Archives of 2021-2022 Meetings

Meetings were held online.

  • September 13 – We voted on some proposed bylaw changes. The proposal passed.
  • October 4
    Part 1: Meet Student Intervention and Support Services (SISS) Administrators

    Each year we ask SISS to introduce themselves to parents. Dr. Marianne Fidishin, Executive Director of SISS, will introduce her team, including people who you may know but have new roles and other new faces in SISS for the 2021-22 school year.

    Part 2: Changes to Special Education Services to Improve Inclusion for Middle School Students

    One aspect of the student experience that AAPS is working hard to re-envision and improve is the way special education supports are delivered to middle school students. Each student, regardless of disability, has the right to be educated, to the greatest extent possible, in their general education classroom alongside their peers. Student Intervention and Support Services (SISS) staff have been working closely with building administrators and teachers to deliver grade-level instruction in new ways. Shalyn Furton (Differentiation and Inclusion Coordinator), Sarah Pope (Assistant Director, SISS), and Janine Harper (Assistant Director, SISS) will present a series of systemic steps to better promote inclusion that are being implemented this year, and discuss how SISS anticipates applying the foundation of this work at all grade levels.

  • November 1 – Welcome, Introductions, and SISS Responsibility Chart Updates. Michigan Alliance for Families – Meet the Parent Mentor and Resources: This month we met Amy Sanderson, the Washtenaw County Regional Parent Mentor with Michigan Alliance for Families. 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. Amy will guide us through the resources available through Michigan Alliance for Families website, with special emphasis on communication advocacy and dispute resolution.
  • December 6 – IEP 101 – Present Levels Statement and the Impact of Parent Involvement with Q&A

    An essential part of every Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for students who qualify for special education services is the Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance statement. Jerron Bryant and Elena Girolamo, the AAPS Coordinators for Compliance and Supports, will present on IEP basics, and focus on parent participation and the present level statement as a driving force behind the rest of the IEP. Bring your questions and suggestions for future topics that may be incorporated into additional presentations.

  • January, 2022 – no meeting
  • February 7: Building-Level Transitions.

    The purpose of this presentation is to share with parents what they and their child will experience as they change levels. Change of Level is defined as moving from PK to elementary, elementary to middle school, middle school to high school, and high school to young adult. The SISS team will initially provide an overview of the process, then address the particulars present in each level.

    Breakout rooms will be utilized for parents to ask questions of level representatives, including building principals.

    The staff that will be presenting and answering your questions are as follows: Marianne Fidishin, Executive Director; Mary Wiese, Assistant Director (AD), Sarah Pope, AD; Audra Holdrorf, AD; Janine Harper, AD; Elena Giralomo, Secondary Coordinator of Compliance and Supports; Cheyl Brown; Transition and Transportation Coordinator; Shalyn Furton, Coordinator of Inclusion and Differentiation; and Principals Bill Harris, Casey Elmore, Jen Daddow, and Marci Tuzinsky.

  • March 15: Annual Summer Activities Fair, jointly held with the WISD PAC

    Every year we gather in March to hear from organizations with summer activities and camps who make accommodations for students with disabilities. Several organizations ranging from overnight camps like Fowler Center, skills based camps like Program for Educating All Cyclists, our own AAPS summer programs, Oz’s music, and many more are scheduled to attend. Each organization will provide an overview of their Summer 2022 programs, then be available in breakout rooms for questions & answers from parents. After the meeting, AAPAC will update this website with information from the presenting organizations and others who could not attend, or those who decide to open programs after the fair.

  • April – no meeting
  • Monday May 2

    AAPS Summer Programs Q&A

    This summer AAPS is offering several summer programs for students. Sometimes all the options can be confusing for families deciding what will be the best fit for their student. AAPS staff members will provide a brief overview of the various programs available and will answer our questions about the structure and differences between all the options.

    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? Do you have questions about what Board service is like? Or what the nomination process is like? 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!

  • Tuesday May 17 – two meet-and-greet in person meetings at Esch Park

  • Monday June 6 – Board Election and AAPS Special Education Updates & Discussion

    The next Ann Arbor Parent Advisory Committee for Special Education (AAPAC) parent meeting will be on Monday, June 6. As usual, pre-meeting conferences with SISS administrators are available before the main program. Please see below for the Agenda and descriptions, and check e-mail from SISS for the Zoom links.

    6:15 – 7:00 p.m. Individual parent conferences with SISS leadership. 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 – 7:20 p.m. AAPAC Board Member Elections

    The slate of candidates for the 2022-23 school year is:

    • Melissa Epstein
    • Caryn Gerhke
    • Caroline Kaganov
    • Norma Martinez
    • Marci Sukenic
    • Amy Wilkins

    Please help us welcome our new volunteers and give us any ideas you have to kick off 2022-23!

