Saline special education department seeks to align programs more closely with district's strategic goals

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 02/19/2018 - 15:14
Saline Area Schools Student Services Director Molly Garcia
File photo of Saline Area Schools Student Services Director Molly Garcia.

Saline Area Schools Student Services Director Molly Garcia presented a special education report to the board of education at its Feb. 13 meeting, talking about ways district strategic goals such as project-based learning and 21st century learning could be more integrated into special education.

The school district serves 708 young people ages 3 to 26 with a variety of disabilities. Various learning disabilities make up the largest group, with children on the autism spectrum as the second-largest group.

Garcia said special education department has a goal to improve both peer-to-peer programming and project-based learning. The special education department, for instance, already has a connection with Brecon Village allowing special education students to learn life skills by cleaning there. The special education department would like to expand on that idea, trading the students’ services for use of an apartment where they can learn other life skills, such as how to stock a kitchen or change sheets on a bed. Brecon Village currently doesn’t have an empty unit to make that happen but plans to open one up for the special education program later this year, Garcia said.

Garcia mentioned that Life Skills students at Saline Middle School, Saline High School, and the Young Adult Program are operating a business making fire bricks from recycled materials, using a shredding machines and paper brick molds. Those interested in purchasing these fire bricks can do so through a link on the school district’s special ed webpage, or at

See the attached PDF for the entire Special Education Report.

In other news from the Feb. 13 school board meeting:

  • Trustees unanimously approved a recommendation to spend $670,083 for new turf at Saline High School and labor costs of $429,249. Turf is warrantied for 8 years, and the total life expectancy is around 10-12 years, and the district’s turf is now 14 years old.
  • The board approved the purchase of four new 77-passenger buses at a cost of $393,508. Saline Area Schools has one of the oldest fleets of buses in the entire county, and has a goal to upgrade the fleet with new and late-model buses. Under this program, the average age of buses has gone from more than 14 years to just over 9 years.
  • Trustees approved spending $59,440 for 16 Chromebooks and carts and $9,568 for 32 iPads. They also approved the purchase of 25 HDMI-capable projectors for $10,520 and wiring labor costs of $12,342.
  • The board unanimously chose Dale Wingerd out of three candidates from Region 7 proposed to run for a three-year seat on the Michigan Association of School Boards board of directors.
  • Announced that the next meeting of the board of education will take place at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 27 at the Liberty School Media Center.
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Sarah Rigg
Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in southeast Michigan. She has worked in community journalism for over 20 years covering education, business, arts & culture and other topics as a reporter, with experience in copy editing, layout, and proofreading.