January 2021 - Volume 49
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In this issue:

A young woman standing on stage in front of an audience
Cecilia's Positive Growth Mindset

Call for Partnership Applications and Professional Learning Opportunity (PLO) Preview Week

Alt+Shift is offering a Professional Learning Opportunities (PLO) Preview Week.

Each day during the week of January 25, Alt+Shift will provide a 45-minute preview of one of their professional learning opportunities, plus one preview of how Alt+Shift partners with ISDs to provide training and implementation support for the PLOs within the ISD region. Each preview is followed by an optional 15 minutes of questions and answers.

  • ISD Partnership Process (January 25, 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Eastern)
  • Foundations of Math (January 26, 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Eastern)
  • Building Blocks to Autonomous Communication (January 27, 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Eastern)
  • Foundations of Math: Teaching Students with Significant Disabilities (January 28, 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.)
  • Assistive Technology Journey (January 29, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)
On demand versions of the previews will be posted to the Alt+Shift YouTube channel by Friday, February 5, 2021. For those who cannot stay on for the Q and A, Alt+Shift is always available via email, phone, and Zoom. Dates, times, and registration can be found on the Alt+Shift PLO Preview Week Registration Form. Questions should be sent to

The Intermediate School District (ISD) Partnership Site Application for the 2021-2022 school year will open on January 25, 2021. PLOs include:
  • Foundations of Math
  • Foundations of Math: Teaching Students with Significant Disabilities
  • Building Blocks to Autonomous Communication (New PLO: See below for details)

Strengthening Family-School Partnerships Project

Last fall, a group of Michigan educators and parents collaborated to identify challenges that may be impacting partnerships between school and home. This cohort thoughtfully developed 16 ideas to address 4 major challenges in the Strengthening Family-School Partnerships Project. To use this resource, select a challenge in the left column, review the ideas in its corresponding row, and click on the idea to learn more. Thank you to the parents and educators who contributed to the project!

Accessible Materials Made Right (AMMR)

As online accessibility continues to gain momentum and grow in popularity across the public and private sector new tools continue to emerge, promising a quick fix for all your website’s accessibility issues. In recent years, this has never been more true, with the gains that artificial intelligence (AI) has made in the world of technology.
It is important to remember, however, that the promises that AI and other quick fixes offer rarely deliver. Beware of automated software fixes, like web accessibility overlays and PDF auto-tagging features. Many of the pioneers in online accessibility, such as Lainey Feingold, Karl Groves, Adrian Roselli, and Colleen Gratzer, have warned of the use of tools like these for years. While these tools seem like a great fix, they can never adequately replace knowledgeable human designers. One main reason for this is that automated software can only detect about 25 to 30 percent of accessibility design issues. This means that more than 70 percent of the accessibility issues your site may contain would still need to be detected and addressed by trained individuals.
Don’t be tempted by the lure of the quick and seemingly inexpensive fix to accessibility issues on your websites. Instead, make sure you have people in your district or you are working with others who are adequately trained to build and design your website and your documents with accessibility built-in rather than attempting to layer it on top as an afterthought.

Assistive Technology (AT)

This year, Alt+Shift collaborated with Michigan Alliance for Families to bring more awareness of assistive technology tools and services to parents of learners with disabilities. Register for the Assistive Technology Webinars to join us on January 21 at 12:00 p.m. and hear firsthand from parents who have had positive experiences surrounding the AT process. This is a great opportunity for parents of your own learners, so please share the registration link.

Building Blocks to Autonomous Communication

Building Blocks to Autonomous Communication focuses on the what, why, and how of supporting students with complex communication needs. This new professional learning opportunity incorporates content from the AT Journey, Foundations of Communication,  Pragmatic Organization Dynamic Display (PODD), Teaching Movements for Communication, and Comprehensive Literacy for Autonomous Communication. Partnering ISDs will complete a brief survey which will help determine which building blocks or content areas are applicable to their current needs. If you want to learn more about this new professional learning opportunity, join us on Wednesday, January 27 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EST by registering for the PLO Preview Week

Delta Math

Online practice opportunities are available for every grade level readiness standard on the Tier 2 Intervention tab. Online practice for each readiness standard generally includes three to five activities to provide distributed practice and reinforce conceptual understanding. Our goal was to include activities at the top of each list that include visual representations and support conceptual understanding.

