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Special Education Services

Special Education Services in Dearborn Heights #7

Susan Mitchell , Director of Special Education/Grants and Compliance (mitchesu@dhsd7.net
Leslie Davis, Administrative Assistant



Michigan Law, under ACT 451 of the Public Acts of 1976, requires that special education supports be available to all eligible children, from birth to age 26, or graduation, free, at no cost to the parent. Persons residing within Dearborn Heights Schools No. 7, qualified to receive special education supports, will be provided with appropriate programs and/or services by a local educational agency (LEA), the intermediate school district, and/or through an approved contract agreement. The types of supports provided for each student vary depending on individual need.

The special education process begins with a referral. A special education referral is a written statement that a child has a suspected disability that interferes with learning and may have a need for special education supports. Anyone who is concerned, including parents, teachers, social workers, licensed physicians, nurses, foster parents, or representatives of other agencies, may refer a person suspected of having a disability. In most cases, this referral will be handled at the local school level.

Within ten (10) calendar days of receipt of the referral, the school district shall notify the parent or guardian in writing and request your permission to evaluate your child or schedule a Review of Existing Evaluation Data (REED). This notice must be in your native language and must be understandable to you. This notice also needs to explain why an evaluation is proposed. You should respond to this request within seven (7) calendar days because the school district cannot proceed with the evaluation without your written consent. If you decline permission to evaluate your child, the school district may request a due process hearing to appeal your refusal.

For the evaluation of students suspected of having a Learning Disability, Dearborn Heights SD#7 follows the Wayne County model for the identification of Specific Learning Disabilities and the Michigan State Department of Education Criteria for Determining the Eligibility of a Severe Learning Disability which combines a strong emphasis on Response to Intervention (RtI) and looking at a Pattern of Strengths and Weaknesses (PSW). See the links below to both the Wayne County Criteria and Process for Determining the existence of Specific Learning Disability and the Michigan Criteria for Determining the existence of Specific Learning Disability.

Dearborn Heights SD#7 offers a full continuum of programs and services to eligible students. Eligibility is based on meeting specific criteria for one or more disabilities and a determination of whether or not special education is necessary for the child to benefit from the educational program. Despite the law requiring a student to have a disability label, the label does not determine the individual programs, services or placement for the student.  

Dearborn Heights SD#7 believes in providing services in the least restrictive environment (LRE) appropriate for each student. This means that whenever possible the student will attend their neighborhood school and be educated in the general education classroom with his or her peers. Special education services are then provided in instructional areas directly impacted by the disability. Only when necessary to meet a student’s unique educational needs and goals will consideration be given to providing services in other locations. A small number of our students need more intensive, specially designed instructional programs throughout much or all of the school day. These programs are available at designated schools within our district and other schools in Wayne County.


If you have academic or behavior concerns regarding your child:

1. Contact the building principal and ask for a Student Support meeting  with your student’s teacher, principal, and other staff as determined appropriate

2. Wayne County Intermediate School District -- RESA 

3.  MDE Positive Behavior Support documents

4. Contact Special Education Staff members – by phone or their email address above

5. Wayne County Intermediate School District's Early Childhood

6. Special Education Process - Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

7.  Building support teams, parent, teacher, or administrator may request a special education referral. This begins the Individual Education Planning Team (IEPT) Process. 

Related Links:

The Individualized Educational Planning Team Process (pdf file)  

Special Education Process-Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (pdf file) 

Michigan Criteria for Determining the existence of Specific Learning Disability - May 2010 (pdf file)


School Wide PBS (pdf file)


It is the policy of the Dearborn Heights #7 School District that no discriminatory practices based on sex, race, religion, color, national origin, disability, height, weight, or any other status covered by federal, state or local law be allowed in providing instructional opportunities, programs, services, job placement assistance, employment or in policies governing student conduct and attendance.  Any person suspecting a discriminatory practice should contact the Dearborn Heights #7 Special Education Director, 20629 Annapolis, Dearborn Heights, MI  48125 or call 313-203-3176