April 2021 Newsletter
April 2021 Newsletter
With the mild weather we’ve been enjoying, I have the urge to dig in the dirt. Spring is such an incredible time of rebirth in our region. The ice and snow have melted away. Tiny crocus flowers have poked through the soil. Tulips are beginning to come up. Now is the time I assess what plants and flowers made it through the winter and make a plan for nurturing those plants that experienced some damage.
Spring is also typically a time for our students to be assessed using summative assessments. The Michigan Department of Education has submitted waivers for the summative assessments and the federal accountability requirements. To date, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) has not waived the requirement for Michigan students to be assessed by M-STEP, PSAT8/9, MI-ACCESS, SAT/MME, and WIDA. The USED has waived the federal accountability requirement, as well as the school identification process.
So, unless something changes soon, our students will be taking these summative assessments over the next few weeks. Let’s approach the assessments as a tool for measuring student progress but leave the high-stakes pressure out of the equation. Encourage our students to show us what they know so we can develop plans to continue to support them, academically and emotionally. Our students need our nurturing, now more than ever, to flourish.
MICIP is now fully underway, and each of the districts in our region have had at least one meeting regarding implementation. As improvement teams begin to meet more regularly, the following resources will continue to be helpful:
Sign up for MDE’s Continuous Communication (MICIP newsletter) for additional information (Sign up here).
The MICIP process is unique in each district. Please contact Lindsay Brindley (email@example.com) at any time to schedule individualized supports.
EUP STEM REGION
- EUP STEM Region News and Events Blog
- STEM Educator Grant Opportunities
- EUP MiSTEM Region Webpage
- Professional Learning workshops in spring and summer can be found in Wisdomwhere Events Page and include:
- Cereal City Science 8th Grade Earth Science Workshop – May 12 and 19
- Elementary Science Teacher Leader Corps (TLC) grade level workshops – June 15-24
- Math Recovery AVMR 1-2 Series – Begins July 12
- Teacher Externships – Tentatively beginning in July
- Foundations of Math Professional Learning Series – Begins August 10
April is Autism ACCEPTANCE Month
April has historically been known as “Autism Awareness Month” as a way to empower individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families. More recently, however, the autism community and advocates are calling for a shift in language to match the growing need for acceptance within the community. The shift in the use of terminology aims to foster acceptance to ignite change through improved support and opportunities in education, employment, and comprehensive long-term services.
For autistic people, awareness is not the goal at this point – acceptance is. Certainly, in the last 20 years, enough headlines have used the word "autism" to make people aware of it. Step one is low, and it's been mastered. Now for the steeper climb. What do people who aren't part of the autism community really understand about autistic people? Because without understanding someone, getting to the critical, important, life-changing step of accepting them is impossible.”
Language and Image Considerations:
- Be aware that many autistic people may be uncomfortable with person-first language (“person with autism”) and prefer identity-first language (“autistic person”). This may be a shift in the way that many of us think as the vast majority of the autistic community has agreed that they view autism as inseparable from who they are. That said, every person is different, and you should always use what makes that individual comfortable when speaking with someone.
- Understand that many autistic people may be uncomfortable with labels like “high functioning” and “low functioning.” The short reason is that it is often used to deny those deemed high-functioning from necessary services and accommodations and used to strip those deemed low-functioning of their rights. Additionally, it paints an inaccurate picture – an individual’s “functioning” varies greatly even throughout the day and depending on the task.
- The long associated "Puzzle-piece" image stirs debate between those who support and those who object to its use. In a study of the general public, participants explicitly associated puzzle pieces, even generic puzzle pieces, with incompleteness, imperfection, and oddity. Read more on the subject HERE
To reflect on this information, you are encouraged to listen to this five minute story about what autism acceptance means to a pretty wise ten year old kid.
PAC Educator of the Year Award Information:
The EUPISD PAC is a committee dedicated to promoting and ensuring a partnership between families and professionals in the education of students with disabilities.
There will be some changes to the awards protocol for this year. The EUPISD PAC is looking to represent each district with one award. Each PAC representative is being asked to work with their constituent district to nominate one person from their district for the Educator of the Year Award. The nominations will be brought to the EUPISD PAC committee for final review and awards will be distributed to districts to honor the final award winners. The EUPISD PAC committee will be reviewing the awards protocol with revisions for next year. If you have any questions, please contact EUPISD PAC Liaison Ruthanne Stark at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Specially Designed Instruction: Progress Monitoring
The EUPISD special education department has continued to support the capacity of special education providers in the area of specially designed instruction with a new course focused on increasing knowledge and expertise with progress monitoring. An asynchronous learning module with required activities / reflection was created for special education providers on a cohort basis with ⅓ of the region’s providers completing the activity each year. During the first semester, providers learned key foundational pieces of data-based individualization (DBI). DBI is a research-based process for individualizing and intensifying interventions through the systematic use of assessment data, validated interventions, and research-based adaptation strategies. In semester two, providers are putting that learning into action through a case study activity. To learn more about DBI visit the National Center on Intensive Intervention. For questions regarding the EUPISD course, contact Ruthanne Stark email@example.com
EUPISD LEARNING CENTER
Please write or call with your comments, suggestions, and/or concerns.
Angie McArthur, Superintendent – firstname.lastname@example.org