Kennedy Learning Center
TRANSITION PLAN DRAFT
March 23, 2018
- The Purpose of the Transition Plan
The purpose of the Southfield Public Schools (District) Transition Plan is to establish systems to eliminate barriers which prevent, or have the potential to prevent, access to programs and activities at the Kennedy Learning Center (Center). Second, the Plan sought, where needed, appropriately supplement existing programs, activities, and services (services or service offerings) available at the Center.
- Appropriate Services Are In Place
It is the District’s position that physically moving services within the Center or relocating them outside of the Center was not required. The District also believed that the requisite services are in place and that there was no need to provide additional services. The current services were may substantively “tweaked” so that they more effectively address recipients’ needs. The District acknowledges that there were likely physical barriers to services which require immediate action.
- The Self-Evaluation Process
The District evaluated all service offerings at the Center (process) using the Self-Evaluation process mandated under its Resolution Agreement with the United States Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (OCR). Specifically, the District will continuously use the process to ensure that the services and policies/procedures which govern the same are compliant with Section 504, Title II, and applicable 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act standards (ADA).
- The Team
The District assembled a team comprised of the District’s Legal Counsel, Purchasing Director, Operations Director, Special Education Director, District Skilled Trades, and Center Building Principal (team). The team met bi-weekly to plan, review, reflect, prioritize, and design a comprehensive timeline to bring the Center into compliance. To support the team’s work, the District will continue to engage community partners (i.e. Southfield Fire Department, Southfield Police Department and a local architectural firm) to help identify barriers that preclude access to services.
- District’s New Systems
The District’s Plan is centered on identifying concerns, reflective focus monitoring, and continuous improvement. The district will continue to take a systems-approach for improving accessibility to the Center. The District’s heightened understanding was evidenced by the modifications to the Center’s policies, procedures, and physical infrastructure which, over time, eliminated barriers which precluded access to services.
The core of the District’s Plan was to (1) immediately identify and eliminate physical barriers which impeded access to services and (2) to establish more defined, open communication between the Center and its students with disabilities, their family, or other support network (stakeholders).
The District developed more effective communication methods. First, so that stakeholders are better informed on how the Center operates, what services are offered, and how those services could improve their lives and well-being. Second, so that stakeholders have a channel through which they could provide feedback to the team in real-time. Feedback is critical because it will enable the District to evaluate whether its services are having the desired impact. More importantly, concentrated feedback allows the District to better address barriers which prevent, or have the potential to prevent, access to services.
Concentrated feedback included, but was not limited to, the following: stakeholder surveys (see attached Appendix A and B—Sample Survey/Results), one on one meetings with stakeholders, open meetings with stakeholders at the Center, direct mailings to stakeholders, frequently posting updated information (including frequently used forms) to the Center’s website. The District understands that communication with stakeholders must be focused, continuous, and deliberate.
In addition to the foregoing, the District also engaged in ongoing monitoring focused on uninterrupted, barrier-free access to services. This included monitoring the need for modifications to services and the Center’s physical facility in real-time. These modifications required based on observations made by the Center through its continuous self-evaluation process, changes in the law, or feedback received from stakeholders.
As barriers are identified, the District will take appropriate action that complies with Section 504, Title II, and the ADA. Such action includes, but is not limited to, depending on the District’s needs assessment, reassignment of activities or other services to accessible locations, alteration of existing facilities, construction of new facilities, or other means that result in making the District’s services more accessible to stakeholders.
- The Conclusion
Barrier free access to services is the District’s primary goal. The District will focus on establishing and maintaining barrier-free access to services at the Center. The District fully understands that the Transition Plan is ongoing and is committed to putting appropriate policies and procedures in place which cultivate meaningful, barrier-free, services to all stakeholders. (See Section II - for Completed and Proposed Facility Modifications/Timelines)