Transition to Middle School

Published on Apr 20, 2016

Join us and explore transition into middle school. What may stay the same and what may change? Where can you find information and support? Mr. Bill Gulgert, Assistant Principal of Stone Hill MS will share with Virginia families a small blueprint for how to get prepared, stay informed and reduce the stress of middle school transition.

ABOUT THE PRESENTER: Mr William Gulgert, AP Stone Hill MS

Bill Gulgert is a father of three and an assistant principal at Stone Hill Middle School in Ashburn, VA. Bill has been in education for 25 years and has experience as a high school and middle school math teacher in special education as well as an instructional leader at both levels. He is a doctoral candidate at Shenandoah University and has earned his MS in Leadership at Shenandoah University. As an adjunct professor at Shenandoah University, Bill is able to prepare teachers with abilities which offer individualized and differentiated best practices to all students.


Resource Round Up – UDL

PEATC has a new fact sheet on Universal Design for Learning available on our website.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an approach to curriculum design that can help teachers customize curriculum to serve all learners, regardless of ability, disability, age, gender, or cultural and linguistic background. UDL provides a blueprint for designing strategies, materials, assessments, and tools to reach and teach students with diverse needs.

You can find out more and print your own copy of our UDL fact sheet right here.


Virginia Regulatory Update on Seclusion and Restraint


Learn about ways to participate in the process

 The most recent draft of the Second Review of Proposed Regulations Governing the Use of Seclusion and Restraint in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools in Virginia (Proposed Stage) is available HERE

 Public Participation in the Regulatory Process

 There are many ways the public can participate in the regulatory process and make their voice heard. These opportunities include making a public comment, attending board meetings, and public hearings.

 For more information and to learn more about participation processes please click HERE


PEATC Youth Empowerment

Does your brain ever sometimes feel like a tornado is in there? Sometimes it’s hard for us to control our feelings, or focus on a task, or to even relax and unwind. Sometimes when this happens we can get cranky. Guess what?! It’s not just you who has those feelings. A lot of kids feel this way sometimes; and even grown ups too. Do you have something special you do when you get those feelings? Well sometimes one of the easiest things you can do is something you do everyday….breathe. If you practice breathing to slow down that brain tornado you are practicing becoming Mindful. That means you are aware that something is going on in your body or that you may be losing control and you know how to start to help yourself try to control it.

Check out these videos of some kids who may feel like…

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You’re Invited!!!


Please join us on November 3, 2016, between 3pm – 7pm for an Open House.

Come learn about our outreach initiatives and how we serve families throughout the state of Virginia!

Our PEATC initiatives include:

  • Parent Engagement
  • Latino Outreach
  • Military
  • Early Childhood
  • Rural Outreach

For purposes of refreshments and resources kindly RSVP here:


Putting the Pieces Together: Organization, Rewards, Success!


avian_headshotPEATC is excited to host a guest blogger this month! Avian Mills, Organizational Design Specialist, CEO of Closets & Kids will also join us on October 20th at 11am for a live webinar entitled Organization, Rewards, and Success! Registration for our upcoming event can be found here:

We hope you enjoy her blog post!


Putting the Pieces Together:puzzle-jpg Organization, Rewards, Success!

Typically, you wouldn’t open a puzzle and just start jamming pieces together.  You take out all the pieces, lay them out so you can familiarize yourself with them, and you may even organize them in like groups to make it that much easier to complete.  You spend time looking at the pieces to see how they fit with others and you try some combinations here and there until things start fitting into place.  Gradually, you start to see the big picture, and then those last few pieces fit in effortlessly.  You feel accomplished and proud.

I say all of that to help paint a picture of how the journey to organization should look and feel for us from childhood into adulthood.  Unfortunately, though, we are approaching the development of organizational skills in more of a “jamming it together” type of fashion.  As a result, we are drowning from day to day in our own physical and mental STUFF.

Organization or the lack there of, is responsible for about 75% of a human’s higher level thinking processes.  So about 8 times out of 10, if you’re stressed, it’s because of disorganization in some realm of your life.  The problem is that in the midst of all of that busy that we have going on, we are not equipping our children with solid introductory organizational skills.  There are three major factors that contribute to strong organizational skills that we are only grazing over in the development of our little kiddies today.  The “Organize, Reward, Success!” webinar, is going to help to put this issue into perspective and provide some tips to change the course of your child’s relationship with organization.  These tips will get you started:

  1. Be intentional. There are so many chances for a parent or educator to practice the basics of organization and cleaning with their children.  Intentional seizing those opportunities needs to start early and needs to be of quality.  When you are practicing organizing basics as much as we are reading to them, things will become normal and effortless for them.
  2. Be consistent. For children, things stick when they can count on them being there. For example, if you and your little one washed dishes together today, but didn’t do it again for three months due to “not having enough time” to allow them to do it on their level of skill, then the child will not relate to it as being a routine activity.  That becomes a part of how the relationship will always be viewed.  Thus creating inconsistency in their want to complete the task as an adult.  Being consistent also gives them the opportunity to practice and get better at doing it, and even like it.
  3. Be creative! Children are naturally learning when they are playing and having fun. Studies have shown that this type of learning helps children to make the things they learn more concrete.  It’s important to creatively engage your little ones when doing things like cleaning their room.  Instead of just picking up toys, maybe you are both pirates trying to find treasure for your treasure chest.  We have to capitalize on the short time when things like this will keep them interested.

Giving children their figurative “organizational skills puzzle pieces” early in life, they will be so familiar with the pieces that they can throw them together in their sleep.  It is time to stop jamming the pieces together, and actually allow our little ones to build a strong organizational skills foundation by familiarizing them with the pieces first.  I hope this helps you to get off on the right foot!


Organize away!

Avian Mills, Closets & Kids

Resource Round Up – ESY

smallWe can see summer in the near distance. Many families are scheduling their annual IEP meetings and taking a look at what progress has been made over the school year.  Maybe you are wondering about the break and services or maybe the IEP team members have concerns about regression over the summer.  Understanding what Extended School Year is and if it is a need for your student is key to discussions.

Below is a printable fact sheet on ESY, Extended School Year that can help.

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Using AT for Self Advocacy

What exactly do we mean when we say “Using AT for Self-advocacy”??  Well, let’s break it down.
  1. the action of representing oneself or one’s views or interests.

Assistive technology is an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities and also includes the process used in selecting, locating, and using them.

I am getting ready to host a demonstration table on this very thing in Richmond tomorrow.  What I thought I would do is share some of the AT resources with our readers and give my conference visitors a place to find the links to the programs and applications that I am going to be showcasing.

Below is a set of  links to a variety of platforms and apps that students can use to create wonderful pieces for self-advocacy!  Children of all ages can use their imaginations to express themselves and share with educators, families, and service providers just who they are and what their needs are in the classroom.

Animoto – – Video maker

Voki – – Interactive avatar

Glogster – – Interactive collages

Replay – – Video maker mobile app

I’m Determined – – Resources on self-advocacy and transition

Click below to check out what one student created with Animoto!

animoto pic


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Kristin Kane Info Specialist PEATC