'Strengthening a Learner's Transition to Independence'

Welcome to the MITTIN Memo

February is busy with presentations, vendor booths and and state conferences. If you happen to be attending the Michigan Transition Services Association (MTSA) conference at the Lansing Center from February 21st-23rd or the Michigan Council for Exceptional Children (MCEC) conference at the Amway Grand in Grand Rapids from February 28th - March 1st, be sure to stop by the MITTIN booth or one of its presentations. Not only can you get information on MITTIN, you can also receive at-the-elbow support for downloading modules and accessing innovative digital resources. Please know that when you attend a MITTIN presentation, visit a MITTIN sponsor booth, or participate in a MITTIN PLC, you will see teachers, parents and educators working collaboratively, sharing insights, and elevating their instructional practice -- for the benefit of student learning.

This issue of the MITTIN Memo also provides an update of the MITTIN PLC Assessment Cohort work, the amazing MITTIN Committee Member Pamela Cunningham and her national presentation at AITA as well as MITTIN professional learning and upcoming implementation opportunities around Michigan. There is such good work being done.

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 Dr. Derek Cooley

Winner of the 2024 MAASE Gilcrest-Frazier Award

Dr. Derek Cooley, our MITTIN Committee Chair was awarded the 2024 Gilcrest-Frazier Award for his outstanding service and leadership as a special education director on February 13, 2024 -- just this week. This award recognizes one person who demonstrates the exemplary qualities of service, leadership, vision, collaboration, and someone who has implemented innovated programming which contributes to the field of special education.

Thank you Dr. Cooley for all you do for MITTIN and the field of special education.

MITTIN Assessment PLC Cohort

Cohorts 1 & 2 of the MITTIN PLC have combined into the PLC Assessment Cohort -- focusing on the exploration of evaluation instruments and tools to assess the impact of MITTIN innovative digital modules and curricular resources. This group of 30+ educators, agency personnel and parents from all around the state, are piloting and reporting back on their results and perceptions. Sharing the strengths and challenges of each assessment and their connection to the MITTIN resources, this fabulous group is strengthening their leadership skills, elevating student learning and informing MITTIN research design.

AITA Conference

Pamela Cunningham and her Wayne RESA colleague Amber Wade attended the national assistive technology conference ATIA (Assistive Technology Industry Association) and were selected to present about MITTIN. The title of their presentation was, "Strengthening the Transition to Independence with Innovative Digital Resources." The conference was held in Orlando, Florida with around 2500 participants from around the world. There were approximately 20 participants in their one-hour session. The session focused on the modules, supplemental materials, and assistive technology tools and implementation strategies to use them with the modules. The session was well received and there was a lot of great feedback and questions regarding implementation and access to the modules. 

MITTIN Committee Member Spotlight

Suzanna Ruskusky

MITTIN is fortunate to have Suzanna as a member of the MITTIN Committee. Suzanna Ruskusky, MS CCC-SLP is a licensed Speech Language Pathologist who joined the Kent Intermediate School District team in 2017. In her current role as the Assistive Technology & Augmentative Communication Consultant, she collaborates with school staff in Kent County to build capacity around purposeful decision-making and implementation of AT & AAC solutions for students with disabilities. She currently serves as a Board Member of the #TalkingAAC organization, which is a Michigan-based professional learning community for parents and professionals supporting individuals with complex communication needs. Suzy has a passion for ensuring that effective strategies and tools are identified based on individual student needs and implemented with fidelity so students can maximize their learning potential and achieve an independent and meaningful life experience. Previously, she worked on the Assistive Technology Team of Chicago Public Schools providing support & services to students throughout Chicago, IL.  

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:

MTSA Conference @ Lansing Center

February 21, 2024 - sponsor booth

February 22, 2024 - sponsor booth & 10am presentation titled:

"MITTIN: Michigan Transition to Independence"

February 23, 2024 - sponsor booth

Ingham Transition Expo, Lansing, Michigan

February 22, 2024 - workshop presentation

Transition Coordinators Regions 2 & 4+

February 27, 2024 - MITTIN Update

Michigan Council for Exceptional Children (MCEC) Conference Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, Grand Rapids, Michigan

February 28, 2024 - sponsor booth & 9am 1/2 Workshop, titled:

"MITTIN Modules & Resources: A practitioners guide to transition planning from school to reality"

February 29, 2024 - sponsor booth & presentation, titled:

"Connecting Innovation to Tradition: A hands on exploration of MITTIN Modules & resources"

March 1, 2024 - sponsor booth

**Also one of our PLC members, Jessica Lucke from the Ann Arbor Public Schools will be presenting at the MCEC Conference

February 29, 2024 @ 9:15 with a session titled,

" iSpy AI: Data, Lessons, IEP Support and More."

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 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