What is AAPAC?

The Ann Arbor Parent Advisory Committee for Special Education (AAPAC) is a group of parents and guardians whose focus is on supporting children in AAPS who have IEPs or 504 Plans.

Our Executive Committee members and individual Building Representatives and Alternates provide parents and guardians with a helping hand to go to anytime with questions.

Here is the AAPAC Brochure.

The Executive Director of the Office of Special Education is Dr. Marianne Fidishin. You can reach the OSE at 734 994-2318, or check their OSE Staff page for more ways to reach them. Here is the 2022-2023 organization chart that gives you some info about who to contact about what.

Here is the AAPAC Committee Report that Mary Duerksen gave to the Board of Education on June 28, 2017.  It gives a thorough description of what AAPAC does.

Here is Melissa Epstein’s report to the Ann Arbor Board of Education from May 25, 2022.

Here is an IEP Team Contact Form for a parent or guardian to keep track of the names and contact information for their child’s IEP service providers.  You can take it to IEP meetings to note service providers for the next school year, or to ask the special education teacher or case manager at the start of new school year. For contact information for OSE Assistant Directors, go to www.a2schools.org/Page/8746. For AAPAC Building Representatives, go to a2pac.wordpress.com/current-reps/.

Here is the list of self-contained classrooms for 2021-2022.

Board Reports

Here is the AAPAC Report to the Board of Education from their 2/24/2021 meeting.

Here is the board’s statement from the 5/26/21 Board meeting regarding the district’s decision on before and aftercare.

2022-2023 Meeting Calendar

In recent years our meetings have been online. At 6:15pm, we have conferences where families can talk with administrators from the school system’s Department of Special Education, with the meeting’s main program starting at 7:15pm.

  • Monday October 3:

    Our first meeting was on Monday, October 3rd via Zoom. We hosted all 13 candidates for Trustee of the AAPS Board of Education to answer questions relevant to educating students with disabilities in the district.

    AAPS Trustee Candidate Forum

    There are 4 open seats on the AAPS Board of Education this election year. Thirteen candidates will be on the November 8th ballot, and we are happy to host them at our traditional AAPS Trustee Candidate Forum. Each candidate will have the opportunity to answer 3 questions about educating students with disabilities in AAPS. The AAPAC Board will also gather audience questions via Zoom chat during the forum, which will then be sent to the candidates to answer after the event. The audio of the Q&A is posted here — please note that there is silence for about the first 32 seconds of the recording and then the meeting starts.

  • Monday November 7: OSE Curriculum and Technology Supports
    Makia Alexander, Assistive Technology Coordinator and Shalyn Furton, Coordinator of Differentiation and Supports from the AAPS Office of Special Education (formerly SISS) will talk about universal supports available in Ann Arbor Public Schools to help students with disabilities.
    Many students with IEPs and 504 plans need teachers to use unique strategies to help them learn the curriculum, and can also use technology to learn more effectively. Ms. Alexander and Ms. Furton will go over teacher supports, curricular supports, and support tools (assistive technology) that are in place to provide optimal access and learning experiences for students.

  • Monday December 5: Literacy Legislation for Michigan Students – a Conversation with State Senator Jeff Irwin and AAPS Trustee-Elect Susan Ward Schmidt

    In May 2022 the Michigan State Senate passed 4 bills that together, when enacted, would require schools to screen students for characteristics of dyslexia regardless of diagnosis. These characteristics include difficulties learning to decode and recognize words, and related difficulty in reading comprehension. The law would also require schools to provide tiered support in reading and comprehension to these students. The bills have bipartisan support and may be signed into law before the end of this year. Please help us welcome the champion of this important work, Ann Arbor’s State Senator Jeff Irwin, and AAPS Trustee-Elect Susan Ward Schmidt who helped authors the legislation, to discuss this law and its impact on our students with reading disabilities.

  • January (no meeting?)
  • Monday February 6 2023 Updates for AAPAC Families

    Dr. Jeanice Swift, Superintendent of AAPS, kicked off our 2023 meetings with highlighting the importance of inclusion and belonging for all students, highlighting next steps in this effort currently underway in the AAPS for students with disabilities. She also shared information about the upcoming 2023 Listen & Learn community engagement opportunities.

