The Arc statement on ECSE class moves to Crowell Elementary building

 

We have heard from several families who are alarmed by the Calhoun Intermediate School District’s decision to move two Early Childhood Special Education, or ECSE, classrooms from Doris Klaussen Development Center to the Marshall Public Schools district’s Crowell Elementary building, which is located in Albion.

We understand the families’ concerns, particularly in light of how they received the information without the opportunity to participate in the decision-making. It’s our position that better communication by the ISD might have prevented much of anxiety about the changes and put the ISD in a better positon to address their concerns.

The Crowell building has some advantages over Doris Klaussen Development Center, and absent a better alternative in one of Battle Creek’s districts, we believe it is the best option.

We also listened to and weighed carefully the objections raised by many families. What follows are some conclusions based on the information we’ve been able to gather:

Length of route: Many parents are worried that their students will be traveling on I-94 and that the travel time will be excessive. I-94, however, is the most direct route to Albion — Crowell Elementary is 25 miles from Battle Creek, much closer than many families realized. Dean Transportation estimates the length of transport at 56 to 66 minutes for the first student picked up. Although no route is without risk, the interstate is likely the safest and most efficient route.

Medical needs: We certainly acknowledge families’ concerns about medical needs such as toileting, seizures, blood clots and behaviors. These are issues that have existed and have been managed in the past, however. The ISD will provide bus attendants/aides to assist the students.

Other safety issues: Students will be picked up at their homes rather than a bus stop, allowing them to avoid waiting in foul weather.

Quality of instruction: The teachers and supports are not changing — faculty and staff are moving to Crowell, as well.

Proximity to medical care: Doris Klaussen Developmental Center is about 28 miles from Bronson Methodist, whereas Crowell Elementary is about 11 miles from Oaklawn Hospital. Because Crowell already serves ECSE students, we are confident that protocols already in place ensure the safety of students.

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