'Strengthening a Learner's Transition to Independence'

Welcome to the MITTIN Memo

In this edition of the MITTIN Memo we are excited to share an accomplishment of one of our MITTIN PLC members. Gretchen Archinal earned her Master Teacher certification through the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards. Gretchen's application portfolio highlighted the use of MITTIN's innovated digital resources, classroom research on the progress of students using these curricular tools. Congratulations Gretchen!

MITTIN's implementation schedule has also had a busy beginning to the new year. Just this week MITTIN has connected with over 200 educators in Michigan. Below, you can read about MITTIN's professional learning and workshop opportunities at Saginaw ISD, Ottawa Area ISD, the MAASE SLIP conference as well as a virtual panel presentation with MTSA.

You will also find in this MITTIN Memo, information on the upcoming annual conference for the Michigan Council for Exceptional Children (MCEC) which is being held in Grand Rapids on February 28, 29 and March 1, 2024. MCEC is a MITTIN partner. MITTIN is a conference sponsor and will be providing a half day pre-session workshop, a break-out presentation and also have a booth where you can stop by to get at-the-elbow support on all things MITTIN.

If January is any indication, 2024 is shaping up to be an engaging and exciting year. Thank you for your interest in MITTIN as we continually strive toward excellence for the benefit of a learner's transition to independence.

Best Regards,

Dr. Derek Cooley,

MITTIN Committee Chair

Congratulations Gretchen Archinal!

Gretchen Archinal is a Resource Room teacher at University Prep Middle School in Detroit who received her Master Teacher certification through the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards in December. As part of the MITTIN PLC last year, she developed, implemented, and assessed a lesson plan for middle school students to create and test a recipe for grilled cheese sandwiches. As part of the lesson, the students utilized the MITTIN module on how to use the stove to beta-test their recipes prior to making the sandwiches in real life. She tracked student perceptions of ability through pre and post-assessments. Her students had a ball and grew in their knowledge and confidence in the kitchen. This lesson plan and her involvement in the MITTIN PLC became a basis for part of her portfolio for national board certification.


Gretchen is a second career teacher who is the mother of three young adults including her daughter Maggie, who is on the autism spectrum, and Stephen who has ADD. She brings with her the knowledge as a parent who is teaching life skills in the home as well as a love for teaching practical math skills in the classroom. She has a BA in American Culture from the University of Michigan and a MAT from Wayne State. She has endorsements in Elementary Education and Special Education - Autism Spectrum Disorder and Learning Disabilities.

MITTIN Implementation

This week MITTIN partnered with the Saginaw Intermediate School District (SISD) , Ottawa Area Intermediate School District (OAISD) and Michigan Transition Services Association (MTSA) to provide presentations and professional learning on MITTIN curricular resources. Thank you to Cheryl Taylor, Principal and Julie Clauss, Assistant Principal at the Melvin G. Millet Center in Saginaw; to Krista Krefeld-Freier, OAISD Transition Coordinator at the Roerink-Knoll Education Center; and Eileen Brandt, MTSA Past-President and Conference Chair for inviting MITTIN. It was exciting to see teachers exploring and connecting the module topics and resources to enhance their curriculum and support student learning goals. Thank you also to Ann Walton, Shannon DeLora, Dr. Lois Vaughan-Hussain and Ashleigh Moro for their expert facilitation of MITTIN resources and their willingness to travel around the State during a very snowy January week.

MITTIN Committee Member Spotlight

Sarah Winslow

We are fortunate to have Sarah's passion and expertise as a MITTIN Committee Member. Sarah is a visionary, student-centered statewide leader in special education and community partner with over 25 years of progressive leadership in K-12 districts throughout Michigan. She started her career as a special education teacher in the Lansing School District and is now working in her dream job with the transition to work program called Project SEARCH. She currently serves on MDE’s Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC), was appointed by Governor Whitmer to the MI Developmental Disabilities Council and is President-Elect for the Michigan Transition Services Association. She has had a continuous passion for transition related services for young adults especially competitive integrated employment. She is an advocate committed to fostering win-win relationships with students and families, educational institutions, community partners and businesses. She has demonstrated excellence implementing innovative programs such as Project SEARCH that enhance the skill development and economic stability of persons with disabilities while creating an inclusive and diverse community. In her new role as Statewide Director of Project SEARCH, site development has grown to 17 programs across the state and the programs have an employment rate of 83%!

2024 MCEC Conference

Michigan Council for Exceptional Children (MCEC) 84th annual conference will be held at the Amway Grand Hotel in Grand Rapids on February, 28, 29 and March 1, 2024. Their conference theme this year, "An Exceptional Celebration" will uplift learning while highlighting the work and achievement of special education students, educators and parents. The conference will host 6 pre-conference seminars, 80+ amazing workshops and poster presentations, luncheons and receptions delivering timely and relevant content to enhance the special education community. On Wednesday, February 28th from 9am - noon, Dr. Lois Vaughan-Hussain, Ashleigh Moro, Jenna Kogut & Kristine Gullen will facilitate a workshop session titled: Celebrate Transition -- A Practitioner's Guide to Transition Planning from School to Reality, The MITTIN Modules and Resources at a Glance. Also headlining this conference is renowned author and speaker, Dr. Muhammad Khalifa as well as the Office of Special Education Director Teri Rin. MCEC is a partner is the MITTIN project and provides support with the implementation of MITTIN resources in the classrooms across Michigan.

Registration is now open! Visit us at www.anexceptionalcelebration.com to learn more and get started!

Click here for information on the MCEC Conference

MITTIN Implementation

MITTIN is on the go throughout Michigan. Over the next few weeks you can find us connecting with parents, agencies and educators to strengthening a learner's transition to independence at:

Saginaw Intermediate School District

Monday, January 15, 2024

Ottawa Area Intermediate School District

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

MTSA Transition Coordinators

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

SLIP Conference

Crowne Plaza Lansing West

Friday, January 19, 2024

PLC Assessment Cohort - Professional Learning

Friday, January 19 & Saturday, January 20, 2024

What is MITTIN?

MITTIN – MIchigan Transition To INdependence is a dynamic collection of modules and curricular resources which foster the development of independent living skills in the home and community. Designed to support special education transition-related instruction, these resources are free and available to for all parents, schools, educators and learners in Michigan. MITTIN is a partnership of the Michigan Association of Administrators of Special Education (MAASE), Michigan Council for Exceptional Children (MCEC), Great Lakes Reality Labs (GLRL) and Public Policy Associates (PPA). These resources can be found at: maase.org/mittin

Safety and Independence at Home

MITTIN currently has seven topics which focus on strengthening skills which promote safety and independence at home. 

  • Change a Light Bulb
  • Clean Flat Surfaces
  • Clean the Bedroom
  • Put Away Groceries
  • Use a Microwave
  • Use an Oven
  • Use a Stove

Safety and Independence in the Community

MITTIN currently has four topics which focus on strengthening skills which promote safety and independence in the community.

  • Cross the Street 
  • Shop for Groceries
  • Walk Through a Parking Lot
  • Use Self-Checkout
For more information, visit our website:  maase.org/mittin