Special Education » Special Education

Special Education

Scott Armstrong
Assistant Superintendent/ Director of Special Education
Fax 313-278-1413
Leslie Davis
Special Education Administrative Assistant
The IDEA 2004 requires schools to provide systematic, measured, appropriate educational interventions to students to ensure that students have been provided appropriate instruction.

Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) is an integrated, multi-tiered system of instruction, assessment, and intervention designed to meet the achievement and behavioral needs of all learners. It is a framework designed to ensure high-quality instruction. The MTSS framework aligns to the Michigan Continuous School Improvement Process. The essential components to MTSS include:Instruction and Intervention, Data and Assessment, Implementation of Evidence-Based Practices, Problem-Solving, and Stakeholder/Family Involvement.


  • Meet with your child’s teacher or counselor.  Share your concerns and ideas.  Develop a plan for working together.
  • Share information you have from outside sources. School personnel welcome input from family doctors, tutors, private therapists, etc.
  • Talk with the principal.  Often he/she can work with parents and teachers to come up with helpful new strategies or mobilize additional resources.  You may wish to request a Child Study Team or Student Support Team meeting involving one or more of your child’s teachers.
  • Contact Special Services if you have specific questions about evaluations or programming under IDEA or contact school counselors regarding Section 504 Plans. 
  • Questions about services to preschool aged children may also be addressed to the Special Services office
  • English Language Learners (ELL) Program is designed to provide support for students who come from diverse language backgrounds.  The support services have been designed to meet ELL’s unique linguistic, academic, cognitive and social needs.
  • At the time of enrollment into the district, the parents of every student are required to complete a Home Language Survey.  Those surveys are reviewed to identify those students who may be potential ELL students.
  • Students are assessed for ELL Services using the WIDA, which measures a student’s English language ability in the areas of speaking, listening, reading and writing.
  • ELL services are provided at each child’s school.
  • Participation in the ELL program is voluntary and parents have the right to withdraw their child at any time. However, once students are identified as ELL eligible, they must take the WIDA assessment.

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.

 Dearborn Heights District #7 is committed to providing a challenging program for students with disabilities and hold high expectations for students with disabilities to achieve in the least restrictive environment. Special education services are provided in the general education setting to the fullest extent possible. All students will have a plan in place for successful adult living and lifelong learning after leaving high school.

Dearborn Heights District #7 offers the following programs for resident students with the following disabilities:

  • Specific Learning Disability
  • Speech and Language Impairment
  • Mild Cognitive Impairment
  • Emotional Impairment
  • Physical Impairment
  • Health Impaired
  • Early Childhood Developmental Delay.
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder

    Students with disabilities who are in need of this type of support are offered a prescriptive program highlighted by the following:

    • Essential Resource support at elementary, middle and high school.
    • Co-Teaching instruction at middle and high school.
    • Push-in special education services at the elementary level
    • Vocational opportunities as eligible.
    • Transition Program Planning.
    • Parent Advisory Committee.
    • Ongoing Professional development for instructional staff.


Special education support provided within Dearborn Heights District #7, center-based programs are available to serve students whose needs require specialized services for more significant needs. Individual local districts may not have enough students to comprise an age appropriate classroom for low-incident students. Therefore students from other Wayne County districts are grouped together to form classrooms. This is a cooperative effort to best provide for students in the Downriver/Dearborn region. Programs that serve these students include:

  • Hearing Impairment
  • Visual Impairment
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Physical Impairments
  • Other Health Impairment
  • Moderate to Severe Cognitive Impairment
  • Severe Multiple Impairments
  • Moderate to Severe Autistic Impairment
  • Severe Emotional Impairment
  • Dual Diagnosed - Cognitively/Emotionally Impaired


  • An Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) program serves preschool-aged children with disabilities who require a specialized classroom setting (i.e., their needs cannot be met in a typical preschool) This program is housed at the Bedford Elementary School.

Dearborn Heights District #7 provides evaluations for students who are suspected of having a disability under IDEA (the federal special education law) and/or Section 504.  If there isreason to suspect that the student has a disability, staff and parents will use the MTSS process to recommend an evaluation.  If the intent of the evaluation is to access special education programs/services under IDEA or to determine eligibility for accommodations under Section 504, parental consent is required prior to evaluation.  Following the special education or Section 504 evaluation, a team meeting is held to review the evaluation data and develop an appropriate program for the student.



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.

  • Homebound services are designed for short term illnesses for students who are able to participate in instruction. Homebound teaching is for children who, for a minimum of two weeks, cannot attend school in the regular classroom.  Students receiving Homebound services are in a hospital setting or too ill to leave their home to participate in the classroom. They would be unable to participate in extracurricular activities or part-time employment.  If a student is able to participate in those activities it is reasonable to expect they could attend school.
  • The homebound teacher offers a chance for students to keep up to date with assignments and tests.  The classroom teacher prepares assignment and tests that the Homebound teacher will coordinate. Homebound services do not ensure that all credits will be acquired; some lab classes and participation classes are not maintainable in Homebound Services.  The classroom teacher makes the recommendation regarding this. It is the student’s responsibility to earn a passing grade when materials can be delivered through a Homebound instructor.