authority, a community school
  • 30 addresses  governing body, a STEM school
  • 30 addresses board of trustees, a college-preparatory boarding school

The entities listed above:

  • MAY  procure asthma inhalers for each school operated by the district to have on the school premises for use in emergency situations
  • Are encouraged to maintain, at all times, at least two asthma inhalers at each school operated by the district
  • MUST adopt a policy governing their maintenance and use…. with a licensed health professional authorized to prescribe drugs
  • The policy shall be a prescriber-issued protocol specifying definitive orders for asthma inhalers and the dosages of medication to be administered through them and shall:
  • Identify the one or more locations in each school…in which an asthma inhaler must be stored
  • Specify the conditions under which an asthma inhaler must be stored, replaced, disposed of and how often it may be used
  • Specify the individuals… in addition to a school nurse…[or] an athletic trainer…who may access and use an asthma inhaler to provide a dosage of medication to an individual in an emergency situation
  • Specify any training that employees…must complete before being authorized to access and use an asthma inhaler
  • Identify the emergency situations…employees…may access and use an asthma inhaler
  • Specify that assistance from an emergency medical service provider must be requested immediately after an asthma inhaler is used
  • Specify the individuals, in addition to students, school employees or contractors, and school visitors, to whom a dosage of medication may be administered through an asthma inhaler in an emergency situation
  • May accept donations of asthma inhalers from a wholesale distributor…and may accept donations of money from any person to purchase asthma inhalers
  • Shall report to the department of education each procurement and occurrence in which an asthma inhaler is used from a school’s supply of asthma inhalers
  • The act updates 4729.51 to allow wholesale distributors to donate asthma inhalers to schools and allows schools to possess them
  • Addresses liability


New Brief from NCSSLE on School-Based Physical Fitness

New Brief from NCSSLE on School-Based Physical Fitness:  Its Link to Student Academic Outcomes and Improved School Climate

The National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE) just released a new brief, School-Based Physical Fitness and the Link to Student Academic Outcomes and Improved School Climate, outlining the growing body of evidence related to the value of school-based physical fitness. The brief outlines research suggesting that physical activity (PA) and physical education (PE) programming offered within the context of the school day are not only essential for children’s healthy development, but are positively linked to children’s academic achievement. In addition the report indicates that, when carefully designed and implemented, these activities have the potential to positively impact school climate and conditions for learning in schools. To read the learning brief, click here.

Kahoot it!!!!

The following is an article written by Dorinda Contreras describing the use of fun teaching tool
that can be applied to many of the PSI discipline areas…

How do I Kahoot it? My Glory! What is a Kahoot? How can I use it in my classroom? Will it be so complicated I will just say, “What the Kahoot! It looks like fun, but it is far too complicated for me!”  Well, in an effort to integrate technology into my classes, I have begun to use Kahoot. If you are unfamiliar with Kahoot, let me introduce one of the most interactive learning platforms I have seen yet. Kahoot offers a free, understandable way to produce quizzes and discussion for classes.


Students participate and compete using individual computers and the teacher’s computer or smart board. Kahoot quizzes appear as a game show where students must guess the answer within a limited amount of time. There is fabulous music and a ticking that adds to the suspense. There is immediate feedback showing who was correct, who earned the most points, and of course, most importantly from the student perspective, who is in the lead. All of this leads to laughs, groans, and unsuspected learning!

Kahoot can be used to review already taught idioms and grammar structures such as the past participle. Vocabulary can be taught through the use of uploaded clip art and photos.

Students get involved and excited. I have seen students so excited they are on their feet as if it were a Wii or Playstation game! Students I have never seen move or respond are on their feet and excited about learning. In my end of the year evaluation students were asked to draw or write about something they enjoyed in ESL class. The vast majority mentioned Kahoot as a way they had enjoyed class, but had learned at the same time. It was a great way to end the year. While all the other classes were boring and sitting watching movies, ESL students were having a blast learning to the end thanks to Kahoot!



