Wayne County Regional Enhancement Education Millage Proposal


School districts in Wayne County have placed a proposal on the November 8th ballot to provide added funding for our schools. It is the “Regional Enhancement Millage Proposal.”

If approved by the entire county, the 2 mil proposal will generate approximately $6.2 million from Dearborn but the District will receive $7.8 million in additional funding for our schools.  Money would go to local schools starting this year and the millage expires after six years.  Continue reading »

Article about My Presentation to the Board of Education in Press and Guide Newspaper 4-12-2016

Also during the meeting, trustees heard a report from Rola Bazzi-Gates summarizing the research the social worker did for her doctorate thesis.

Bazzi-Gates also was named the 2016 Michigan Social Worker of the Year. The Michigan Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers will present the award next month.

For the doctorate she completed last year, Bazzi-Gates looked at the effect of Arab American parental involvement on children during their elementary years.

For her study, she interviewed 20 mothers about their involvement at their child’s school and in the child’s education at home, what resources they had to help them be involved and what barriers they faced.

She did not name the schools in her study to protect the privacy of the families, she said. The mothers were from Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq. Originally, she had hoped to talk to fathers too, but those interviews were too hard to schedule, she said.

Her research showed the Arab American community provided a strong network that helped mothers get involved by offering translation, transportation and other assistance.

The mothers faced familiar barriers with lack of transportation, language difficulties and scheduling conflicts, such has having a baby at home that prevented them from attending school events.

Katie Hetrick covers Dearborn Public Schools. She can be reached at katie_hetrick@hotmail.com.

Press & Guide Newspaper: Dearborn plans to expand blended learning classrooms!

Published: Tuesday, April 12, 2016

More Dearborn Public School students next year will be in blended classrooms where special education and general education students and teachers mix.

The district has used the co-teaching model for years and really stepped up the number of such blended classrooms about six years ago, administrators told the school board on Monday night.

“Next year we are really looking to ratchet it up,” Supt. Glenn Maleyko said.

Already in the district, all high school students who are on a path to graduation are in general education classes, said Michael Shelton, director of special education.

Co-teaching is a model where a regular teacher and a special education teacher work together to instruct a single class. It is an “effective model for meeting individual student needs especially for students with special needs,” Shelton said.

To work well, the classroom has to be run differently, not with one teacher instructing, but with varied teaching models. Both teachers also need training on co-teaching and time to plan lessons together.

“The classes do look a lot differently,” Maleyko said. “However, they can benefit not just the special education students but other struggling students, as well.”

To help, the district needs to provide a framework, such as aligning class schedules and planning time, Shelton said.

The hope next year is to shift more special education support to the elementary level. The district also wants to ensure that teachers are using researched-based strategies, Maleyko said.

To that end, the board agreed to hire Anne Beninghof as a consultant. The co-teaching expert will provide professional development for teachers and administrators.

She will be paid about $35,000 for 10 days of professional development services.

Jill Chochol, an executive director of student achievement, said at the elementary school level, special education students tend to be clustered in small groups within the regular classroom. The special education teacher then helps out in those classrooms for part of the day, spending more time in rooms with more special needs students.

“Starting at the elementary school the goal is prevention,” Chochol said. “Some students are identified for special education because they have fallen too far behind academically, even if they do not have any diagnosed issues.”

Trustees asked several questions about how general education teachers are expected to handle the special education students in addition to their regular education pupils.

Chochol and Shelton both said a special education teacher is there to help, albeit only for part of the day. Special education teachers also are able to help other struggling students in the classrooms even if they have not been identified for special education services, Shelton said.

“We are jumping in to help all our students,” Shelton said.

Chochol said teachers have adjusted to the idea of co-teaching. Research shows that students included in regular education classrooms do much better academically, she said.

Dr. Rola Bazzi-Gates Receives the 2016 Social Worker of the Year Award

News & Press: NASW-Michigan News

Dr. Rola Bazzi-Gates Receives the 2016 Social Worker of the Year Award

Thursday, June 02, 2016
Posted by: Duane Breijak

Social Worker of the Year Dr. Rola Bazzi-Gates, PhD, ACSW, LMSW, SSW with Lamis Srour, Principal of Geer Park Elementary School.

