Skills Academy

Mission Statement

Fostering academic excellence, social skills and the well-being of students.

For Whom is the Skills Academy appropriate?

Students who have progressed through the Response to Intervention/Problem Solving process and have continued to show the need for increased intervention and instruction.

Students who find it challenging to cope with output demands of school, struggle with interpersonal relationships and emotional regulation.

What is Skills Academy?

A temporary placement to achieve outcomes that:

  • increase students' social and social/emotional skills in a smaller, more structured environment, with an expectation the student will proceed to larger less structured environments when goals are met.
  • increase productivity and educational achievement to expectations in less restrictive environments.
  • result in all students demonstrating class expectations for:  responsible, respectful, safe, cooperative and productive behaviors.
  • a structured and supported model with opportunities for inclusion, in less restrictive classrooms, when students progress monitoring data demonstrates readiness.
  • ongoing, data analysis with home/school communication on a daily/weeky basis.

Program Highlights

  • Goal of successful transition to general education and neighborhood school.
  • Small student to staff ratio (5 to 1).
  • Emphasizes elements that promote increased academic engagement, social skills and social emotional well-being.
  • Transportation options upon eligibility.
  • Coordinated network of support systems including community agencies as appropriate.
  • Alternate School Schedule:
  • Elementary 8:30-2:30 (Wednesday 1:30)
  • Middle School/High School 8:30-2:30

Contact Information

Julie Fessenden, program coordinator, 385-5888

Judy Shuda, secretary

Skills Office
Westridge Middle School
4111 West 13th Street
Grand Island Ne 68803

Dodge Elementary School
641 South Oak Street
Grand Island Ne 68801

Westridge Middle School
4111 West 13th Street
Grand Island Ne 68803

Success Academy
1912 North Lafayette Avenue
Grand Island Ne 68803


Skills Academy Director

Julie Fessenden

Skills Academy:
Jill TurekK-3 Teacher
Kevin Liess4-5 Teacher
Peg Johnson6 Teacher
Brenda Stulken7-8 Teacher
Amy FernauHigh School Teacher
Justin MillerHigh School Teacher
Karen KitzingHigh School Teacher
Kristy HirschmanSchool Psychologist
Angie RunquistSocial Worker
Judy ShudaSecretary
Student Services:
Demi ArresParaprofessional
Kay BlairParaprofessional
Rebecca BehringParaprofessional
Rebecca JohnsonParaprofessional
Amber TwetenPara Educator
Ashley Egbert-PoolePara Educator
Austin PoolePara Educator
Breonna MeisterPara Educator
Dena BrooksPara Educator
Melissa LomanPara Educator
Tammy MyersPara Educator
Tracy MolinaPara Educator
Trina OrellanaPara Educator