  1. Pasta discipline.

This technique starts with a large jar and a few boxes of macaroni—small elbow macaroni works best. When students are all working together well or independently on a task, grab a handful of macaroni and dump it into the jar as a reward. When the jar is full, the students have earned an agreed-upon reward. Possible rewards: Free activity time, a night or two without homework, or an ice-cream party.ParadigmArticle3

  1. Sh-h-h-h-h!

If students are a little talky, you might take advantage and whisper an instruction that begins “If you can hear my voice and (give an instruction), you can have ten minutes of free time at the end of the day.” The beginning of the whispered statement will get the attention of some or many students. Give the instruction just once; those who don’t give you their immediate attention or miss what you say because they were talking too loudly miss out on the reward.

  1. Three strikes!

Each student starts out the week with three index cards. The blank sides of the cards have their names printed in large letters. If a student disrupts or breaks a rule, instruct the student to write on the lined side of the card (on the first available line) the date and the disruptive behavior. Then the student must drop that card in the fishbowl at the front of the room. Establish a reward for students who still have three cards at the end of the week and consequences for those who have two, one, or no cards left. The next week, the students get their three cards back and start fresh. The cards also serve as a record when report card time comes or when a parent conference must be arranged.


Write the word RESPECT on the board at the start of each week. Each time the class gets out of hand or is off-task enough to be disruptive, put a big X through one of the letters. The class will have discussed and agreed in advance on the rewards and consequences for “keeping” or “losing RESPECT” during the week. Other words—such as REWARD, BEHAVE, or the name of the school&*212;might work as well. You can extend or shorten the time frame, depending on class goals.

  1. Bell work.

Many teachers provide “bell work”—activities that students jump into as soon as the bell rings to signal the start of the school day. Such assignments get the day off to a purposeful start by focusing kids’ energies and attention. The activity might be written on the board; it might be a review of a skill taught the day before. Other teachers might expect students to come in each day and spend the first ten minutes writing in their journals; there might be a question on the board to prompt those students who can’t think of anything to write. One teacher posted a Daily Numbers sign (from the state’s lottery game by the same name) in the back of the room. Students walk into the classroom and go immediately to the back of the room to grab their “daily numbers”—a half-sheet of ten math problems that review math operations and a variety of other concepts including measurement, telling time, and money. As the students finish the work, they get immediate reinforcement or correction. When they finish their daily numbers, they start right in on the day’s work. When the teacher finishes correcting everybody’s math problems, the morning meeting begins.

  1. The buddy room.

Many teachers use the “buddy room” concept. Two teachers agree to be buddy room partners. This works best if the buddying teachers are in adjacent rooms. If a student is being disruptive, the teacher takes the student to the buddy room. There a special seat is assigned for such circumstances. Nothing needs to be said; the student heads directly to that seat. Some teachers leave the student there until he or she is ready to return to class; at that point, the student raises a hand and the buddy teacher takes the student back to class at the first opportunity. Other teachers leave a stack of “think sheets” in the desk in the buddy room; the offending student completes a think sheet—which has places for the student to describe what he or she was doing wrong, the effects the behavior had on the class, and what he or she will do to correct the behavior.

  1. Behavior book.

On the first day of school, many teachers provide questionnaires for students to complete. The questionnaires collect important information—such as phone numbers, addresses, and the like—as well information about hobbies and other interests. Some teachers collect those sheets and keep them in a binder. Teachers who have multiple classes use simple notebook dividers to separate one class from another. When a student disrupts the class, breaks a class rule, or does something positive, the teacher reaches for the binder and jots a note on the back of that student’s questionnaire. Those notes serve as a record for grading or planning parent conferences. One teacher buys three-holed plastic sleeves and inserts each student’s questionnaire into a sleeve. She keeps a pile of scrap paper on her desk. Whenever a student does anything negative or positive, she scribbles a dated note on a piece of the scrap paper. At the end of the class period, she drops those notes into the students’ plastic sleeves. Those notes serve as a record of the student’s year.