Resources were selected from the following websites: IXL (provides up to ten free problems per day), (might require students to watch an ad), Math Playground, Michigan Virtual University, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Illuminations, and Think Central.

Please encourage teachers and interventionists to engage students in reflection and strategic math talk by implementing the suggested instructional protocol at the top of the Online Practice page or by using an instructional routine of their own.
If you have any questions about Delta Math Response to Intervention (RtI) program resources or implementation, please contact Mike Klavon at

Foundations of Math (FoM and FoM:SD)

The Learning Trajectories are used in the Foundations of Math course to assess and plan instruction. The website also has a Resources Page with games and information for parents and caregivers who are supporting math learning at home.  Some of our FoM teachers are providing this as a resource to their families so they can engage in math with their learners, increasing the amount of math that is happening at home, and allowing them to reinforce what is happening in real and virtual math classrooms.

Upcoming Events: Alt+Shift

Professional Learning Opportunities Preview Week
January 25-29, 2021
Live virtual meetings (on-demand sessions available on February 5, 2021)

Upcoming Events: Michigan

Michigan Math Educators (MichME)
Various - check the registration page for information
Virtual meetings

Responsive Instruction and Leadership Webinar Series: Braving a New Pandemic World
January and May 2021
Webinar series

2021 Supervisors of Low Incidence Programs (SLIP) Conference
Michigan Association of Administrators of Special Education
January 14, 2021
Virtual Conference

Empowering Math Educators - Session 6
(attendance at previous sessions not required)
January 18
Virtual session

#TalkingAAC: Online Edition
February 22, May 7
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Math in Action: Call for Presenters and Save-the-Date
February 20, 2021
Allendale, MI

Designing for Choice that Empowers All Learners
Universal Design for Learning (UDL)-based Professional Learning hosted by Region IV AT Consortium
February 23, 2021
Virtual Webinar and Asynchronous Module (February 16, 2021)

Michigan Council for Exceptional Children (MCEC) Conference
March 3-5, 2021
Grand Rapids, MI

Michigan Reading Association 2021 Annual Conference
March 12-14, 2021
Virtual Conference
Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning (MACUL) Conference
March 17-20, 2021
Virtual conference
Michigan Speech Language Hearing Association Conference
March 18-20, 2021
Virtual conference
Designing Flexible Learning Environments
Universal Design for Learning (UDL)-based Professional Learning hosted by Region IV AT Consortium
February 23, 2021
Virtual Webinar and Asynchronous Module (March 16, 2021)
20th Annual START Conference
(Grand Valley State University START Project)
May 3, 2021
Virtual Conference
May 7, 2021
Virtual conference

Upcoming Events: National

Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) 2021: AT Connected Home
January 25 - February 6, 2021
Virtual event

National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM) Leadership Seminars
February 8, 2021
Virtual seminar

Council for Exceptional Children 2021 Convention and Expo
March 8-13, 2021
Online event

National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM) Bold Leadership Summit
April 25-27, 2021
St. Louis, MO

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Schools Connect
July 14-26, 2021
Virtual Conference

NCSM Annual Conference
September 20-22, 2021
Atlanta, GA

Lending Library Update

There are 75 items out on loan. 

The Alt+Shift library is open.
Please return items/devices to the Alt+Shift office at:
1037 S U.S. Highway 27
St. Johns, MI 48879


New Item:

The Textured Carousel Busy Box is a cause and effect teaching device. Increases visual attention, tactile awareness, color recognition, and auditory development.
You can use the Busy Box for a variety of purposes, including:

Play: Open a world of fun with mesmerizing sensory experiences that also help increase color recognition.

Education: Learn motor skills, visual attention, cause and effect, and much more.

Stimulation: Meet sensory needs for touch, sound, and sight while increasing auditory development.

Lending Library Opportunities to Learn More

For those using Snap+Core First, Tobii Dynavox has made Core First Communication Books available for free printing. These communication books can be used as an introduction to language for symbol-supported communicators before they get their device; printing them to send home during remote learning; or keeping on hand as a simple solution to be used in the car, at the playground, or anywhere else it might be inconvenient to use a device. Print the Core First Communication Books.

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Alt+Shift, encompassing Michigan's Integrated Mathematics Initiative, is an Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Grant Funded Initiative out of the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Special Education.