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May 1, 2013

BPS takes closer look at special education program

By Tiffany Esshaki
C & G Staff Writer

BIRMINGHAM — Birmingham Public Schools is looking to maintain, or maybe even improve, its special education services. To do that, they’re looking for a little input from parents in the district.

From now through May 20, parents of Birmingham Public Schools students can log on to the district’s website to participate in the Satisfaction with Special Education Survey. The district is partnering with independent research and communication firm K12 Insight to conduct the survey, though BPS representatives were unable to provide the Eagle with the cost of the effort. According to BPS Director of Community Relations Marcia Wilkinson, the survey is part of the school district’s ongoing effort to expand resources and services for BPS students and families.

“This is part of our plan for continuous improvement. It will help us decide what areas we need to improve, and it will help us deliver a comprehensive special education program,” said Wilkinson, who noted that 1,134 students in the district use special education services. “It’s important that we regularly engage with parents in conversations to get their feelings on how they feel about our programs.”

The study will focus on topics like parent understanding of the available services, how well district services meet children’s needs, which areas parents feel might benefit from improvement and how well parents feel staff communicates with district families, among other topics. All the feedback is strictly confidential, and shortly after the survey closes, the district will share the results, along with details on how the data will be used to design special education programming.

“We are launching this survey in support of transparency and collaborative decision-making,” said Daniel Nerad, superintendent of BPS, in a prepared statement. “In order to continue the critical work of providing our students with the right special needs services, we need to regularly engage in these kinds of candid conversations with our parents. I look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts.”

The survey is accessible through a link on the district’s website, www.birmingham.k12.mi.us, or by calling the school district at (248) 203-3004 to request a paper copy of the survey.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Tiffany Esshaki at tesshaki@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1095.