Program Completion Quickly Approaching for EPICS Scholars

Continuing Education EPICS Interdisciplinary Pre-Service Preparation

The light at the end of the tunnel is shining brightly for 18 scholars in the Educating Pacific Island Clinicians in Speech Pathology (EPICS) Project as they get closer to earning their graduate degree in Speech Language Pathology from San José State University (SJSU).

Now in the fifth and last year of the project, scholars have a very challenging workload that will only intensify as the final semester approaches. Scholars continue to take online classes and complete their practicum hours to meet course requirements for a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology. In addition, scholars will be preparing and taking their program’s comprehensive examination May 2, 2020.  They will also be preparing and taking the PRAXIS for Speech-Language Pathologists shortly after.

In June 2020, the second cohort of scholars will be spending about eight weeks in an externship in San José, California. Graduation will take place on Guam in August.

The EPICS Project is supported by a personnel preparation grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, awarded to SJSU, in partnership with Guam CEDDERS.

Nicole Duenas, CCC-SLP, (Center) supervises EPICS Scholars Megan Merfalen (Left) at Wettengel Elementary and Joseph Mendiola (R) at J. M. Guerrero Elementary School.
Meagan Terlaje, EPICS Scholar (Left), has her Practicum Placement at C.L. Taitano Elementary School, under the supervision of Terry Lujan, CCC-SLP (Right).
Liahlanni Cruz, EPICS Scholar (Left), works with Michelle Camacho, CCC-SLP (Right), at P.C. Lujan Elementary School.
Rowena Dimla, CCC-SLP (Left), provides supervision for Aileen Serrano, EPICS scholar (Right), at Upi Elementary School.
Camille Onglao Gonzales, EPICS Scholar (Left), works with Elizabeth Blas, CCC-SLP (Right), in her Practicum site at the Guam Early Intervention System (GEIS).
Cassandra Dimla, EPICS Scholar (L), earns her practicum hours under the supervision of Erica Sgro, CCC-SLP (R), at Maria Ulloa and Finegayan Elementary Schools.
Bobbie Obillo, EPICS Scholar (Left), is supervised by Melanie Torre, CCC-SLP (Right), at D.L. Perez Elementary School.
Erica Sgro, SLP-CCC (L), supervises Lisa Eclavea, EPICS Scholar (R), at Machananao Elementary School.
Lillian Reyes, EPICS Scholar (Right), is supervised by Bernice Cepeda, CCC-SLP (Left), at Agueda Johnston Middle School.
Melanie Torres, CCC-SLP (Left), supervises Dianne Sapido, EPICS Scholar (Right), at D.L. Perez Elementary and Adacao Elementary School.

Guam Early Learning Council Convenes First Meeting

Continuing Education Department of Public Health & Social Services Early Childhood Guam Early Intervention System Guam Launch Information Dissemination Project Kariñu

On September 4, the Guam Early Learning Council convened its first meeting under the new administration with Co-Chairperson Elaine Eclavea at the helm. New council members were provided with orientation in the development of the council and the timeline of early childhood initiatives on Guam. Early Childhood Program Administrators provided an overview of their respective programs as well as updates on services provided to families over the last eight months. Workgroup facilitators also reported on the status of the goals and activities for their focus areas as related to the Guam Early Childhood State Plan, which was last published in 2015. The next quarterly meeting will take place in December. Workgroup members spent the afternoon participating in the Karinu/Guam LAUNCH Early Childhood Evaluation Forum.

Members reviewed the progress of activities over the past year as well as data from the Wilder Survey used for Guam LAUNCH Evaluation reports and learned about the latest research in the Early Childhood field. Commitments on next steps and meeting dates were made to ensure that activities will continue.

On September 4, Guam Early Learning Council Workgroup Members posed for a photo at the end of the Karinu/Guam LAUNCH Early Childhood Evaluation Forum held at the Outrigger Guam Resort.
Elaine Eclavea (standing), Guam CEDDERS Early Childhood Consultant and Guam Early Learning Council Co-Chairperson, reviewed a new grant opportunity with council members.
Bonnie Brandt (standing), Guam CEDDERS Training Associate and Karinu/Guam LAUNCH Lead Evaluator, reviewed data from results of the Wilder Survey as workgroup participants looked on.
Members of the Guam Early Learning Council Family Engagement Workgroup
(FEW) showed their great collaborative skills as they erected a structure made from uncooked spaghetti noodles, rope, tape, and a marshmallow during the afternoon session. The FEW members built the tallest structure in the room at 20.25 inches.

GDOE’s Continuous Improvement Road Map for Improving Reading Achievement

Community Services: Training Continuing Education Guam Department of Education
Chief Brodie Memorial Elementary School 1st grade teachers practice administering the aimswebPlus Early Literacy measures.
Capt. H.B. Price Elementary, 1st grade teacher and aimswebPlus trainer, Leilani Mesa (standing) assists participants in using the aimswebPlus assessment system.
(L-R) First grade teachers from M.U. Lujan Elementary, Bertha Torres and Ursula Umadhay, observe fellow colleagues as they practice administering the aimwebPlus.
J.M. Guerrero kindergarten teacher and aimswebPlus trainer Kasuandra Penaflor (standing) guides participants as they practice navigating the aimswebPlus online portal.

