Pathways Student Profile: Emily Boehl

Emily Boehl is a tremendous young woman that has spent the last three years in our Pathways to Employment program. Pathways to Employment is a transition program for students ages 18-22. The program focuses on developing students’ daily living skills and job skills to build independence.

When Emily applied to the program, we knew that she would be able to gain skills from our program, but we weren’t sure we were going to be able to meet her needs. Emily is nonverbal and can become easily frustrated when she is not being understood. She also has a startle reflex that causes her to yelp and become upset when noise levels elevate. Challenges such as these made us wonder if our program was going to be a fit.

Emily Boehl – recipient Franklin B. Walter Outstanding Achievement Award

However, the team was drawn to Emily’s sparkling personality and her family’s commitment to her success. We discussed the growth we hoped to see, the experiences we thought she would benefit from and the tools she needed to help her. We are so glad we took a chance on Emily. She brought an enthusiasm to participate, a willingness to try and a great sense of humor.

Emily has worked hard and persevered. She has learned to communicate more effectively and better manage the unexpected noises of life. As we see the end of her school career end, we are excited about her future. Emily is currently competitively employed in her community. She works 4 days a week and is independent at her job as a cafeteria lady in her community’s elementary school. She is thrilled to be earning money in an environment she loves. Once there was a girl named Emily that needed an opportunity to learn and grow. Now we have a young lady that is a contributing member in her community.

We are extremely proud of Emily’s accomplishments!

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Pathways to Employment

Pathways to Employment

Pathways to Employment is a unique, comprehensive program for students with disabilities, between the ages of 18 and 22, who need a program centered on work and life skills. The program prepares students to successfully transition from school, to live and work in their community.

Katie Fleming
Program Coordinator

Why Parents Choose Pathways

Excellent Staff: The intervention specialists, transition coordinator, and job coaches demonstrate sincere concern and respect for each young adult in the program. They evidence this by meeting each person at their readiness level and establishing appropriate steps toward achieving their chosen goals.

Pathways staff were awarded the 2019 Franklin B Walter Outstanding Educator Award for making extraordinary contributions to the education of students with disabilities!

image: woman sitting at desk with dog sitting next to her

Observable Growth: Successful adults possess numerous soft skills that are difficult to measure but easily observed. Pathways participants exit the program having gained maturity, independence, and greater confidence, as well as life and employment skills.

Caring environment: Leaving one’s “home school” is scary for both parents and program participants. However, the routines, structures, and open communication practices implemented by the staff members enable the quick development of trust.

See what the Pathways to Employment program is like for students and parents.

“…love, love, love this program. My son is confident, independent and ready for competitive employment.”

Parent, Pathways to Employment

Why Students Love Pathways

Emily Boehl, recipient Franklin B. Walter Outstanding Achievement Award

Applicable learning: As a Pathways participant, young adults focus on functional academics as they apply to daily living. Everyday tasks, serving as the foundation of the curriculum, such as budgeting, shopping, cooking, and time management enhance both math and reading skills.

Pathways graduate, Emily Boehl was with the program for three years. With her sparkling personality and her family’s commitment to her success she brought an enthusiasm to participate, a willingness to try and a great sense of humor overcoming many challenges. Read her Student Profile to learn more about her Pathway’s experience.

Real-life experiences: Young adults in the program enjoy several short-term (2-3 months) work experiences in the community. With the help of their one-to-one job coach, participants identify work fields best suited to their strengths, interests, and aspirations.

Lasting friendships: Throughout their time in the program, participants plan and attend community outings with their peers and their families. During which they practice travel training, experience new things, learn self-advocacy, and form life-long friendships. Best of all, they have fun!

“Pathways is awesome. I can do all kinds of things independently – ride the metro, go to the grocery and the bank…”

Student, Pathways to Employment

What Makes Pathways Unique?

Individualized experience: Pathways staff construct a customized daily schedule that aligns to the needs of each young adult. No two participants have the same experience.

