Skip to toolbar

December Departmental Staff Meeting

Special Education leadership team presented on supplementary aids and services during Decembers departmental meeting. Supplementary aids and services are supports that are provided in regular education classes, other education-related settings, and in extracurricular and nonacademic settings, to enable children with disabilities to be educated with nondisabled children to the maximum extent appropriate. The presentation focused on examples of supports that would be appropriate.

Thank you Mary!

It’s been a bittersweet week for the Special Education Department. Mary Raftery has announced her retirement effective December 22, 2017 from Dearborn Public Schools. Mary has touched many lives in her career as an educator. A true advocate for Special Education students, she began her career in Dearborn in 1996. Her impact has been tremendous and she will truly be missed. Thank you Mary for your service and we wish you the best of luck.

ASD Professional Development

Professional Development has been given to ASD staff at OL Smith, Whitmore Bolles, and Nowlin. Topics included how to work out a schedule for paras throughout the day; how to communicate with other teachers; classroom set up and labeling of areas/items; visual supports; procedures and routines; essential elements; data collection; structured work tasks; and token economies. All of these areas represent best practice in an ASD classroom.



Seclusion and Restraint Awareness Training

As part of the Michigan Department of Education revisions to public law MCL 380.1307-380.1307h school districts across the State had to provide Seclusion and Restraint Awareness training to all staff who come in contact with students. In late October our district sent over 20 staff members to become qualified to train staff of the newest modifications to the legislation.

What is seclusion and restraint?

1. Emergency seclusion” is defined in MCL 380.1307h(e) as “a last resort
emergency safety intervention involving seclusion that is necessitated by an
ongoing emergency situation and that provides an opportunity for the pupil
to regain self-control while maintaining the safety of the pupil and others.”
2. “To qualify as emergency seclusion, there must be continuous observation by
school personnel of the pupil in seclusion, and the room or area used for
confinement must comply with state and local fire and building codes; must
not be locked; must not prevent the pupil from exiting the area if school
personnel become incapacitated or leave that area; and must provide for
adequate space, lighting, ventilation, viewing, and the safety and dignity of
the pupil and others, in accordance with department guidelines.”

“Restraint” means an action that prevents or significantly restricts a pupil’s
a. “Physical restraint” means restraint involving direct physical contact.
b. “Chemical restraint” means the administration of medication for the
purpose of restraint.
Michigan Department of Education Page 14
c. “Mechanical restraint” means the use of any device, article, garment,
or material attached to or adjacent to a pupil’s body to perform

MDE Guidelines

Next Steps

Schools will begin identifying “Key Identified Personnel” at each school. Members of these teams will be trained in CPI and CPR. CPI   is a non-violent crisis intervention method that includes physical interventions and personal safety techniques, which are designed to maximize the safety of everyone involved in a crisis situation. Our department recently sent two staff members, Niki Sobh and Carrie Schoolmaster, to become trainers of CPI. Our department is currently working on a schedule to train one member of each “Key Identified Personnel” team in CPI. We hope to have all the training complete by late March.




The Movement Continues…

Restorative Practices expert Monica Evans will be presenting to staff in late December. Ms. Evans, from the International Institute of Restorative Practices, will be hosting her second presentation. Ms. Evans focus is on restorative practice and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Staff provided positive feedback during her first visit. We are excited to keep the momentum going with Restorative Practices.

Anne Benninghof-Co-Teaching

Dearborn was fortunate to have Co-Teaching expert Anne Benninghof visit from November 13-15. During her time in Dearborn, Anne visited classrooms, helped new co-teaching teams problem solve and helped our co-teaching teacher leaders develop solid professional development to share with staff. Anne has had a great impact on our district and has helped us improve our co-teaching practices. Our teachers were very receptive to her positive attitude, great knowledge and experience. We expect Anne back in May of 2018.


November 6th Departmental Meeting

Second in our continuing series on IEP compliance and best practices, we revisited writing measurable goals based on the law, MDE feedback, and RESA guidance. Reference was made to the 10/02/17 departmental meeting that provided instruction as to how to write a rich and data-driven present level of academic achievement and functional performance statement through which areas of need are identified and addressed. The Measurable Goal Formula was reviewed and the new electronic forms were presented. Staff engaged in discussion and generated their own measureable goals via Google Forms. Staff was reminded that TCs are available to assist with all areas of IEP completion and compliance upon timely request.

Staff was also advised that information on the transition process, from previous presentations, from department meetings, and from professional development as well other valuable resources are always available in iLearn.

