Char-Em ISD State of the Community Report 2024

Each year, the Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce compiles a booklet of reports from agencies and organizations around Northwest Michigan, including Char-Em ISD. The ISD’s 2024 State of the Community Report can be found below.

2024 State of Community, Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District: Spotlight on Special Education services

Each day throughout Char-Em Intermediate School District, education is delivered in a variety of settings to help all learners thrive. Char-Em ISD staff works hand-in-hand with local districts to provide special education services, which are a large part of what we do at Char-Em. We are proud to highlight these services in this year’s State of the Community report

Relationships with students with disabilities and their families, local school district personnel, and community partners are at the core of successful special education programming. Char-Em ISD staff work within a service area that covers approximately 1,100 square miles which includes 11 local public schools, two public school academies, and five parochial schools, serving approximately 8,400 students. Of those students, approximately 1,150 receive special education supports that range in complexity and focus on academic, emotional, and functional achievement. Some data that help show the picture of these services follows:

  • 120 infants and toddlers with disabilities receive direct and classroom-based
  • 528 educational evaluations are developed annually to assure students with disabilities are receiving appropriate services.
  • 52 direct therapy and consultation staff work with students, including school psychologists, school social workers, teacher consultants, and speech and language, occupational, and physical
  • 16 special education classrooms, including 2 early childhood classrooms, are operated by Char-Em ISD in our 5 county service area.
  • 109 students with significant educational needs attend classrooms operated by Char-Em
  • 1,000 students with special needs attend school at their resident school district, thanks to support from Char-Em ISD staff.
  • 750,000+ miles are traveled to transport students to 16 Char-Em ISD-operated special education classrooms with bus drivers and aides who are highly trained.
  • Numerous students each year no longer require special education programs or services due to the success of interventions that have allowed them to reenter general education classrooms.

In the Public Schools of Petoskey, Char-Em has three teams working at the K-12 level – two psychologists, two teacher consultants, three speech therapists, three school social workers, and a physical therapist, two occupational therapists, a behavior consultant, and teacher consultant for the visually impaired and deaf / hard of hearing who support students. The Patricia A. Taylor School for Exceptional Learners is located within the Petoskey school district and serves students with significant impairments from throughout the region.

Special education: An important support funded by millage

Education is a multi-faceted system that includes programs, supports and services designed to teach students the skills necessary to reach their post-secondary goals. Special education is one service within this structure that crafts specially designed instruction, individualized support, and services to students with an identified educational disability.

Federal and state laws governing the provision of special education programs and services require that each Michigan school district provide special education programs and services to eligible children birth to age 26. This includes Child Find activities, evaluation for suspected disabilities, direct service to eligible children, and specialized instruction delivered in general education and special education classrooms. As a service organization, Char-Em ISD provides many of these special education programs and services in a cost-effective manner across all ages.

Special education millage every four years

Special education services in Char-Em ISD are funded in part by a millage, which has been approved by voters every four years since 1981. The renewal will be on the ballot this May 7, 2024. If approved, the proposal would allow for Char-Em to continue to levy 1.4606 mills for four years, 2024-27, generating approximately $10.3 million for special education operational funding.

Funding from the special education millage goes directly to local schools and academies to reimburse most of their special education expenses, as well as to the ISD to support the 16 programs serving students with the most significant disabilities. It is also used for specialized training of teachers in local schools, evaluation services to determine eligibility for special education services, as well as highly specialized transportation services for students attending Char-Em programs.

Services begin at birth

Early Childhood Special Education services begin with Early On, a system of supports for children ages birth through 3 years. Services include an evaluation at no cost to parents, development of an individualized family service plan, home-based services to enhance developmental growth, and importantly, connections to other families through playgroups and activities. We value the parent as the child’s first and most important teacher.

Beginning at age 3, early childhood special education services continue with the development of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). This plan ensures that children are afforded opportunities to nurture their language, cognitive, physical, and social and emotional needs in high-quality early learning environments. Children may receive specially designed instruction from a special education teacher, or a related service provider such as a speech and language therapist.

Across all ages and grades, special education teachers and related service providers are trained to design instruction that addresses one or more goal areas for a student, utilizing the child’s own strengths.

Char-Em ISD is proud to serve all students and staff within our region of Charlevoix, Emmet and northern Antrim counties through special education and many other programs and services, including Career and Technical Education, early childhood education, professional learning for staff, alternative high school options, school improvement plans and data analysis, technology support, administrative, business and communication services, and much more.

It is the mission of Char-Em ISD to provide leadership and services to local school districts, and it is our vision to be an indispensable partner with every district we serve.

Scott Koziol, Superintendent, Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District




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