SISS Update April 30th

  • April 30, 2020
    Dear AAPS Families,

    It has certainly been a challenging time for us all and we have worked hard to balance the health, safety, and wellness of our students and families with our core mission to provide equitable access and support for instruction. We want to assure you of our commitment to serve each of our students to the fullest extent possible. We are reaching out to you today to share an update on our Special Education Continuity of Learning Plan (CLP) and how it relates to service provision for our students with disabilities.  

    During these current circumstances, we understand that all instruction has significantly changed in the online setting. Our priority is service delivery. In the midst of this unprecedented school closure, we will ensure that our students with disabilities have reasonable and appropriate access to instruction and support services for the duration of the closure. 

    Our Next Phase of Instruction

    While service provision has continued during the closure in the form of weekly contact and general learning opportunities for families, we will begin engaging in student goal-related lessons and support moving forward. 

    Our special education teachers and staff have been preparing and are ready and anxious to begin this next phase of our Special Education Continuity of Learning Plan. We are happy to share the following expectations with our families and we stand at the ready to support you and your students over these next several weeks. 

    • Self-contained and resource instruction has been in place and will continue through these teacher’s learning platforms with daily lessons, Friday Checks for Understanding and feedback to students on assignments.  
    • Support services will begin as soon as possible and no later than May 4th.
    • Students may receive services within their self-contained, resource or general education learning platforms or within the service provider’s own learning platform. 
    • Service providers will communicate how and when services will be provided to students.  Teachers will collaborate with paraprofessionals to ensure we meet the needs of our students with differentiated learning opportunities.

    Please see the full AAPS Special Education Continuity of Learning Plan here for more detail. 

    Modes of Communication and Connection

    Our staff will remain in contact with our families over these several weeks. We encourage our families to contact case managers and/or service providers with needs or concerns.  In addition to staff/student interaction via our learning platform, our staff will connect with families in the following ways as needed. 

    • Office hours: Our staff will hold office hours twice a week during regular school hours to provide real-time communication with families either via email or within their learning platforms.  
    • Email:  Our staff will monitor email daily and will work to respond within 24 hours.
    • Telephone: Should this be a family’s preferred mode of communication, staff will contact families via telephone.

    We understand that this is a difficult and challenging time for all families and AAPS is dedicated to ensuring all students receive the necessary support to help them be successful. We greatly appreciate your patience as we navigate our ‘new normal”. Should you have any questions or concerns about your student’s instructional needs, please contact your student’s case manager directly. Should you have additional concerns, we have also provided the SISS Hot Line at 734-994-2318. 

    Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)

    As we continue to identify, create, and implement new remote learning methods, we have also been closely monitoring the direction and guidance regarding IEP provision at the federal, state, and local levels, including staying connected with our peer districts across the state. 

    We take the creation and subsequent implementation of IEPs seriously and will strive to ensure that quality IEP development and implementation remains an important priority. IEP review and development should always be responsive to the learning needs and instructional status of our students.

    We are committed to providing in good faith and to the extent practicable the completion of all outstanding IEPs. However, we also understand that, based upon the existing resources, family needs, and other circumstances presented by the COVID-19 state of emergency, we may not be able to complete this task prior to the end of the academic school year of June 12, 2020. Should we find that necessary student information is not available or that we are unable to complete the IEP process prior to June 12, we will work with families to ensure students are supported and IEPs are completed as soon as possible. This could include summer and early fall opportunities to convene. Some extensions may be needed in these cases to ensure that an appropriate IEP is developed.

    With this in mind, case managers will begin reaching out to our families over the next several days to begin scheduling virtual and/or telephonic IEP meetings. We will work with our families to determine the best method for conducting these meetings (online, telephone, etc.)  

    Finally, we wish to thank all of our families who participated in our Thought Exchange Survey. We really appreciate knowing your thoughts and have worked hard to address those needs and concerns. Our next steps will be to share these results and plans publically during a dedicated town hall for Families with Special Needs on May 7th. Information to access this town hall will be shared with you soon and the event recording will be posted on the website for those unable to attend live. 

    We appreciate the patience and understanding of our families. We are in this together and while we miss seeing our students face-to-face each day, we are looking forward to continuing to connect in new ways and “seeing” them in our online platforms.


    Dr. Marianne Fidishin,
    Executive Director of Student Intervention and Support Services 

    Ms. Dawn Linden,
    Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning