SISS Update March 20th

  • Dear Parents and Guardians,

    We are currently in the midst of an unprecedented event, and over the past several days, the Student Intervention and Support Services (SISS) team have been working to plan how best to responsibly meet the needs of our students, staff, parents, guardians, and families in the Ann Arbor Public Schools. This complicated, challenging, and evolving time will mean that we continue to have more questions than answers, yet we are committed to learning each day, partnering with our parents, adjusting our plans accordingly, and supporting our students and all members of our school community.

    The overarching concern we share, families and staff included, is first prioritizing how we meet the immediate needs of students and ensure their connection through the duration of this school closure. This priority would be followed by service provision, and then developing an understanding of how we will best attend to IEP meetings and plans. This is a very different time in education and how we provide instruction will need to parallel this unprecedented moment in time. The primary goal of AAPS is our commitment to equity and access for each and every student.  AAPS teams are currently working hard to ensure that every student has access to a device and internet connectivity. 

    As is the case for all students in the district, all parents of students with an IEP or 504  can expect classroom teachers to be in touch with students daily, provide enrichment learning opportunities, and be available to both students and parents via ‘office hours.’ Students who receive Teacher Consultant or Resource services can expect that those staff are collaborating directly with classroom teachers to coordinate the daily learning opportunities. 

    Some of our students with 504s and IEPs have more complex needs that make digital learning even more difficult. As our staff works diligently to prepare, we ask for your patience during this planning process. Parents can expect forthcoming detail as to options and opportunities. Although these caring supports cannot take the place of in-person interactions between teachers and students, we remain committed to working to meet the needs of our students.  Teachers and support staff are committed to reaching out to our known vulnerable students with daily messages of care, to check in, and to keep our school and district teams informed of any concerns you have. As with all of our students, together we can and will continue to take care of our students during this challenging time. 

    These are unprecedented times, and we are committed to meeting our students' needs. Please note that all IEP meetings will be postponed until further notice.  We will work through this process one step at a time.  A student’s IEP is important to us.  We take them seriously and want to find ways to continue to engage in the same thoughtful, informed and connected way in their development together. As time and the events unfold, we will continue to consider how this closure impacts our obligations to students and parents as well as critical staff that are part of a student’s IEP team. 

    With each day comes new developments and information; this continues to be a rapidly evolving situation. Our promise to you is to stay in touch as we know more.  Throughout this time, we will maintain our steadfast commitment to meet the needs of our students within the confines of our current reality and to remain in communication. As we normally do, you may direct any questions or concerns to your child’s classroom teacher or IEP case manager. 


    Marianne Fidishin
    Executive Director, Student Intervention and Support Services 

    Dawn Linden
    Assistant Superintendent, Teaching and Learning

    Jeanice K. Swift
    Superintendent of Schools