Job training: All participants learn how to search, apply for, and interview for a job. They understand how to conduct themselves in a professional setting through on-the-job training and the assistance of their job coach. Most importantly, the work experiences provide students the chance to transfer classroom learning to real- world situations.

Business Partnerships: Pathways to Employment has an assortment of community partners from various industries such as clerical, pet care, retail, food service, entertainment, healthcare, personal care, hospitality, and childcare. Should a student desire an experience in a setting in which there is not an established partnership, the Pathways staff will build one!


Katie Fleming, Program Coordinator

Trauma Informed Systems of Supports (TISS)

Three faces of children with sad expressions in black and white.

Too often, schools plug into various training opportunities without revisiting the overall systems in place. We know teachers need strategies for avoiding student triggers, for de-escalating situations, and more – but what happens when a school’s disciplinary processes and procedures are themselves the triggers?

What if those routines escalate situations?

That’s where TISS comes in…

We want to create an environment where students who have experienced trauma are less likely to be re-traumatized. We will partner with you to make a lasting and sustainable change – the kinds of improvements that persevere even after a shift in administration or staff turnover. 

That’s the power of taking a systems-based approach, and it’s what makes your trauma-training through TISS different. While we offer a variety of trauma-informed services, our flagship service is designed not only to prepare your teachers but also to prepare your system, operationalizing new approaches into processes and procedures that last.

TISS Cohort Membership

When you sign up for our flagship TISS Cohort Membership, you gain access to a cohort of schools all working to become trauma-informed. TISS members receive four networking PD sessions and 10 customizable coaching days.

TISS Cohort PD Sessions

Your building leadership team will attend four professional development sessions with facilitators experienced in the areas of mental health, systems planning, curriculum, assessment, and school/district leadership. Sessions include opportunities to network with other member schools engaged in the same work.

Areas of focus include:

  • Self-Assessment through a Trauma-Informed Lens
  • Data-Analysis through a Trauma-Informed Lens
  • Embedding Trauma-Informed Practices in a Strategic Plan/CCIP
  • Monitoring Tools to Ensure Implementation

Customizable Coaching Days

Your building’s staff members can expect ten customizable coaching days with our experts in the areas of understanding trauma, SEL training within a trauma-informed context, data collection/analysis, strategic planning, and fidelity of implementation with a trauma-informed lens.

Professional Development and Other TISS Services

We offer traditional professional development for schools not yet ready for our full TISS Cohort Membership. We are happy to collaborate on customized solutions. However, some of the sessions below might already meet your needs.

Understanding Trauma

This half-day training includes an introduction to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), toxic stress, neurobiology, and more. The training emphasizes the benefit of taking a systems-based approach. (3.5 hours)

Trauma-informed SEL Workshop

This half-day training provides teachers with a variety of resources to provide social and emotional learning strategies in classrooms. Such strategies are particularly helpful when responding to students who have experienced trauma. (3.5 hours)

Professional Development Micro-Sessions

Have you considered joining the ranks of schools who have re-imagined faculty or professional learning community meetings, turning them into hour-long monthly professional development sessions? We can partner with you to plan, or to plan and deliver, mini-PD sessions during these types of meetings.

Trauma-Informed Culture and Climate Inventory

One of our trauma-certified consultants will spend the day visiting designated classrooms and common-areas during a school day. Using our trauma-informed tool, we will aggregate the data into a comprehensive report for use in strategic planning with your building leadership team. (Full day)

Trauma-Informed Data Suite

Working throughout five days, our consultant will partner with building leadership to gather a variety of relevant data sources and published policies/procedures. Our training will guide your leadership team through an in-depth analysis to identify key findings, prioritizing strategies to reduce discipline referrals and to increase student achievement — all while building a more compassionate school culture. This includes analyzing fidelity of implementation of related programs or frameworks (such as PBIS).

Trauma-Informed Classroom Coaching

Our trauma-certified coaches* work side-by-side with your teachers, offering social-emotional work to establish a trauma-informed culture into your classrooms.

