Student Services & Special Education

Dear Parents, Students, and Community Members:

As Director of Student Services I welcome you to the Department of Student Services website. This site was developed to provide parents, students, and community members information regarding the continuum of services and resources offered by our dedicated district staff. Please take the time to browse our website and review its contents. I hope you will find it to be helpful in connecting you to some of the many services we provide for students.

Our mission is to maximize all students' learning by ensuring that every classroom is an inclusive and adaptive learning environment that meets the needs of diverse student populations. In order to fulfill our mission, we are continuously engaged in professional development and other improvement efforts aimed at providing quality services that meet the needs of students.

In our efforts to meet all students' needs, we are always working to ensure that students with disabilities are receiving the services they need to make progress in their educational program. If you or anyone you know is aware of a child between the ages of 3 and 21 who is suspected of having a disability please contact us.

If I can be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to call.


Jennifer Apodaca
Director of Student Services

Related Information

District Office Student Services Staff

Jennifer Apodaca
Director of  Student Services

Janet Thomas
Associate Director of  Student Services

Sara Pogue
Student Services Administrative Assistant

Wendy Brody
Student Services Specialist

Nancy Ohman
Elementary Special Education Administrative Associate

Ramnique Mahal
Secondary Special Education Administrative Associate

Rebecca Penticoff
Early Childhood Student Services Program Manager

Debbie Brown
District Health Nurse for Elementary Schools

Elizabeth Feisthammel
District Health Nurse for Secondary Schools

Special Education Records Request

District to District or Third Party Requests

If you are a  school district or third party agency seeking Special Education records for one of our current or prior students, please fax or email your request to the Student Services Administrative Assistant. 

Sara Pogue
Phone:  608.834.6524
Fax:  608.837.9311

For all other Student Records requests such as Cumulative Files, Attendance, Immunizations and Health Records, etc., please contact the individual school where the student currently or previously attended.

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Prevention/Abuse

The Sun Prairie Area School District has trained staff that provides alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse prevention education and intervention services to students. School counselors and social workers at all schools are available to support this program. Collaboration and trust between students, parents, and school staff is essential to a successful outcome.

Sun Prairie Area School District Policy and Procedure regarding Alcohol and Drug Use by Students.

Homeless Information

McKinney-Vento Act

School districts in Wisconsin are required to ensure that homeless children have access to the same educational opportunities as non-homeless children, including opportunities to meet the same challenging state academic standards.

If you are currently homeless, and need assistance in providing new or continuing educational opportunities for your children, you may contact the Sun Prairie Area School District's Homeless Liaison:

Janet Thomas
Associate Director of Student Services

Rights for Homeless Children in the Sun Prairie Area School District include:

  • The availability of a district liaison staff person
  • Immediate enrollment and school participation, even if you do not have access to educational and medical records
  • Transportation to and from school
  • Opportunities that may be available for your participation as a parent.

For more information, please visit:

Education of Homeless Children and Youth
Information from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Grief and Loss

While all children and adolescents experience grief/loss differently, there are a variety of ways parents, educators, and community members can support them.

If your child is experiencing grief from a loss please let us know how we can support you. Contact your child’s school social worker, counselor, school psychologist, and/or principal.

Brief Facts and Tips from NASP (National Association of School Psychologists

  1. Grief is not solely related to the death of a loved one. The symptoms, characteristics, and process of grieving can be similar after other types of loss (e.g., divorce, transition, moving).

  2. Grief is personal. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. How people grieve can be influenced by developmental level, cultural traditions, religious beliefs, mental health, disabilities, family, personal characteristics, and previous experiences.

  3. Grief is often characterized by sadness, emotional pain, and introspection in adults. However, children’s grief reactions differ according to age and developmental level:

    • Preschool - Regressive behaviors, decreased verbalization, increased anxiety

    • Elementary - Decreased academic performance, attention/concentration, and attendance; irritability, aggression, and disruptive behaviors; somatic complaints; sleep/eating disturbances; social withdrawal; guilt, depression, and anxiety; repeated re-telling of the event

    • Middle and High School - Decreased academic performance, attention/concentration, and attendance; avoidance, withdrawal, high risk behaviors or substance abuse, difficulty with peer relations, nightmares, flashbacks, emotional numbing or depression

  4. Grieving does not have a timeline. Schools should be aware of anniversaries, birthdays, developmental milestones, and other factors that could affect students months or years after the loss.

Other Resources

Agrace Family Grief Support Program is for families with children aged 5 to 18. Children attend with a parent/guardian, and a meal is shared as a group. After an opening activity, children spend time in the space that meets their needs at that time (for example, in a play room or art room), while the adults meet as a separate group.

National Alliance for Grieving Children promotes awareness of the needs of children and teens grieving a death and provides education and resources.

The Dougy Center The Dougy Center provides support in a safe place where children, teens, young adults, and their families grieving a death can share their experiences. 

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network provides information and resources for students experiencing traumatic grief.  

Boy helping a girl with problem on computer


Jennifer Apodaca
Director of Student Services

Janet Thomas
Associate Director of Student Services

Sara Pogue
Administrative Assistant - Student Services

Parent Information

Child Find


Upon request, the Sun Prairie Area School District is required to evaluate a child for eligibility for special education services.  A request for evaluation is known as a referral. When the district receives a referral, the district will appoint an Individualized Education Program (IEP) team to determine if the child has a disability, and if the child needs special education services. The District locates, identifies, and evaluates all children with disabilities who are enrolled by their parents in private (including religious) schools, elementary schools and secondary schools located in the school district. 

A physician, nurse, psychologist, social worker, or administrator of a social agency who reasonably believes a child brought to him or her for services is a child with a disability has a legal duty to refer the child, including a homeless child, to the school district in which the child resides. Before referring the child, the person making the referral must inform the child's parent that the referral will be made. 

Others, including parents, who reasonably believe a child is a child with a disability, may also refer the child, including a homeless child, to the school district in which the child resides.

Referrals must be in writing and include the reason why the person believes the child is a child with a disability.  A referral may be made by contacting Jennifer Apodaca, Director of Student Services, at 608.834.6520, or by writing him/her at 501 South Bird St. Sun Prairie, WI 53590

The Sun Prairie Area School District  is required to locate, identify, and evaluate all children, with disabilities, including children with disabilities attending private schools in the school district, and homeless children.  The process of locating, identifying, and evaluating children with disabilities is known as child find. This agency conducts the following child find activities each year: The school district has a special education screening program to locate and screen all children with suspected disabilities who are residents of the district and who have not graduated from high school. Upon request the school district will screen any resident child who has not graduated high school to determine whether a special education referral is appropriate. A request may be made by contacting Jennifer Apodaca, Director of Student Services, at 608.834.6520, or by writing him/her at 501 South Bird St. Sun Prairie, WI 53590

Child Find Notice EnglishHmong, Spanish

Procedural Safeguards (Parental Rights)

  • Procedural Safeguards- English
  • Procedural Safeguards- Spanish
  • Procedural Safeguards- Hmong

Parent/Guardian Local Resources and Information

The following are a few important parent resources available on the and make yourself familiar with their content.  If you have addition questions or struggle to find adequate answers to any question you may have regarding the education of your child, please feel free to contact us.