Gary Hopkins

Education World® Editor-in-Chief

Copyright © 2010, 2015 Education World

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Two PSI employees will be presenting at the Ohio Catholic Education Association Annual Meeting

PSI’s Karen Heichel and Karen McKelvey will be presenting at the Ohio Catholic Education Association (OCEA) annual state conference on November 13, 2015. Karen Heichel will present on Learning About Mindfulness, and Karen McKelvey will present on Suicide Awareness and Prevention for Students- Complimentary Program Information.  PSI is proud to present  at this years conference.

Focus on Commitment: Rick Dillman

For the past 23 years Rick Dillman has been the Director of PParadigmArticle2upil Services for the Bedford School District. It has been a long journey in education that began 47 years ago, 1968 to be precise, when he began his career.

Having graduated Union College of Barberville, Kentucky with a degree in History and a minor in Psychology, Rick soon got a teaching position in special education in a small Kentucky town that didn’t even have a traffic light. His first administrative post came soon after as Director of Special Education for the Goosecreek Consolidated Independent School District of Kentucky, a locale that may not be too familiar for most of us.

As to how it happened that a youth with a History degree got to work with children with disabilities, Rick says, “I liked both history and working with kids. At the time, they needed a special ed teacher and I looked like I could do the job.”

With his long and varied background to draw upon, Rick’s advice to those who today are considering a career in education is to have a passion for teaching and a willingness to accept the rewards that kids will bring. “The rewards are simple and clear: showing that they’ve learned what you’ve taught them!” He adds, “It’s tougher now with all the accountability demanded at every turn. Testing is not the only way to evaluate the experiences of a child in the classroom. Evaluations are all done on computers, and not all students do well because of that.”

The Bedford School District is 85 percent African-American, with the administrative staff equally black and white. The district has 3,400 kids pre-K though 12, eighty percent of whom are from families that are under the poverty line.


For about fifteen years PSI has been involved, helping to staff Nursing, Clinic Aides, English as a Second Language and Child Abuse Training. “One of the things PSI has done for me is that when I put a new program in place, I can get the right people and quickly.

Rick’s accomplishments number being the Chair of the National Membership Council for Exceptional Children and President of the Ohio Association of Pupil Services Administration. Next year will probably be his last.

As with everything everywhere, the new technology has made its mark. While a lot of Bedford students don’t have PCs and keyboards, they do have iPhones and tablets. “Our schools have a wireless network. We have become a Google Application District, meaning kids get free Google accounts and storage that any device can access.”

What can be problematic about the job is that the buck stops at Rick’s desk when it comes to expulsions. “It happens more often than you like. It used to be mostly boys, but unfortunately that’s changing.” Most students return after being expelled for a certain amount of time.

Where is burnout in all this? “I don’t have that problem. I like what I do and I like the people. Besides, I’m an optimist and I enjoy the challenges.”


PSI is a proud sponsor of LifeAct’s 12th Annual Into the Light Walk

PSI is very proud to be one of the sponsors of such a fantastic event.  LifeAct brings awareness to our schools for recognizing teen depression, and preventing suicide.

LifeAct recently held it’s 12th Annual  Into the Light Walk, if you would like to find out more about lifeAct click here.  It is only about 4 minutes long, but it does a fabulous job of capturing the spirit and emotion of the evening.  Please feel free to share with others.

For more information on LifeAct, go to

PSI hosted a career event on June 10th, 2015

If you missed the event but still want to review what jobs we have available click here.

Come and Join us for our PSI Career Event on Wednesday, June 10, 2015 from 10a.m. to 2p.m. at The Crowne Plaza Hotel in Independence, OH.

PSI is looking for School Psychologists, Guidance Counselors, Education Specialists, PT and OTs, Speech and Language Pathologists, School Based Medical Professionals (RN, LPN, medical assistants and health aides) and English as a Second Language Teachers.

PSI offers full and part time positions, supportive team environment, a good work/life balance: school holidays & summers off, career development & ongoing learning opportunities, benefits for eligible employees, an excellent workplace for retirees.

Do you currently work at PSI, then refer a friend and you could be eligible for the refer-a-friend bonus.

Contact us today at careers@psi-solutions or visit us on June 10th!