MOSES LAKE — The Moses Lake School District has been recognized by a California educational technology company for “outstanding organizational leadership, teamwork, and improved outcomes in helping students with special needs succeed.”
San Francisco-based PresenceLearning, which provides distance counseling and support services for school districts across the county, has given the district the company’s Award of Excellence, one of 12 awarded to school districts nationwide this year.
“It’s a great addition to our occupational therapy,” said Darcy Johnson, special services director for the Moses Lake School District. “We’re short-staffed, and younger kids are so in tune with technology, it’s a great way to engage kids that way.”
According to Katie Povejsil, PresenceLearning’s chief marketing officer, the company offers therapy via proprietary video connection to school districts that don’t have or cannot afford counseling and occupational therapists.
“Speech pathologists are in tremendous demand, and a lot of districts have trouble finding people,” Povejsil said. “So we created teletherapy to bridge the gap. We can recruit the best of the best, and see that they have Washington licensing.”
The services covered by PresenceLearning involve speech pathology, occupational therapy (which helps kids who need to work on motor skills), mental health and behavioral counseling, according to Povejsil.
Povejsil said the company’s software tracks sessions and progress on a secure and private connection.
“We keep a record, and access an (individual educational program) to support whatever goals the child is working on,” she said.
“In eight years, we’ve delivered over 1 million sessions of teletherapy,” Povejsil added.
Johnson said the school district uses PresenceLearning primarily for grade school and junior high school kids. Currently, 27 students from kindergarten through eighth grade or receiving some kind of counseling through PresenceLearning.
According to Povejsil, the awards reflect PresenceLearning’s desire to recognize those districts that have done the most work and improvement.
“Each year, we look at school districts that use our services to see which kids are doing the best,” she said. “It takes tremendous leadership to make that work well. And that’s Moses Lake.”