Trauma Certified Coaches

Our trauma certified coaches* guide teams through a strategic planning process while providing training for all staff members in social and emotional learning strategies that help avoid potential triggers and assist in de-escalating student situations.

Photo of Allison Curran
Allison Curran, CTP-E Curriculum and Instruction
Photo of Jason Haap
Jason Haap, CTP-E Curriculum and Instruction
Photo of Chris Gilkey
Chris Gilkey, CTP-E School Psychologist
Photo of Katie Marshall
Katie Marshall, CTP-E School Psychologist

*Hamilton County ESC TISS coaches have received CTP-E (Certified Trauma Practitioner-Education) certification from The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children, part of the Starr Global Learning Network (SGLN).

We’re here to help.

We can also design services to meet your needs as you become a trauma-informed district and/or school. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

Mindy Fischer, Director

Information for Parents

Information for Parents and Guardians

Home Education / Home Schooling

Hamilton County ESC provides Home Education / Home Schooling Services for the following school districts: Finneytown, Northwest, Oak Hills, and Southwest. If you reside in one of these districts and want to Home Educate / Home School your child, download our Home Schooling Packet. For any school district not listed, please contact the school district directly.

Iowa Assessments: To help homeschool families to meet the academic assessment report requirement set forth in rule 3301-12-01 of the administrative code, Hamilton County ESC will be offering the online Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) Form E Complete Battery (not required for 2021-22 notification).

Additional information concerning Home Education and Home Schooling can be found at the Ohio Department of Education.

Early Childhood Integrated Programs

Head Start

Wellness Policy

Good nutrition and regular physical activity affect the health and well-being of children. Furthermore, research suggests that there is a positive correlation between a student’s health and well-being and his/her ability to learn. Schools can play an important role in the developmental process by which students establish their health and nutrition habits by providing nutritious meals and snacks through the schools’ meal programs, by supporting the development of good eating habits, and by promoting increased physical activity both in and out of school.

Hamilton County ESC has set goals in an effort to enable students to establish good health and nutrition habits. Read our HCESC Wellness Policy.

District Representative for Autism and Jon Peterson Scholarship Programs

We can serve on behalf of the public school district of residence as the District Representative for students with special needs who access the Autism and Jon Peterson Scholarship Programs.

Scholarship Application System

We complete district responsibilities in the Scholarship Application System through the ODE secure SAFE portal.

  • reviewing student applications to determine scholarship eligibility
  • editing data and flagging applications in cases of data discrepancies 
  • uploading IEP’s and other related documents for applicants
  • responding to communications and completing tasks received from the ODE scholarship program staff

ETR and IEP process

We handle all aspects of the ETR and IEP process.

  • coordinating and scheduling meetings (private schools/service providers, parents, related service personnel and outside agencies)
  • gathering information and results to write the ETR and/or develop IEP’s for students who access the scholarship by working with the necessary district colleagues and private schools/providers
  • completing all procedural parts of the ETR and IEP process while meeting all legal requirements and timelines
  • conducting the ETR and/or IEP meetings
  • ensuring proper documentation is filed and managed for the district and in the State Scholarship Portal


Joan Lawrence, Director

Home Education Notification Processing

Home Education Notification Processing is provided to school districts when parents opt to home educate their child. Parents must submit paperwork to the school district to have their child be excused from compulsory attendance. Hamilton County ESC reviews the notification form for accurate completion, contacts the parents regarding the status of their notification, and provides reports to the district regarding the status of each notification.

At the end of each school year, Hamilton County ESC sends reminder notices to the parents of home educated students to remind them to submit a new notification, as well as the required assessment for the new school year.

Hamilton County ESC works with the school district’s attendance officers to coordinate information when students are not in attendance and the parents have not submitted the home school notification for processing.

Parent of a home-schooled child? Please see our information for parents.


Catherine Schulte

Job Coaches

Hamilton County ESC supports students with disabilities who are working on job and employment skills. Job Coaches will work with your Work Study/Transition Coordinator to support students in job placements within the community.

