5 - Stewards of Children Training

12 - Halstead Old Settlers Parade

14 - In-Service Training


22 - Michael Blackford

23 - Kathy Wiens

23 - Ray Strunk


How to Prepare Your Child with Special Needs
for the Back-to-School Transition

By: Anna Stewart,

Setting your child up for success includes identifying what sets him, like unexpected transitions, sensory triggers, work he perceives as being too hard (or sometimes too easy), desk mates that kick chairs, and needing to move around but not being allowed to do so. It’s also important to note what keeps your child on track. This might include knowing the environment and people he interacts with daily, and making sure the school understands your child’s diagnosis and/or learning needs.

Here’s how you can get the information that you need to make this coming school year successful:

Collect Data: School teams gather data, and you should as well. You can take notes on your child and then share the data with the teachers. Write down your child’s triggers and what strategies work for her. Include time of day, current activity, preceding activity, and when she ate, exercised and slept. During the school year, add information about how homework goes. You may need this data to negotiate fewer (or alternative) homework assignments. Having specific and measurable data gives parents and students more control, because they have the facts of the situation, and aren’t just relying on emotions.
Collect More Data: Besides what is happening in your child’s day, include the time it happens, frequency, intensity and duration of behaviors or concerns. It’s one thing to say, “He melts down all the time,” but it’s a whole lot more informative to say, “He cries for two minutes when asked to get ready to leave the house in the morning.” Expect school teams to also gather this data: it’s part of a functional behavior analysis that is used to create baselines of behavior so that replacement behaviors can be taught.
Interpret Data: If your son or daughter is old enough, share some of this data with them. Teens can actually collect data on themselves, which is proving to be a powerful tool for changing behaviors. Talk about what behavior they think most interferes with their school and home lives and come up with a short list of alternatives. For instance, if they can’t get up for school and are chronically late and chronically grumpy (and you have data to show that it is three out of five days a week) you could discuss whether it makes more sense to go to bed earlier (something easier said than done for teens) or take a 15 minute nap after school using an alarm. If their moods are worsened by missing a meal, they might drink a protein shake instead of skipping breakfast, for example. The key is that they have to decide the option, and then you can support that choice if you agree with it.
Develop Goals: Children are usually not able to take the long-term view and see that learning their multiplication tables will help them achieve their future goals. It falls on us as parents to persistently and consistently link the school day to their future. I know I have misused this link in the past and used it to shame my son, and say things like “You won’t ever make it if you can’t do your homework.” Not only is this not true, it’s not helpful. Instead, I have learned to say things like, “Wow, I’m really impressed with the persistence you showed in completing your science project. That’s a skill every adult should have.”

Read more from Anna Stewart at

Back to School
By Ray Strunk

Summer is coming to an end, which means it’s almost time for school to start back up!

As a kid I remember counting down until the first day of school, excited to reconnect with my friends that I hadn’t seen in months. I spent seemingly every waking hour of my summer break practicing the sports we’d play in gym and at recess, eager to show off my talents in front of the class. I knew that all of that practice would pay off when my peers would recognize me as the gym class hero. To me, this is what elementary school was all about.

Going back to school doesn’t have the same meaning for every child, however. For some it serves only as an escape from the troubles they face every day at home.

This was the case for Dashun Jackson.

“As a boy, I suffered just about every form of abuse you can imagine—emotional and physical attacks by my mother, later sexual abuse by her and her boyfriend,” he recalled.

Dashun was removed from his home when he was thirteen years old.

“After that, I bounced around, from a children’s emergency shelter to an aunt’s house, then back to the shelter … Without knowledge or the power to speak up, I felt like a victim.”

Everything changed when Dashun met a CASA volunteer named Robert.

“Robert taught me how to communicate, how to represent myself and my needs.”

Dashun says that Robert taught him how to stand up for himself and make sure his voice was heard.

Robert remained by Dashun’s side as he navigated through high school.

“When I took hold of my diploma, I heard his cheers above the rest.”

Dashun earned a degree in psychology and now serves as a counselor in Las Vegas. He dedicates his time to helping children with similar life stories and even co-authored the Nevada Foster Care Bill of Rights.

“I’ve been given a powerful voice. I intend to use it as much as I can, for as long as I can.”

Former foster child Dashun Jackson co-
authored the Nevada Foster Care Bill of Rights
Not all children are as fortunate as Dashun, however.

Students in foster care transfer schools at least once per year, on average. Each move comes with complications that hinder the child’s education. In fact, the child is estimated to lose four to six months of their academic progress each time they move schools.

Lacking the necessary consistency in education, children in out-of-home placement are more than twice as likely to drop out of high school as their peers living at home.

This trend can be found nationwide. Only 50 percent of the 400,000 children in foster care across the United States complete high school by age 18.

The problem comes from a lack of stability.

Increasing a child’s stability increases their likelihood of success in education. A 2014 nationwide study from child advocacy non-profit Formed Families Forward found that “youth who had even one fewer change in living arrangement per year were almost twice as likely to graduate from high school before leaving foster care.”

This is where CASA comes in.

Oftentimes children in the foster care system simply need an adult to advocate for their best interests.

Children with a CASA advocate representing them spend, on average, eight months less in foster care than children without. In addition, the presence of a CASA advocate reduces the overall length of the court process.

This leads to a significant increase in the student’s performance in school and likelihood of graduating on time.

As a CASA volunteer, you play a crucial role in the lives of the children you advocate for.

For help navigating the world of education for your CASA child, feel free to contact Kim!

- Email:

August 14
Noon - 1 PM
Harvey County Courthouse

Thea Nietfeld, Director of Community Justice Programming,
will be speaking about Offender Victim Ministries' IMPACT program.

Book of the month:
Foster Placements:
Why They Succeed and Why They Fail

Ian Sinclair, Kate Wilson, and Ian Gibbs

"Drawing on a study of nearly 600 foster children, this book shows how the child, the carers and the 'chemistry' between them all contribute to differences in outcome. ... It also blends statistical data with case studies and personal accounts from foster carers, social workers and the children themselves. It is an essential and stimulating read for social workers, policy makers and foster families concerned with the success of foster placements."

CEU Opportunity:
Victor Rios
Help for kids the education system ignores

Define students by what they contribute, not what they lack -- especially those with difficult upbringings, says educator Victor Rios. Interweaved with his personal tale of perseverance as an inner-city youth, Rios identifies three straightforward strategies to shift attitudes in education and calls for fellow educators to see "at-risk" students as "at-promise" individuals brimming with resilience, character and grit.

Follow this link for the CEU credit report form:

Upcoming Events:

CASA Volunteers are invited to participate in Halstead's Old Settlers parade on August 12th!

RSVP to by 5PM August 11th.

Check-in is at 9:15 AM in the Halstead High School parking lot.


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CASA A Voice for Children, Inc. · Harvey County Court House · P.O. Box 687 · Newton, KS 67114 · USA

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