SISS Update March 27th

  • March 27, 2020
    Hello Families, 

    We are reaching out today to share an update on our work to meet the needs of students and families. Certainly, this is a challenging time for all, and we all understand that current events make things even more difficult for our parents of students with special needs. We want to reassure you of our focused efforts and continuing commitment to support our students with special needs throughout this very difficult time. 

    First, we miss seeing all of our students in person each day and are concerned about the health and well-being of each of our students and families. While none of us has experienced a situation exactly like this before, we are exploring all options to support you and your family during this challenging time. 

    The goal of this communication is to share: 

    • the work we have been doing so far during this state of emergency, 
    • our next steps in planning for the timeframe following spring break,
    • and support resources that may be helpful for parents

    Our Work So Far

    The primary goal over these previous two weeks has been to ensure a connection from the classroom teacher, share enrichment learning opportunities, and support health and physical needs. 

    We have ensured that our students and families can access regular food distribution locations, and have provided front door delivery of food for families who need this support. In addition, we have inquired about technology needs, and distributed technology devices so that our students and families may access their learning from remote.   

    While during this state of emergency school closure, learning will certainly look different as we adapt to current circumstances, our commitment to meet the unique needs of all students has not waivered. 

    Next Steps

    We are using two guideposts for our work on next steps: 

    • our abiding commitment to meet the unique needs of students to successfully access learning while working within the constraints of the school closure order. 
    • continue to review guidance from the federal Office of Special Education Programs and the Michigan Department of Education - Office of Special Education in all our planning. 

    We are meeting regularly with our teachers, district SISS support teams and general education staff to align our work.

    Next Steps in this process for the timeframe following spring break include:

    • continued regular and consistent communication from the classroom teacher,
    • collaboration between general education teachers and special education support staff to ensure learning opportunities in every content area are accessible and differentiated,
    • support staff will be in direct contact with each family to discuss details about how student services will be reasonably provided within the online setting,
    • access to special education resources and available district tools for every family posted here,
    • a Parents of Special Needs Student Help Line will be shared following spring break, including dedicated assistive technology support for families beginning April 6th at 734-994-2318.

    Teachers and members of student support teams are always available via email on a daily basis to respond to parent questions or concerns. 

    Though we are not convening IEP meetings at this current time, we are closely monitoring the extent of this emergency closure and are developing appropriate processes to proceed in the event the closure should continue. Ensuring quality IEP development and implementation is an important priority for all of us and we will be clarifying more on this process as we move forward together.  

    We appreciate your partnership, and we know we will make this path successfully by walking it together over the coming weeks. We are committed to our students and families and will do whatever we can to support you in the weeks ahead. Please look for updates from us on a regular basis as we implement these support plans together. 

    As always, if you have any need, please reach out to your child’s teacher.  

    Your partners in education,

    Dr. Marianne Fidishin
    Executive Director, SISS

    Ms. Dawn Linden
    Assistant Superintendent, Teaching and Learning