GDOE Participates in OSEP Leadership Conference Poster Session

Community Services: Model Services Continuing Education Guam Department of Education

The Guam Department of Education (GDOE) in partnership with Guam CEDDERS participated in the poster session at the Office of Special Education Program (OSEP) Leadership Conference on July 22 in Washington, D.C.  The title of the poster was “It Happens in the School Building.” The poster centered on the continuous improvement efforts of the four State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP) target schools as they work on increasing the reading achievement of elementary students, specifically those students with disabilities.

From L-R ront row: June De Leon, Guam CEDDERS Associate Director; Yolanda Gabriel, GDOE Assistant Superintendent Division of Special Education; Terese Crisostomo, GDOE School Program Consultant; Josephine Cruz, Guam CEDDERS Training Associate; Natasha Dela Cruz, Principal, M.U. Lujan Elementary; Melissa Mafnas, Principal, J.M. Guerrero Elementary School; Laura Taisipic, GDOE School Program Consultant. From L-R Back row: Dennis Bakker, GDOE Division of Special Education Data Manager; and Charlie Kniseley, OSEP State Lead.

Assistive Technology and Accessibility Training at DISID

Community Services: Technical Assistance Continuing Education Developmental Disabilities Guam Systems for Assistive Technology
June 10, 2019: GSAT Center Coordinator Leah Abelon conducted training on the usage of a TDD/TTY, a telecommunication device for the Deaf, and creating accessible documents. Training participants included staff from the Guam Department of Integrated Services for Individuals with Disabilities (DISID) Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and Division of Social Services.

Behavioral Health and Disabilities Glossary Presented at NASW Guam Conference

CEDDERS CORE Continuing Education Developmental Disabilities Disability Studies Research and Evaluation
Mariles Benavente, LCSW, LPC, and former Guam CEDDERS Cultural and Linguistic Competence Coordinator, conducted a breakout session titled, “The Behavioral Health Glossary in Chamorro: a Practical Tool towards Health Literacy and Patient-Centered Care” during the recent Guam Chapter of the National Association of Social Work Conference on March 17, 2019 held at the Westin Resort Guam. The glossary was developed to promote the importance of using interpreters, translators, and language products, such as this glossary, to improve access and use of behavioral health and disabilities services by the island’s linguistically diverse population. Ms. Benavente served as the editor of the glossary which was published in 2017 by Guam CEDDERS. A copy of the Glossary was given to the over 40 participants who attended the session. For an electronic copy of the glossary, go to

Guam CEDDERS Training Associate Met with Guam Memorial Hospital Authority Nursing Supervisors About the Hearing Screening Compliance Survey

Community Services: Technical Assistance Continuing Education Guam Early Hearing Detection & Intervention
L – R:  On July 11, 2018, Marie Wusstig, Guam CEDDERS Training Associate met with Guam Memorial Hospital Authority (GMHA) nursing supervisors, Avelina “Bing” Opena, RN, NICU supervisor and Ma. Victoria “Marivic” Guiao, RN, OB Ward supervisor to review results and recommendations of the Hearing Screening Compliance Survey. Supervisors provided additional input for the training objectives for the upcoming “Hearing Screening Protocol and Equipment Training”, scheduled for July 16 – 17, 2018, which will be facilitated by, Renee L.G. Koffend, AuD, CCC-A, Guam EHDI Audiologist Consultant.

Guam CEDDERS provided the “Pripåra Hao Emergency Preparedness Checklist and Guidebook for Persons with Disabilities” to the Guam Developmental Disabilities Council Program Coordinator

Continuing Education Developmental Disabilities Information Dissemination
Jenika Ballesta, Research Associate, presented copies of the “Pripåra Hao Emergency Preparedness Checklist and Guidebook for Persons with Disabilities” to Marie Libria, Guam Developmental Disabilities Council Program Coordinator. Ms. Libria will share these products during the 2018 AIDD Technical Assistance Institute, 2018 NACDD Annual Conference and related meetings, and during the “Emergency Preparedness: What Can Councils Do?” panel featuring FEMA, Alabama DD Council, and Guam DD Council.

LTSAE: Tips and Tools for Monitoring and Tracking Children’s Early Development Training for Headstart Family Advocates

Community Services: Technical Assistance Community Services: Training Continuing Education
On June 22, Jenika Ballesta, Guam CEDDERS Research Associate (seated left), facilitated training on “Learn the Signs. Act Early,” for Headstart Family Advocates. The “Learn the Signs. Act Early” Program aims to improve early identification of autism and other developmental disabilities in children to enable families to access needed services and supports. Not shown in picture: Vera Blaz, Guam CEDDERS Training Associate.