IU Recognizes Dedicated Board of Directors
The Colonial Intermediate Unit 20 leadership team is grateful for the dedicated Board of Directors that supports its endeavors in serving children in Northampton, Monroe and Pike Counties. The CIU 20 board serves 86,000 students and they make sound decisions when it comes to programs, services, budgets, and other needs that affect students and staff in all 13 school districts.

Comprised of 13 members, the CIU 20 Board has the same responsibilities and powers as local school boards. Board members are nominated by their district but are elected by all 117 school board members of the 13 districts. Colonial IU 20 looks forward to continue working with its Board of Directors to better service the children and families in Northampton, Monroe and Pike counties.
Please see the video below for a special message from CIU 20 staff, students, and families in celebration of School Director Recognition Month.
Staff Spotlight: Kelly Hixon
Fostering Relationships Between In-Person and Remote Learning Students
Colonial IU 20 Speech and Language Pathologist Kelly Hixon has bridged the gap between her in-person and remote learning students by instituting a pen pal program at the beginning this school year. Ms. Hixon's motivation was that she "wanted the students to build relationships that would normally be fostered in the classroom. They didn’t have the opportunity to connect face to face, so we went old-school."
The premise is simple, the in-person students have become pen pals with their remote learning classmates and send each other mail. She partnered with CIU 20 Life Skills Teacher, Michelle Hahn, to make sure specific skills were covered: elements of a letter, asking questions, answering questions, how to mail a letter, and what community helpers are involved in mailing a letter. The families of the remote learning students were given all of the materials they needed and both Ms. Hixon and Ms. Hahn were thrilled with the level of participation - 100%.

The flexibility of the pen pal program has created a fully inclusive environment. In describing one student's letter, Ms. Hixon notes that "he drew a picture and used stickers for his letter. His pen pal didn’t mind at all. They are all so accepting and understanding of each other’s abilities."
The overwhelming positive response from students and families has turned this temporary activity into something that will be instituted regularly for the foreseeable future.

Ms. Hixon has been very creative in altering other traditional activities with students to comply with COVID protocols. Some examples include: holiday cookie challenge, the upcoming soup cookoff, and several activities involving volunteer community helpers. She has been a valued member of the CIU 20 team since 2008.
Regional Educators Supported by Virtual Networking Meetings
Since last March, the Colonial Intermediate Unit 20 Training & Consulting (TaC) staff have pivoted their professional development expertise into virtual offerings to better support the region's educators during the ongoing pandemic. In addition to tailored virtual workshops, they have been focused on enhancing and expanding their series of virtual networking meetings. These timely discussions bring educators together to share challenges and pull from the expertise of the TaC and other educators to develop solutions.

Virtual networking meeting topics include, but aren't limited to: Special Education & Assistive Technology, Joint Secondary School Wide Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports (SWPBIS) with IU's 19, 21 and 22, Instructional Coaching, Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS), Joint Instructional & Educational Technology Coaching, English Language Development (ELD), and Gifted.
Virtual Cooking Sessions Held for Special Olympics Athletes
"Cooking with NCSO" is an interactive virtual weekly Northampton County Special Olympics event that teaches local athletes the importance of nutrition and eating healthy. The debut session streamed live on January 19, 2021 and featured guest chefs CIU 20 Executive Director Dr. Chris Wolfel and his daughter Grace. The ten week series will feature various CIU 20 staff and Special Olympics coaches preparing their own healthy recipes.

The Director of Northampton County Special Olympics and CIU 20 Adapted Physical Education Teacher, Ms. Amanda Sechrist, sees this series as another way for athletes to connect with their peers while unable to compete in-person, "I want the athletes to enjoy cooking as well as learn about the food groups and choosing healthier options. This also keeps the athletes engaged with coaches and their peers as well as working on improving their social skills."

Northampton County Special Olympics is also facilitating a virtual fitness program every Wednesday. The program features a guest fitness instructor from the community every week, which have included military personnel, firefighters, and a semi-professional hockey player.
Upgraded Behavioral Health Services Program
Colonial IU 20 offers a full slate of services from the newly developed Intensive Behavioral Health Services (IBHS) program, which is overseen by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Department of Human Services Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. IBHS is an entirely new program that was developed to replace the Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services (BHRS) program. There won’t be a lapse in service, but member districts may notice changes to job titles, authorization timeframes, and required documentation.

IBHS is a solution-focused treatment approach that identifies a person's strengths and builds upon those strengths, rather than allowing their challenges to be the main focus. The services can be provided in the home, school, or the community. One significant change in the IBHS regulations compared to the former BHRS program is that the IBHS services are broken down into two distinctly different programs: Individual and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).
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At Colonial IU 20, we believe in RELATIONSHIPS that support student growth, RESPONSIVENESS to stakeholders crucial needs, RESULTS demonstrated through effective services and programs, and INNOVATION to improve student outcomes.
Colonial IU 20 provides educational, administrative, and management services to 13 school districts and 3 career and technical centers in Northampton, Monroe, and Pike Counties. As one of the community’s largest employers and contributors, the 1,400 full and part-time staff at CIU 20 provides direct and indirect services to 79,000 public school children; 9,000 non-public school children; and 7,000 professional staff in our service region of 1,200 square miles.