    7:20-8:00 p.m. AAPS Special Education Updates & Discussion

    AAPS administrators will lead a discussion and gather parent feedback on the topics:

    • SISS Updates – where we were, where we are, and where we are going
    • Secondary Intervention Service Model – progress to-date and next steps since the October 2021 AAPAC meeting

    Presenters will include SISS Executive Director Marianne Fidishin, PhD; Assistant Directors Mary Wiese, Audra Holdrof, Sarah Pope, and Janine Harper; Coordinator of Differentiation and Inclusion, Shalyn Furton; and Secondary Coordinator of Compliance and Supports, Elena Girolamo.

Archives of 2020-2021 Meetings

Meetings were online, because of the pandemic.

  • Monday September 21, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. – parent meeting and AAPAC board elections via ZOOM
  • Monday October 5, 2020, 6:45pm: AAPAC Board of Education Candidate Forum – View on YouTube – note that the video starts at 14 minutes and 30 seconds
  • Monday November 2 – Webinar on PBIS Strategies to Support your child’s learning at home (prerecorded) from Michigan Alliance for Families. Discussion to follow.
  • Monday December 7 – Webinar on Tips for Student Self-Advocates (prerecorded) from Michigan Alliance for Families. Discussion to follow.
  • Monday January 4, 2021 – A presentation and Q&A with A2 Therapy Works on the topic of emotional regulation and how it helps children self-regulate: Emotional Regulation and how it helps children self-regulate. Presentation by therapists from A2TherapyWorks with Q&A following. – We often cannot control the things that life throws our way, but we can learn to control our response. Emotional regulation skills help children and people of all ages control their emotional reactions. Children who learn these tools at a young age are better equipped to take on difficult emotions and successfully navigate life’s challenges.
  • Monday February 1 – Dreaming Session: What could inclusive education look like in AAPS? Share your visions, thoughts, and questions through a facilitated PATH process. Facilitated by Amanda Miller, Ph.D., assistant professor of inclusive education at Wayne State University.Thank you to all who joined AAPAC’s Dreaming Session on Monday, February 1st! We were energized by your vision and your openness in working toward a more inclusive experience for all kids at AAPS.
    This Dreaming Session was the first of a two-part series of meetings designed to understand from parents what changes AAPAC should be advocating for. We will pick up again on this process, starting at step three, at the meeting on April 5. All are welcome, even if you didn’t participate in the February meeting.
    As described in the meeting, we used the PATH process to brainstorm together on the changes we want to see. The PATH process (described in the attached powerpoint) starts at where we want to end, by defining the “North Star.” The North Star is the ideal future, with no limits or constraints placed on it. These North Star descriptions are listed on slides 6-7 of the attached powerpoint.
    After defining the North Star, we thought about the “positive and possible” future: thinking about a few years out, if the North Star is our destination, what steps should have been taken within a few years? These positive and possible future descriptions are listed on slide 8.

    We are sharing this working document with you now because we can add to our North Star and to our positive and possible future. If you have more ideas to share, please email them to and we will add them to the powerpoint. Here is the recording of the meeting:

  • Online summer camp fair! March 15, 2021 – View the camp list!
  • Monday April 5: Postponed.
  • Monday May 3: Dreaming Session, Part 2. Facilitated by Amanda Miller, Ph.D., assistant professor of inclusive education at Wayne State University, this discussion picks up where we left off in February to continue envisioning what inclusive education could look like in our district. Don’t worry if you didn’t attend the February session; we will recap the family-initiated vision before continuing the discussion together. We look forward to gathering your thoughts about the current state of inclusion in the district.
  • Monday June 7: Elections and Program: Effective Teamwork for Inclusion: A conversation with Janice Fialka. Janice Fialka is a local and national leader in advocacy for parent-professional partnerships to support inclusion of people with disabilities. Her family, including her son Micah Fialka-Feldman, are featured in the 2018 documentary by Dan Habib Intelligent Lives. In this conversation, she will share with us some of the guiding principles that her family relied on as they sought to create an inclusive school experience for their son Micah, and some of the best ways she has found to build collaboration between parents and school professionals.

