Superintendent updates board on PT/OT services

By Melanie Speicher -

SIDNEY — An update on occupational and physical therapy services provided to Sidney City Schools was presented during Monday night’s Board of Education meeting.

Superintendent John Scheu said the district had previously received OT/PT services from the Midwest Regional Educational Service Center. With the beginning of the 2016-17 school year, the district awarded a contract to PT Services Inc. for the services.

“I sent letters to the principals to see how the program was going,” said Scheu.

The responses, he said, were very positive. The principals expressed how impressed they were with how professionals each of the PT Services employees are.

“The teachers are also pleased with the services,” said Scheu. “I’m very pleased with what I’ve seen. This (the change) was a projected savings to the district.”

Tamara Drerup, director of special education for the district, said she had also contacted some of the parents in the district to ask for their opinions. There are 150 students in the district who receive OT/PT services.

“I talked to the teachers and students,” said Drerup, “and they all felt it was a positive change.”

If a student is absent and misses their time with the therapist, said Drerup, the therapist is making up that time. This, she said, is not in the contract with PT Services but something the therapists feel is important.

The parents, she said, told her they have more contact with the new therapists. They are receiving progress reports on the students and written reports for the IEP meetings.

“We had a few things to work out at the beginning of the year,” said Drerup.

Trish Hall, an occupational therapist, said she and the other therapists are enjoying their time at Sidney.

“We love the students,” said Hall. “Our relationship with the teachers is growing every week.”

“It’s been a positive experience,” said therapist Abby Stemen. “We can’t wait to make more of an impact on them (students).”

The four therapists travel to all seven buildings in the district.

“Despite the concerns and the threatening letter I received if we broke with the ESC, I feel this was the right thing to do,” said Scheu.

Scheu and Drerup said parents who had concerns before the change are giving the district positive feedback about the program.

Board member Mandi Croft asked Drerup what the procedure is if a parent does have concerns about the therapy their child is receiving.

“If the parent has a concern, they should reach out to the teacher,” said Drerup. “Each student with an IEP has a case manager.”

If the parent still has concerns after talking to the teacher, they should then contact the building principal, she said.

“They are always welcome to contact me,” said Drerup. “I will say, ‘have you spoken to anyone in the building?’ Then I’ll listen to their concerns and then talk to the principal.”

By Melanie Speicher

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822; follow her on Twitter @MelSpeicherSDN. Follow the SDN on Facebook,

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822; follow her on Twitter @MelSpeicherSDN. Follow the SDN on Facebook,