link to the about us pagelink to the glossarylink to background informationlink to contact informationlink to our correlating partners page
image of boy whispering in girl's ear with text saying S.P.E.A.K.S. Education, students, parents, educators alliance to know special educationLink to the home pageLink to the trainings we offerLink to the educational webinars pageLink to the state regulationsLink to our newsletter page

SPEAKS Education will provide a united union where students, parents, and educators along with community/professional and consumers will support and provide Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to children. FAPE allows all Special Education students (ages 0-26 in MI) to fulfill their education goals and be successful in
doing so in the community. It is our goal to advocate for special needs children through teaching the educational rights and laws.
SPEAKS Education provides trainings and information and referrals to students, parents, educators and community agencies. SPEAKS Education wishes to build a positive, working atmosphere and
relationship for the best interest of the student. SPEAKS also provides parent mentors that are trained to work one on
one with the families so they can be educated to advocate for their own child.

                       EUPISD PAC NEEDS MEMBERS

The EUPISD Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) is a committee promoting a partnership between families and professionals in the education of students with disabilities, by providing communication, awareness and collaboration between parents, community, local school districts, and the Intermediate School District. 

PAC meetings are held 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District, located at 315 Armory Place, Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783. All parents and caregivers of a child receiving special education services are encouraged to attend. Please call ahead to confirm the meeting date, time, and location. Below is the meeting schedule for the 2012/2013 School Year.

The Parent Advisory Committee representatives are appointed by local school districts and approved by the ISD board. Care is given in this process to assure, to the extent possible, that the PAC membership represents the various disabilities of students enrolled in programs throughout our region. We are continually looking for new members. If you would like to become a part of the Parent Advisory Committee, write to your local school district expressing your interest. Your request will be given to the school board for approval and then sent to the Intermediate School District for final approval. You will be notified when this process is complete.

PAC members are accessible to local parents for support and information. Some of the duties of the Parent Advisory Committee members are:

Questions regarding the PAC may be directed to any committee member. Each member is willing to help you become more aware of the services available to you and your child. Contact Rachel Fuerer at 906 632-3373, Ext. 103 at the Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District for current PAC member contact information.


September 24, 2012: Business Meeting

October 22, 2012: Presentation - Autism, Carrie Carr, Cancelled

November 12, 2012: Business Meeting

January 28, 2013: Presentation - Early Childhood Programs & Services in the EUP

February 25, 2013: Presentation - Reading Intervention in the EUP

March 18, 2013: Business Meeting

April 22, 2013: Presentation - To Be Determined

May 13, 2013: Awards Ceremony (tent)

June 17, 2013: Business Meeting (Set next year's agenda)



Michigan Public Education Finance Project Draft Bill

The Governor asked Richard McLellan, Mary Kay Shields and Peter Ruddell to propose a new Michigan Public Education Finance Act to replace the existing School Aid Act of 1979 incorporating the policies articulated in the Governor’s Special Message on Education issued April 27, 2011.

The new Michigan Public Education Finance Act of 2013 is aimed at creating a public education funding system that allows a student to learn “Any Time, Any Place, Any Way and Any Pace,” and create the path toward more robust performance-based funding. Below are five major concepts included in the draft.

1. Removal of District “Ownership” of a Student. A student will be allowed to take a course, multiple courses or the student’s entire bundled education package from any public education district in the state. A local school district will maintain its ability to determine whether to participate in open enrollment.

2. Creation of Online Learning Options with Performance Funding. Technology is changing the delivery of instruction to students. A student will be allowed to access instruction from across the state using advancing technology. The district providing the online course will immediately receive public funding, based on performance measures. Again, a district will not limit a student’s choices.

3. Funding will truly follow the Student. Under the current model, a school receives 90% of its state general education funding based on where a student sits on the first Wednesday in October. We create a dynamic system, where the funding will actually follow the student. 15 other states are already using the Average Daily Membership method for allocating funds.

4. Framework for Performance-based Funding for all courses. We are setting the framework for the full implementation of computer-adaptive student growth and assessment tools that are on the horizon. We are maintaining the current growth funding incentives for the next fiscal year until the Smarter Balanced assessment and the recommendations from the Michigan Council on Educator Effectiveness are complete.

5. Early Graduation Scholarships. We are creating an incentive for students – who are ready – to graduate early. $2,500 will be available for each semester a student graduates early. Let’s help those students who are ready to graduate.

Click here to download the draft of the bill.
Click here to read Richard McLellan’s memo to Governor Snyder’s education team.
Click here to read Appendix B to the McLellan memo.
Click here to send comments and proposals to the Michigan Public Education Finance Project regarding the first draft of the Michigan Public Education Finance Act.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Beth Horne

Departmental Analyst

Office of Special Education


Check out our blog! It's finally put together and ready for your input. Click on the blog link to the left, and tell us all about it! The current topic is the Flu- The Flu bug that is taking over our country and how is YOUR family trying to prevent it taking over your house?! 

Please check our trainings tab for new and upcoming trainings!

We make the news so you don't have to! :)

Check out the awesome article EUPNEWS.COM wrote for us! Aside from introducing us to the area on their new website, they also advertised our upcoming craft show, AND gave us free advertising! We love small communities- especially ours! Great partnerships provides amazing service for our citizens- thanks again Mark at EUP News! EUP NEWS article starts here!


Free Webinar Encourages Understanding

September 20, 2012
By Autism Society

Autism NOW will present the following webinar:

Look Through Our Eyes
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
2:00 to 3:00 PM EDT

The words, attitudes and actions of others can often impact an individual’s life more than his disability! Register for this webinar to learn how self-advocates in Vermont are teaching others to “Look Through Our Eyes.” Max Barrows and Nicole LeBlanc from Green Mountain Self-Advocates will demonstrate and share training activities that they do with support workers, college students, bus drivers and more. Listen in to get all the information you need to learn how to do this training in your community!

Click on this link to reserve your seat!--


S.P.E.A.K.S. Education was founded by Dorie France. After 20 plus years of advocating for children with special needs and learning how to communicate with educators , administrators, and community agencies, Dorie decided it was time to educate the parents and the student. Three years ago after Dorie's job was eliminated (from a MI PTI), she knew that there was no way she could let the families, students and educators go without services.

Dorie had numerous parents and administrators call and ask her to start a advocacy group. So with the help of 12 good people in the education field, medical and community mental health field along with some very super parents, S.P.E.A.K.S. Education was started.  In 2009, it became a incorporated and received it's non-profit 501c3 status.. 

S.P.E.A.K.S. Education stands for Students Parents Educators Alliance to Know. Special Education. The board consist of parents that have special education children themselves. There are seven board members and four advisory members. Five of the seven board members are parent mentors spread across the Eastern Upper Peninsula.

The Upper Peninsula is a remote, very rural and low income geographical area. To travel the Upper Peninsula on a daily basis can make for a very long day on the road. Our local school districts have the highest percentage of Native American student population in the state of Michigan . S.P.E.A.K.S. education know covers 8 counties in the Upper Peninsula and the districts within them.

S.P.E.A.K.S. Education was awarded the U.S. Dept of Education Office of Special Education (CPRC) Community Parent Resource Center grant. We are now the only CPRC in the state of Michigan. We are proud to be able to work with state and federal government in the best interest of all students. 

We have a small contract with Michigan Alliance that helps us pay for our office and the utilities. SPEAKS Education is a in-kind/volunteer and provides services free of charge. We received a small training grant from the SOSY program to help us with administration, building a strong board, and volunteer building.

We are very proud of our achievements for our short 3 year start. We at S.P.E.A.K.S. education work very hard for all children with special needs and their families.


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