April 1, 2020
Your Daily ISD News & Updates
Welcome to the MAISA Daily InSiDe Update.
MAISA will be providing this resource of critical topics each day. Please reach out to sfranck@gomaisa.org if you have additional items to add.
Whitmer to Announce Decision Thursday
on State's K-12 School
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she expects to make an announcement Thursday on the status of the school year for K-12 students after she shut schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whitmer said she hadn't "made the final decision yet" about ending the school year months before the academic year ends.

"So I’ll be making some decisions today and tomorrow and we’ll be announcing something on Thursday," she told MLive on Tuesday .

When asked about the factors she is weighing, the governor said: "We have 1.5 million kids in Michigan who are in our schools. We have a virus that’s ravaging our state and taking our kids out of school was absolutely the right decision. But now we have to come up with a solution to meet their educational needs. With the variety of districts that we have, they have different challenges, they have different access to resources, and so all of these are pieces of the issue that we have to solve."

A representative for Whitmer's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment
Reminder: Connectivity Surveys Due
April 3, 2020
MAISA and Michigan's ISDs are currently collecting responses to the " Student and Staff Connectivity Survey" to identify the level of student and teacher internet connectivity and device access in homes across the state.

To date, over 200 districts have completed the survey. ISD Tech Directors will be sent information later today for their districts that have completed the survey.

Once again, we appreciate the help of the ISDs with supporting their local districts in gathering this information and working towards 100% completion. If superintendents need a link to the survey, it can be accessed here: Student and Staff Connectivity Survey - March 2020

Please remember, we are asking for the survey to be completed by April 3rd, 2020.
AESA Gathers Requests for Action
from States Regarding IDEA
From AESA-Special Education Issues:
ED has said it will grant states, local educational agencies (LEAs) and parents greater flexibility in meeting timelines spelled out in several federal laws governing special education. While the guidance from ED has been helpful, LEAs feel it is inadequate to assure they won’t face legal action if they are unable to provide all students with disabilities FAPE as defined in each student’s IEP using online tools.

The 3rd stimulus bill provides specific language that requires the Secretary to prepare and submit a report to Congress (Ed and Appropriation committees) with recommendations on any additional waivers under the IDEA, Rehab Act, ESSA and Perkins that the Secretary believes necessary to provide limited flexibility to States/LEAs to meet the needs of students during the emergency.

The following is a list of issues that have been raised by school board members, education legal counsel, by LEA administrators, and Special Education Local Plan Areas (SELPAs): 

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has demonstrated significant flexibility across elementary and secondary education as it relates to ESSA and we are hoping, to the extent possible, ED will work toward consistency in advancing flexibility across all Federal education programs including special education.

The group is asking for suspension/waiver for the year on:
State monitoring requirements – including CFR 300.600
State performance plan and annual performance report (SPP/APR)
Due process & complaint timelines – both new complaints and those currently in the pipeline with little or no personnel at the State or local levels to investigate or comply.
15 % Significant disproportionality set-aside for non-compliance. LEAs should be urged to continue working on progress to address the issue, but the fiscal requirement to withhold funds should be lifted for this year. 

Policy makers should be anticipating the need for a very significant compensatory education fund resulting from the loss of special education services due to COVID-19, to assist with the huge liability that will exist to address regression, trauma and other issues. The reality is that there will likely be static progress for many students with disabilities (actually for all students) and potentially some regression. This raises significant liability issues for LEAs and there needs to be some relief when services and staff (both at the state and local levels) are not available to provide the necessary range of services due to the pandemic. Further, the need for compensatory education services will extend well past this school year and into the next. A compensatory fund will need to span at least a couple of school years.

Distance learning and more specifically on-line delivery of education will be of benefit for some students. However, it could/will pose a challenge for many students with IEPs who rely on in-person assistance for speech, occupational, physical or behavioral therapy, as well as instructional aides to help students access education in regular classrooms. There needs to be flexibility in providing online instruction and student support services, especially if school sites are closed and those who provide “assistance services – OT, PT, Speech and Language – are not available. Further, the IEP team must document its rationale for placement in other than the pupil's school and classroom in which the pupil would otherwise attend if the pupil were not disabled. The documentation shall indicate why the pupil's disability prevents his or her needs from being met in a less restrictive environment even with the use of supplementary aids and services. Either suspend or relax mandates for prior written notice, modifying IEPs and the amount of documentation required during the pandemic. LEAs are concerned about the large volume of IEPs that would need to be amended in a very short period of time.

Issue direct guidance that timelines for completing assessments underway are stopped as a result of the distance learning and a new 60-day timeline starts if the uncompleted portion involves direct classroom observation or administration of standardized test instruments to the student. Ensure alignment of all assessment waivers for ESSA are also aligned to the needs and requirements of IDEA.

Compliance timelines: Waive all IEP timeline requirements for 60 days as LEAs develop distance-learning capabilities. Holding IEP meetings during this time cannot be meaningful and interfere with the large scale up of converting to distance learning in a very short time. The issue of developing and implementing distance learning capabilities applies for all students. The IEP timelines don’t allow for that development and should be waived. The 60-day timeline could start from the time the LEA closed.
MiOpen Books - Free Social Study Resources
ISDs across the state are busy exploring and providing resources and materials to support educators, families and students while schools are closed. 

MAISA would like to remind you that the Michigan Open Books Project is free and available to all educators and students across the state. As many of you know, the MiOpenBooks were created by Michigan educators for Michigan Educators. The MiOpenBooks are aligned with the newly approved Social Studies Standards that were approved by the State Board of Education in June 2019.

For educators: the MiOpenBook team has created teacher guides that allow you to see potential connections to other Michigan and national social studies resources which include: the Michigan Content Expectations, the PASST Project, MC3, C3 Teachers, and soon GIANTS.

You can find the teacher guides here:

The online social studies content includes:

These books are free to teachers and students, and can be downloaded on Apple, Chrome, and Windows products. Download the books here, http://textbooks.wmisd.org/projectbacon.html
MAISA To Host Weekly
General Membership Meetings
As information continues to change quickly, please join us for weekly MAISA Remote General Membership Meetings via Zoom. F or the time being, w e have asked these meetings to be for ISD Superintendents only.

  • April 7, 2020: 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm 
  • April 14, 2020: 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm 
  • April 21, 2020: 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm 
  • April 28, 2020: 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Join Zoom Meeting
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Meeting ID: 442 495 934

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Meeting ID: 442 495 934