    Update on Secondary Intervention Improvements for Students with Disabilities

    Since 2020, the AAPS has been making changes in middle school and high school to improve education opportunities for students with disabilities. AAPS Office of Special Education administrators presented on developments since the topic was last discussed at an evening meeting in June 2022, and the timeline for the next phase of improvements.

  • Monday March 13 – Summer Activities Fair

    Virtual Summer Activities Fair

    Summer camps that provide summer opportunities for children with disabilities in the Ann Arbor area will present information on what they have to offer. This includes the Ann Arbor Public Schools, Office of Special Education and the programs they will be hosting this summer.

  • Monday April 3 – Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports and the IEP

    We are so pleased to welcome back Michigan Alliance for Families (MAF) to AAPAC to discuss the important topic of behavior for students with disabilities. When a child with a disability demonstrates behavior that impedes their learning or the learning of others, appropriate behavioral supports may be needed to ensure a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). This month, please join us as we learn from Stephanie Nichols, MAF Training Manager:

    • What a Functional Behavior Analysis (FBA) is and how to request one.

    • How an FBA leads to the development of a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP).

    • How to make sure the BIP utilizes Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS).

    • What to do if the plan isn’t working.

    Michigan Alliance for Families is a statewide resource to connect families of children with disabilities to resources to help improve their children’s education – helping to facilitate parent involvement as a means of improving educational services and outcomes for students with disabilities.

  • Monday May 1

    For the May 1st meeting, we asked YOU to submit your questions for AAPS-OSE to answer! Then we had:

    Q&A With the AAPS Office of Special Education

    During the meeting, Dr. Marianne Fidishin, Executive Director of the Office of Special Education, and other OSE administrators answered YOUR questions. You can ask about educating students with disabilities, you can ask about IEP process, you can ask about whether students with disabilities can get diplomas, you can ask about behavior plans, you can ask anything!

    Join the AAPAC Board – We need YOU!

    Many hands make light work. Did you know there are many ways that family members can help AAPAC be a voice for and serve students with disabilities in AAPS? Are you already a building liaison and ready to see what Board service is like? Do you have questions about the nomination process? Are there other ways you could help? Would you like to start as a building liaison? Do you have ideas about increasing our reach to more parents? Please join us for an informal discussion/Q&A where we talk about the nomination process for board elections in June and answer your questions about the many ways you can help other families just like you! And please send us your thoughts through this survey.

  • Next meeting: Monday June 5– As usual, pre-meeting conferences with AAPS special education administrators are available before the main program. Please see below for the agenda and descriptions, and see the e-mail message from the schools for the Zoom links:

    6:15 – 7:00 p.m. Individual parent conferences with AAPS Office of Special Education.

    Administrators will meet with parents for up to 10 minutes on a first-come, first serve basis. Log into the main Zoom meeting and you will be matched with the AAPS Assistant Director based on your child’s school or program to meet in a breakout room so conferences can remain private.

    Main Program

    7:00 – 7:05pm: Welcome and Introductions

    7:05 – 7:30 p.m. AAPAC Board Member Elections

    The slate of candidates for the 2023-24 school year is:

    Melissa Epstein
    Crystal Francis
    Caryn Gerhke
    Tara Hayes
    Caroline Kaganov
    Carmen King
    Marci Sukenic
    Amy Wilkins

    All parents and guardians of students with IEPs and 504s are AAPAC members and eligible to vote. There will be an opportunity to ask questions of candidates before the vote.

    7:25-8:00 p.m. Secondary Intervention Supports for Students with Disabilities – How Does it Work?

    Our February meeting this year focused on the improvements being made to how students with IEPs are supported in ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies classes in middle school and high school. The focus of these changes is better academic inclusion by improved differentiation of instruction, among other strategies, so that students who need academic support can learn with their peers. We have asked staff from the AAPS Office of Special Education to bring the topic back, focusing on how teachers are working with our students and what it might look like in the classroom to support this academic work.

Last updated June 5, 2023