Grayling is located in a rural, beautiful area of the state known for canoeing, fishing, and other outside sports. The racial make-up of Grayling is fairly homogeneous with 1,521 whites, 4 blacks, 7 American Indians, and 10 Asians. The population includes approximately 460 families and about 600 households with a median household income in 1989 of $22, 054. This is a very small, very rural community of 1,542 people, located in the upper central part of the lower penninsula in the city of Grayling in Crawford County
The school is part of the Crawford-AuSable School District. The district's mission statement: "The Crawford AuSable School District, in cooperation with our community, students, families and staff, will facilitate comprehensive, lifelong, educational opportunities by addressing individual, community and global needs.". The district covers a 530-square mile area, and contains one primary, two elementary, one middle, and one high school. Total district enrollment for 1997 was 2,264 students.*
AuSable Primary is housed in a new building which opened in 1997. It is connected via hallways to the adjacent upper elementary building. This is a building-wide Title I school. The district's Michigan School Readiness Program for four year olds is also housed in this school.
Principal: Barbara Mick
% Free/Reduced Lunch: 56%*
Pupil/Teacher Ratio: 22.0/1*
Total Staff: twenty eight certified and twelve non-certified.
The district had the following special needs students as of December
1, 1998 -- 35 educable mental impairments, 6 trainable mental
impairments, 10 emotional impairments, 154 learning diabilities,
1 hearing impairment, 1 visual impairment, 12 phyiscal and other
impairments, 1 severe multiple impairment, 77 speech and language
impariments, 6 preprimary impairments, and 4 autism impairments.
This is a district total of 301 students.
The building itself is home to 4-6 POHI students, 2 autisitic, and several EMI, LD students.
School change and Improvement:
Have attempted to mix grade levels in order to provide choice and "mix everybody up". Took a hard look at the school and recognized a growing number of kids with disabilities. Developed a vision of "all our students aare all of ours".
Empowering Citizens in a Democracy-
Weekly assemblies are held to help provide a common vision, clear goals and a sense of belonging. Lessons have been developed to promote tolerance and appreciation of diversity. Such lessons have allowed students to be grouped in different arrangements and be exposed to differnet educators.
One special education teacher and one Title I teacher work together to provide in-class supports, jointly supervising aides to the general education teachers. Children with special needs appeared to be well integrated into center activities.
Authentic Teaching and for Learners of Diverse Abilities.
A staff and principal deeply committed to inclusion through mutiage and looping programs. Teachers have been trained in multiple intelligences. Teachers work as a team and plan cooperatively. In this setting each child is seen as unique with lessons planned to meet a child where she is. Common planning periods are built into the schedule help to achieve this. This includes a weekly one hour block of time for grade-level planning, with each grade taking one week per month. The special education staff has been embraced by the regular classroom teachers as co-leaders in the class. The Chicago Math program appears to not work within this approach as the children are separated by grade level for math study. The school has a developmental philosophy to learning- accepting each child where she is, and getting them ready from there for the next step using clear, concise benchmarks and outcomes.
Doing a great deal of work with literacy, had been part of a pilot program- Michigan Literacy Profile. Have looked at and implemented guided reading and literacy circles. The staff have also received inservice from leading New Zealand reading persons, which will be implemented in the 1999-2000 school year.
Building Community and Supporting Learning-
Each classroom is assigned one specialist for support. Through co-teaching, modeling is provided on how to work with a variety of special needs students. A crisis-intervention team was also developed. This is a specially trained team of six specialists including physical education teacher, secretary, and one special education paraprofessional. This was developed for challenging behaviors and classroom disruptions.
Staff strive to include parents in their child's education as early as possible, by bridging the gap from the preschool years to primary with multiple transition activities. There is a monthly family night, a strong and active Parent Group, and school-to-work lesson plans which link children back to their community. Principal has identified a lack of trust between parents and school as a problem to be addressed. There are also scheduled monthly parent meeting where learning and fun are mixed. This area seems to be the staff's greatest challenge and disappointment thus far.