McDade ISD serves nearly all students who reside in the small, yet diverse, agriculture-heavy community of McDade, Texas which is the home to both wealthy and multi-generational families living in poverty. The growing district consists of one PreK-6 school and one Grade 7-12 school, both of which are located on the same block along with the district’s other administrative buildings.
McDade ISD’s location and its inability to compete financially with larger districts, on top of the overall state and nationwide shortage of qualified clinicians, made it challenging to attract the providers needed to serve students in need of psychoeducational assessments. After being unable to attract a full-time, on-site diagnostician, the district’s special services team sought alternative options and hired a contractor to provide the assessments.
“We were drowning in assessments,” said Codi Kadlecek, director of both elementary education and special services at McDade ISD. “The contractor was the only person we could find to come to McDade, but the price was astronomical.”
Kadlecek was then introduced to PresenceLearning and the idea of teletherapy at a San Antonio conference in the summer of 2019. “I realized PresenceLearning could solve our problems,” she said. “I wanted to start right away.”
PresenceLearning was able to fast track the implementation process so the district could begin psychoeducational assessment services as soon as possible. “The PresenceLearning team was absolutely awesome to work with – they worked within our budget, delivered the technology right away, and had us up and running within nearly a week,” said Kadlecek. “Because of this, we were able to complete two psychoeducational assessments over the summer to keep us in compliance. The team was very communicative and really worked with us to make sure we were getting everything we needed throughout the whole implementation.”
During the evaluation process, a licensed and qualified school psychologist from the PresenceLearning network used the company’s secure, proprietary online platform to administer psychoeducational assessments remotely using the same techniques and materials as onsite evaluations. The district team then provides students the necessary services needed based on the assessment results.
“From our end, the PresenceLearning administrator platform makes it easy for us to track assessments and manage the overall IEP process,” said Kirstin Simon, special education coordinator at McDade ISD. “It’s nice to have all of the student documents together in one place. Our team can see what needs to be completed, or where we are in the process, easily and quickly.”
“We’ve already been able to complete more assessments this year than the last couple of years combined and have spent less money doing so,” added Kadlecek.
The timely and successful implementation of psychoeducational assessment services prompted McDade ISD to also add PresenceLearning’s occupational therapy (OT) services with a small group of students. “We had a last-minute need for OT since we were short staffed and PresenceLearning was able to connect us with one of their clinicians in just a day or two,” said Kadlecek. “I love that we didn’t have to wait long.”
The occupational therapists work with students on sensory regulation, fine and gross motor skills, visual motor skills, and school-related self-care skills using the PresenceLearning platform which includes a full suite of tools, including an interactive whiteboard, games, goal-based worksheets, and more. The therapists work collaboratively with the district’s three on-site primary support personnel to ensure students are maximizing their sessions and that skills students learn are being carried out in between sessions. “There’s a lot of collaboration,” said Kadlecek. “It’s been a great overall experience.”