November 7th, elections and a whole lot of great learning opportunities for Special Education Staff

The first Tuesday of November typically means campaign slogans, campaign signs and a visit to your local election booth. For Dearborn Special Education Staff it meant exciting professional learning opportunities. In 2017, the Special Education Department hosted a number of professional development for all staff that included the following:

  • MOVE Training
  • Mindfulness Training
  • Para educator module training which included behavior management, understanding inclusion and much more
  • Staff training on Extended School Year and Behavior Intervention Plans
  • First annual Wayne RESA POHI conference.


The Importance of Mindfulness  11/7/17

Dr. Mary Spence of the Michigan Collaboration for Mindfulness Education (MC4ME) in Ann Arbor gave an introduction to using Mindfulness in the school environment with staff from the Special Education Department on Tuesday the 7th of November.   She reviewed the history of mindfulness and the physical, educational and mental health benefits associated with it. She noted that mindfulness is not a specific technique but a practice, it is a way of viewing oneself and one’s environment and is most effective when the guide has incorporated this mindfulness into their own life.

Dr. Spence demonstrated two techniques with the group for guiding oneself into the practice of mindfulness.   She also shared information from a variety of state resources/organizations specific to children, adolescents and the school environment.

Thank You: David Barbour and Stacy Rumler

Extended School Year

In our continuing series on IEP compliance and best practices, we dug deeper into Extended School Year.  While Extended School Year remains the exception, not the norm, it must be considered at each and every IEP.  Extended School Year is determined by:

* (1) (a) significant regression on goals and objectives and an inability to recoup skills in these areas within a reasonable period of time, and

(b) if the student is in a functional curriculum (nature and severity of disability) and one or more annual goals address functional skills, and

(c) if the student has unique educational needs that cannot be adequately addressed during the regular school year.

*(2) the critical nature of the skill(s) addressed by the annual goal(s), the student’s age and level of development, and the timeliness for teaching the skill, if a break in instruction would prevent the student from making reasonable progress toward self-sufficiency and identified in one or more current goals (critical stage of learning).

Decisions are based on data that is longitudinal in nature. ESY is not summer school but delivered through a variety of service approaches.

A flowchart to assist in this process will be available in iLearn.

The new IEP checklist was reviewed.

Thank You: Julie Stahl and Carrie Schoolmaster

Functional Behavior Assessment and Behavior Intervention Plans

The Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) and the Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) are formal ways teachers, support staff, administrators, and parents can work collaboratively to determine the best way to help a student behaviorally. It is used for students who are not successful with typical behavior supports or school wide positive behavior interventions. This is a two portion process that is conducted by the participants to determine the extra supports required to ensure the students success in school.

The first portion of this process is the Functional Behavior Assessment. It is the process for collecting data to define the target behaviors and the function of the behaviors. All participants work together to gather data to formulate a hypothesis to why the behavior is occurring. This process then helps formulate the second portion of the entire process, the Behavior Intervention Plan. The Behavior Intervention Plan is the actual plan that is created to improve the behaviors. The plan clearly defines the behaviors and  incorporates strategies for prevention, replacement behavior instruction, positive reinforcement, planned consequences, and home interventions.

The Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) and Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) can be used for students in Special Education and General Education. It can be initiated when a student exhibits a pattern of behavior that impedes/interferes with his/her own learning or that of others. It is often seen as an effective intervention process to help improve behaviors and learning overall.

Thank you Faziah Nassar, Amy Swiss, Alia Beydoun, Mona Berry, Haoura Rizk and Zaynab Boussi

POHI Countywide Conference 

Wayne County RESA is hosted its first annual Countywide
professional development for our POHI professional
staff in Dearborn. POHI educators, paraprofessionals, and related
service staff will have an opportunity to learn and explore
new instructional strategies and medical supports from
community experts and their fellow colleagues. During
our full day of learning and fun, participates will engage
and explore
 Current Medical Advances and Encouragement via
our Keynote Speaker, Dr. Ahmed A. Bazzi,
Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery of Children’s Hospital
of Michigan
 Strategies and Interventions for Gross and Fine
Motor Skills
 Conversations with former students with POHI
 Assistive Technology Tools to enhance and support
learning for students with physical impairments
 Brain Gym activities
 STAND Program
 Vendor Display

Thank You: Courney Pletzke and Dr. Rola Bazzi-Gates

Follow this blog

Get every new post delivered right to your inbox.