Contact Information

Jonathan Woloshin, Program Administrator, 206-9849

Martha Olsen, Program Administrator, 206-9019
Samantha Jean, Next Steps Teacher, 206-9028
Katie Julka, Primary Steps Teacher, 516-5574

Entry Criteria

  • Have a special education diagnosis
  • Serves Students in 1st-8th grade (Primary Steps for 1st-5th grade, Next Steps for  6th-8th grade)
  • Referral made to Intensive Support Team – request for support
  • Ability to function safely in small group settings
  • Potential to participate in a therapeutic environment with adult support
    • Motivated by relationship
    • Some internal locus of control
    • Ability to access DBT/CBT (talk therapy)
  • Parent willing to actively participate in program
  • Min. of low average or average IQ
  • Spectrum issues will be discussed on a case by case basis

An estimated 13 percent of youth under 18 have significant mental health problems. Anxiety, trauma, depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and disruptive behavior disorders are among the more common disorders. If mental health problems go untreated, they can impede success in school, continue into adulthood, and contribute to ongoing problems.

Program Description

Both Next Steps & Primary Steps provide services to Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) students with educational disabilities and co-occurring mental health challenges who are in first through eighth grade. MMSD’s Steps Programs focus on teaching skills for managing emotions and coping with stress. Curriculum addresses core topic areas, including identifying feelings, coping with trauma, understanding one’s physical responses, learning to relax, linking thoughts and feelings, and developing plans for coping and practicing emotion management.  Programming will also focus on reducing trauma symptoms among at-risk school children (for example, children exposed to violence or natural disasters).

Steps is a partnership between Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) and Family Service of Madison (FSM).  Family Service of Madison has been serving families since 1910 by providing mental health supports and interventions.


Steps students have access to an integrated therapeutic school environment that focuses on coping skills, social skills, school readiness and family dynamics. Program staff are committed to the wellness of individuals and their families through treatment, prevention, intervention and education.  


Our vision is to provide culturally competent, holistic, wellness focused, and trauma informed school environment.  Students have the skills and resources to navigate their world to increase quality of life. We will do this by using evidence based strategies in our services to children and families through an on-site partnership with FSM mental health professionals and MMSD special education staff.

Services offered to MMSD Students/Families

  • Students provided a trauma-sensitive therapeutic school environment
  • Small group and individualized instruction from licensed cross categorical teachers and licensed therapists
  • Instruction in language arts and math
  • Day treatment services availability
  • Individual outpatient and in-home therapy availability
  • Trauma specific psychotherapy
  • Parent support and education
  • Focused therapy groups (by topic)
  • Supported transition back into traditional school environments
  • ½ day or Full day programming


  • Provide education and opportunities for individuals to identify early warning signs of mental illness and subsequently provide an environment that supports recovery and improves resilience.
  • Everyone has the right to be treated with compassion, respect, and dignity, free from stigma and prejudice.
  • Mental health is essential to personal wellbeing, and is fundamental to achieving a healthy, balanced, and productive life.
  • Treatment offers a powerful return on investment and treatment does work is used appropriately.
  • Education is power.
  • Unless we promote community understanding of mental illness, plus tolerance and acceptance of people living with mental illness people avoid seeking help.
  • The goal of treatment is recovery, and is important for those with mental illness to be an integral part of the recovery process- decisions, programs, support groups, and medication regimens.
  • We fulfill our mission most effectively when we collaborate with others and when we look for partners to achieve our goals.

Pre and Post Data to support growth

  • SDQ given upon entrance and exit
  • AchenBach parent rating profile
  • Internal Steps program data