Parent and Student Resources

Procedural Safeguards

IDEA, the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, includes procedural safeguards to protect the rights of children/youth with disabilities and their parents/guardians. For all of the rights contained in these safeguards, please click the link below: Michigan Department of Education Procedural Safeguards

Special Education Parent Advisory Committee

The MAISD’s Parent Advisory Committee is known as the SEPAC, the Special Education Parent Advisory Committee. SEPAC Informational Brochure

Laws and Regulations

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, IDEA, is the federal law requiring schools in the United States to provide services to children with disabilities who are eligible for Special Education

The Michigan Administrative Rules for Special Education, known as the MARSE, are State of Michigan special education rules used in addition to IDEA, that guide how schools in Michigan are to carry out the special education process.

Specific Learning Disability (SLD)

Each local educational agency and public school academy in Michigan is required to publicly post the process used to determine the existence of a Specific Learning Disability.

For determination of a SLD, a Pattern of Strengths and Weaknesses (PSW) process is used for students in kindergarten through 12th grade, which includes: Oral Expression, Listening Comprehension, Written Expression, Reading Comprehension, Reading Fluency, Math Calculation, and Math Problem Solving.

It is noted that regardless of the process used, all schools must follow all of the regulatory requirements in the IDEA, the MARSE, and Michigan laws, policies and procedures for special education.

What is a SLD?

A Specific Learning Disability is "a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia that adversely affects a student's educational performance. A SLD does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities; cognitive impairments; emotional disturbance; or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage." (34 CFR 300.8(c)(10)).

Evaluation for Specific Learning Disabilities

Muskegon Heights Public School Academy (MHPSA) will be using a Pattern of Strengths and Weaknesses (PSW) model to evaluate students for eligibilities under the category of Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD). The district will use this model until it has a Response to Intervention (RtI) model implemented in full at each school. Currently, MHPSA is developing its RtI model and will transition from Pattern of Strengths and Weaknesses to RtI in the future (anticipated 2025-26).

What is a PSW Process?

Pattern of Strengths and Weaknesses is a process that is used to determine if a student has a SLD. This process involves the collection of data to determine the following:

  • The student does not achieve adequately for the student's age or to meet State approved grade-level standards in one or more of the areas identified at 34 CFR 300.309(a)(1)(i) when provided with learning experiences and instruction appropriate for the student's age or State-approved grade-level standards.
  • The student exhibits a pattern of strengths and weaknesses in performance, achievement, or both, relative to age, State-approved grade-level standards, or intellectual development, that is determined by the Multidisciplinary Evaluation Team (MET) to be relevant to the identification of a SLD, using appropriate assessments, consistent with the IDEA Evaluation Procedures and Additional Requirements for Evaluations and Reevaluations.