Nurturing Hearts and Challenging Minds
For Service in God's Kingdom

Special Education

Northern Michigan Christian School believes that all students are created in God’s image. It is our job to strive to help students reach their God-given potential.  For some students this means they need some help remedially to strengthen their skills and to learn coping strategies. NMCS strives to strengthen skills while students are in elementary school before the student requires special education.  Students qualify for remedial support if they are at least one grade level behind in reading or math, and if there is room in the program. Sometimes spelling and writing are taught remedially as well (if there is room in the program). Reading is generally given preference over the other subject areas since it affects all other subject areas. A student may receive help if the student’s teacher, parent, administrator, and the special education/remedial teacher agree that it is needed. This may be done in a one-on-one or a small group setting depending on the time the help is needed and if other students need similar help, maximizing the amount of time available to meet students’ needs.

NMCS has one part-time remedial and special education teacher. Because of this preference is given to students who have Individual Education Plans over remedial students because they qualify for special education. These students may have a learning disability, a mild to slightly moderate cognitive impairment, or high-functioning autism.  Students with more severe needs will need to be evaluated on a case by case basis to see if we can meet that student’s needs. If a student has a more severe impairment, he or she will not be able to receive as much time as he/she may receive in the public school. Accommodations and/or modifications will instead need to be made in the general education classroom.  The special education teacher will consult with teachers to help support them as they strive to meet the students’ needs in the regular education setting.  Since the remedial/special education teacher cannot meet all of the needs the students may have, parent volunteers have been trained by the special education teacher in how to help students practice their phonograms and practice reading fluently. The volunteers help a variety of students from the classroom at teacher request. Sometimes this is to help students catch up after being absent, sometimes it is to practice a skill in a one-on-one to small group setting, and sometimes it is to offer time to challenge a student who may need this.  The Wexford Missaukee Intermediate School District offers testing services, social work services, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech and language therapy, and vision therapy at Northern Michigan Christian School.  These services are made available to those students who qualify for these services based on Michigan’s state standards. (According to state standards, students qualify for a learning disability if they are in the 9th percentile or lower on standardized testing.)

NMCS will provide a student with an Individualized Education Plan and will implement it if students qualify based on the state guidelines. Students who have a medical disability (including ADD/ADHD) who need accommodations/modifications in the classroom because of this medical need, but who do not qualify for an IEP may receive a 504 plan which will be reviewed annually.  NMCS offers the Arrowsmith program to students who have an average IQ and who have a learning disability. Students who do not qualify for a learning disability because they are not “bad enough” based on state guidelines but who still struggle in school are often excellent candidates for this program. This program helps students who struggle with reversals, reading, math, writing, spelling, processing of information, and more. Unlike the remedial and special education programs that strive to teach the skills that are weak, the Arrowsmith program strives to strengthen the brain so that the student is able to learn the skills more easily. It is like physical therapy for the brain. This program is a research-based program which is taught by a trained teacher in this program.  It is implemented with support from Toronto, Canada. This support comes with a price and is therefore not able to be done at a reduced price. An appointment can be made with the school if you would like to observe this program.  If you have questions about any of these programs, please feel free to contact Dirk Walhout or Pam Smallegan, the K-12 remedial/special education teacher at (231) 825 - 2492.