This week in Special Education

Hello! What an eventful week for the Special Education Department. Monday morning the administrative leadership team met and discussed, among other things, our MDR process and ESSA’s legislation which implements a 1% district cap for students who can take alternative assessment.  On Tuesday, the Progress Monitoring Work group met for their third meeting of the year. During the meeting, three vendors presented progress monitoring tools.

On Wednesday and Thursday this week, Behavior Consultant, Nikki Sobh and Teacher Consultant, Carrie Schoolmaster completed their second round of a two day Non-Violent Crisis Prevention training. Thus far the two have trained nearly 30 Dearborn Schools staff members.

The week was capped off on Friday when our paraprofessionals continued online training on topics such as behavior management and understanding disabilities. Additionally, ASD paras were trained on specific strategies by district ASD Behavior Specialist, Kim Zarzyki and ASD Teacher Consultant, Meegan Dunn.

Restorative Practice Facilitator/Technician Meeting

Student Empowerment Facilitator, Dr. Soueweidane, and Dr. Warner, Special Education Coordinator Nicole West and Coordinator of Affective Education Danene Charles met with district Student Empowerment Technicians on Wednesday January 17 at Woodworth MS. The restorative team uses this time to collaborate among one another to continue and grow the restorative movement.

Welcome Back!


Happy New Year! I hope you all had relaxing and restful break spending time with family and friends. Here are some upcoming events for the Special Education Department:

  • K-2 MICI classroom officially had its first day at William Ford Elementary on December 15
  • January 11: Co-Teaching Steering Committee meeting
  • January 12: 3D PD for elementary resource teachers
  • January 16: ASD behavior workshop at Wayne RESA for ASD teachers
  • January 23 and 24: CPI training
  • February 5: Special Education Departmental Meeting

Procedurals Manual Workgroup

Our initial procedures manual work group initial meeting was December 7 at ASC in the boardroom. The charge of the group is the following:

The Committee is charged with the following tasks:

  • To develop a comprehensive procedural manual, that
    • targets specific compliance areas and processes
    • clearly articulates process and procedures,with supporting guidelines, in all relevant areas
  • To develop a timeline for roll out of the manual and staff training
  • Review existing procedures
  • To develop a review process to ensure the manual stays current

Student Empowerment Facilitator and Technician Meeting

The Restorative Practices team meets monthly to discuss practices related to their work with the Restorative Movement. Technicians and Facilitators agreed to rotate the meeting monthly. The meetings are represented by Facilitators (Dr. Souweidane and Dr. Warner) and technicians from the 9 schools implementing restorative practices. This month we met at Dearborn High School and after the meeting took a tour to their artistic responsibility room.

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.




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