Job Coach Responsibilities

  • accompany students to jobs/work settings (can provide transportation at the district’s request);
  • work with the student to meet employer’s expectations;
  • help students develop work skills and social skills needed for employment after graduation;
  • serve as a liaison between supervisors on the job, student and school team;
  • collaborate with school teams to help meet IEP goals and gather data to support goal attainment.


Joan Lawrence

Special Education Supervision Services in District

Does your district need a special education coordinator or director? Through collaboration with district administration, Hamilton County ESC supervisors offer leadership and assistance with the delivery of special education services.

Focus on learning and supporting the work of all your staff and students

  • Work with other district leaders to support a comprehensive MTSS/RtI process
  • Assist with service delivery design, implementation, and evaluation
  • Provide information on current federal, state and local mandates, guidelines and hot button issues
  • Coordinate and provide professional development for staff
  • Ensure special education compliance
  • Work collaboratively with district and building leaders in all aspects of district work
  • Assist in the staffing and hiring of special needs personnel
  • Assist in the development and implementation of district policies and procedures
  • Serve as the district representative in special education meetings
  • Provide research on new methods, strategies, and materials related
    to special education

Do you have a new special education director?

We offer mentor/consultation services to help support new leaders. All services are customized to the needs of the district.


Joan Lawrence, Director

Learning Center at North Norwood

The Hamilton County ESC Learning Center at North Norwood is a public separate school for students with disabilities specializing in intensive supports for students with behavioral and/or mental health needs. An interdisciplinary approach provides a team of professionals working with the student and his/her family and community-support systems in building effective academic and social/behavioral strategies needed to be successful in his/her most natural educational and community setting.

Services provided:

  • Provide a link in the continuum of services for students with disabilities experiencing behavioral and/or mental health needs
  • Facilitate collaboration between families, schools, and community-support systems in addressing students’ behavioral and/or mental health needs, including assisting in the connection of students to mental health services
  • Unique courses including: Rock and Roll Academy, Music Industry Leadership, and Career Credentialing Programs
  • Provide a structured behavioral-support program including: school-wide Positive Behavioral Intervention Supports (PBIS) – Daily instruction in social skills; instruction in affective education and communication skills; small-group interventions for students demonstrating common behavioral needs (e.g., group work, conflict resolution); intensive, individualized interventions utilizing the processes of functional behavioral assessment and behavioral intervention planning
  • Provide a highly-structured academic program delivered by Highly-Qualified Teachers and utilizing the principles of differentiated instruction
  • Provide nursing, school psychological, school counseling, occupational therapy, speech-language, and work study/transition coordinator services based upon students’ needs and as directed by their IEPs
  • Facilitate the provision of other related services as directed by student IEPs
  • Assist districts in meeting the requirements of federal, state, and local special education directives


Melissa Heitzman, Principal

Joseph Newman, Assistant Principal

Early Childhood Itinerant Services

Early Childhood special educators provide support services to children with disabilities in Head Start, home, preschool, childcare centers, or a district site.

Program Design

  • Implement IEP goals in designated settings
  • Consult with parents and program staff
  • Modify curriculum responsive to individual needs
  • Provide environmental modification
  • Develop behavior management and intervention strategies
  • Evaluate need for alternative communication methods
  • Develop multi-sensory activities and materials
  • Utilize specialized approaches for children with PDD/autism spectrum disorder
  • Coordinate transition planning with district personnel and families
  • Provide ongoing assessment and data collection of the student’s development
  • Collaborate with therapists working with the student
  • Develop individual interventions for home and school settings
  • Network with families and staff to secure additional resources available in the community
  • Responsive to developing a relationship with the family
  • Liaison for the district to the family or other service providers
  • Development and sharing of various materials designed to support the students’ needs
  • Participation in initial district team and IEP meeting


Stacie McMahon, Supervisor

Sandy Crowell, Supervisor

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