Archives of 2019-2020 Meeting Minutes

  • Monday October 7: Meet and Greet with Administration: Dawn Linden, new Assistant Superintendent for Instruction and Student Support Services and Marianne Fidishin, new Executive Director of Student Intervention and Support Services. (parent questions from meeting and AAPAC responses)
  • Monday November 4: Lessons learned from the beginning of the school year, a building-level transition survey for parents, and how AAPS prepares students and families for planned and unplanned changes in staffing and programs. Following the discussion of transitions, Dr. Fidishin will share with us what she sees as key structural issues that need to be addressed to move AAPS toward a successful inclusion model district based on her previous work. She will also provide a brief update on what to expect for next steps in developing the SISS Strategic Plan. (agenda)
  • Monday December 2: Topic: Safety and Security for Individuals with Disabilities, presented by Sgt. Eugene Rush – Community Engagement, Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department, and Jason Gold – Gem Advocacy Group (flyer with meeting info, agenda, minutes) – Presentation by Sgt. Eugene Rush with Q&A: How Law Enforcement is Prepared for Individuals with Disabilities & Presentation with Jason Gold with Q&A: SafeBeings™ application is a non-verbal communication tool actualizing personal safety for people with invisible and visible conditions or disabilities.
  • Monday January 6, 2020: Information on upcoming Safety Care Training for Parents (QBS) with Vicky James and David Barton, AAPS District BCBAs, then IEP 101 with Kristen Columbus, Michigan Alliance for Families (flyer, agenda, minutes)
  • Monday February 3 Building Level Transitions – What to Expect when your student moves up to Kindergarten, Middle, High, and Young Adult (flyer, agenda)
  • Monday March 2 – Summer Camp & Activities Fair – note alternate location at the WISD Teaching & Learning Center, 1819 S. Wagner Rd, 6:30 – 8 pm, in the Vogel A & B rooms. – Representatives from 20 local organizations who offer summer programming with disability accommodations or for children who have other special needs (flyer)
  • Monday April 6 – cancelled due to school closings and social distancing
  • Monday May 4 – cancelled due to school closings and social distancing
  • Monday June 8, 2020 – final parent meeting of the year via ZOOM, from 7-8:30pm with Special Education Mediation Services via Zoom. We started the meeting with an update and recap of AAPAC Board work since our last meeting in March, and discussed parent liaison recruiting board elections for fall. Then Beth Kohler with Special Education Mediation Services (SEMS) presented on how parents can utilize the FREE services offered by SEMS to facilitate and mediate conversations with schools about IEPs and 504s. (agenda, slides)

Archives of 2018-2019 Meeting Minutes:

  • Monday October 1 – Dr. Swift and the SISS directors were introduced. And there was an AAPS Board of Education Candidate Forum with a focus on special education for the eight candidates running for the four open seats on November 6–that was the feature of AAPAC’s first parent meeting of 2018-19 school year! (flyer, agenda, livestream)
  • Monday November 5: District Reading Initiative, Upper Level–Sarah Andrew-Vaughn, District Dept. Chair, 6-12, English Language Arts. Also, Secondary Sexual Health Education for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities — Shalyn Furton, Autism Spectrum Disorder Coordinator, SISS (flyer, livestream, safety care class flyer, safety care signup link)
  • Monday December 3, 2018: (flyer, agenda) “Updates and Enhancements from SISS and Instruction” from Concetta Lewis, Interim Executive Director, SISS, and Lee Ann Dickinson-Kelley, Assistant Superintendent, K-12 Instruction and “Adaptive Physical Education Updates” from Deak Swearingen, Adaptive PE Specialist, SISS
  • Monday January 7, 2019: 7:00pm: LeeAnn Dickinson-Kelley, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, showed Atlas, the new AAPS online curriculum map. This tool provides a comprehensive database for parents to see curriculum standards for every grade level and subject area. 7:30pm: two webinars from Michigan Alliance for Families: Free & Appropriate Public Education and Least Restrictive Environment. (invitation, agenda)
  • Monday February 4: AAPS Elementary Support Interventions for Reading, Math and Science – Presented by Erica Hatt and Tony Stamm (flyer)
  • Monday March 4 – Adapted Summer Camps and Activities Fair – Representatives from over 25 local organizations who offer summer programming with accommodations or for children with special needs (invitation, list of camps)
  • Monday April 1 – What to expect when your child with an IEP will change a level to a new school next year – Presented by Concetta Lewis – Interim Executive Director, SISS – NEW: Live-streamed to the public (to be archived on AAPS website for viewing, too!) Attend remotely using this link: (invitation)
  • Friday April 12 – Special AAPAC Parent Workshop – Planning For Your Loved One’s Future – This meeting discussed services and supports available for your teen as you help them make a successful transition to adulthood. – NEW Center – Presenter: Suzi Naguib, Psy.D., Clinical Director, Sunfield Center for Autism, ADHD and Behavioral Health.
  • Monday May 13 – A live presentation from Michigan Alliance for Families. Sandee Koski presented an Introduction to Positive Behavior Supports. Topics covered included how to ask for a Functional Behavior Analysis (FBA), how the FBA leads to a Behavior Intervention Plan, making sure the team is using positive behavior supports, and what to do when the plan isn’t working. (invitation).
  • Monday June 3 – Concetta Lewis, Interim Executive Director for SISS opened the meeting with a recap of the progress has SISS made over the 2018–2019 school year and changes implemented, and she discussed the next steps in the development of the SISS Strategic Plan. At 7:15 p.m. AAPAC held elections for the next year’s Executive Committee.At 7:30 p.m. Suzi Naguib, Psy.D., Clinical Director of Sunfield Center, gave a presentation on Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). PCIT is an evidence-based treatment for young children with emotional and behavioral difficulties. PCIT focuses on improving the parent-child relationship, increasing child compliance, and reducing problem behaviors. (flyer)

Archives of 2017-2018 Meeting Minutes:

Archives of 2016-2017 Meeting Minutes:

Archives of 2015-2016 Meeting Minutes:

Archives of 2014-2015 Meeting Minutes:


Last updated September 1, 2022