Lansing, MI. The National Association of Social Workers – Michigan Chapter (NASW-Michigan) was proud to award Dr. Rola Bazzi-Gates, PhD, ACSW, LMSW, SSW, the 2016 Social Worker of the Year Award at the chapter board of directors meeting on May 13. The award recognizes a social worker who has made demonstrable differences in the areas of advocacy, community organizing, social work practice, program development, or research.

Dr. Bazzi-Gates has been a school social worker with Dearborn Public Schools since 1998. Prior to this, she worked as a mental health therapist for both Apex Behavior Health with Oakwood Hospital and for the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS), providing services to both individuals and families. Dr. Bazzi-Gates has been a field instructor for over 45 masters level social work students from September 2000 until the present; mentoring, supervising, and evaluating them.  In addition, each year she takes on two Dearborn Public Schools social workers to mentor and advise.

One of her biggest passions is empowering families—both the parents and the children. Dr. Bazzi-Gates is a strong believer in collaborating and working as a team to provide wrap-around services to children, making sure every aspect of the child’s life is being cared for. Her dedication and commitment to adhering to the core principles of the social work profession are evident in the way she interacts with families of students, with staff, and with everyone she meets. Her incredible work ethic pushes her to go above and beyond her role as a school social worker to take on the additional roles of advocate, teacher, role model…whatever is needed of her to meet the needs of others.

“Dr. Bazzi-Gates displays a proactive stance in determining unexpected needs,” stated Amy Swis, a fellow school social worker at Dearborn Public Schools. “She has taken risks in decreasing anti-arabic sentiment and fighting tirelessly for newcomers to our community. This is not an easy task in light of zero tolerance regulations. Dr. Bazzi-Gates has opened the dialogue for race relations among the different populations in Dearborn through restorative circles being implemented in both of her buildings. She is a true team player who is committed to her work and is passionate about empowering students, parents, and the community at large.”

Throughout her eighteen years as a social worker, Dr. Bazzi-Gates has been a constant example to everyone around her of how a social worker should embody the values and goals of the profession. In addition to this award, Dr. Bazzi-Gates was awarded a 2015 Impact Award from the Dearborn Public Schools and the 2011 Social Worker of the Year Award from the Michigan Association of School Social Workers.

Please join NASW-Michigan in congratulating Dr. Rola, Bazzi-Gates in being named the 2016 Social Workers of the Year!


Raising a Fit Preschooler!

Raising a Fit Preschooler

Preschool girls playing in a tunnelPreschoolers have a lot of energy, and they use it in a more organized way than when they were toddlers. Instead of just running around in the backyard, a preschooler has the physical skills and coordination to ride a tricycle or chase a butterfly.

Preschoolers are also discovering what it means to play with a friend instead of just alongside another child, as toddlers do. By being around other kids, a preschooler gains important social skills, such as sharing and taking turns. Despite occasional disputes, preschoolers learn to cooperate and interact during play.

Helping Kids Learn New Skills

Preschoolers develop important motor skills as they grow. New skills your preschooler may be showing off include hopping, jumping forward, catching a ball, doing a somersault, skipping and balancing on one foot. Help your child practice these skills by playing and exercising together.

Walking together sometimes can be dull for young kids, so try these ways to liven up your family stroll:

  • Make your walk a scavenger hunt by giving your child something to find, like a red door, a cat, a flag and something square.
  • Sing songs or recite nursery rhymes while you walk.
  • Mix walking with jumping, racing, hopping and walking backwards.
  • Make your walk together a mathematical experience as you emphasize numbers and counting: How many windows are on the garage door? What numbers are on the houses?

These kinds of activities are fun but also help to prepare kids for school.

How Much Activity Is Enough?

The National Association for Sports and Physical Education (NASPE) offers specific recommendations for preschoolers, saying they should:

  • accumulate at least 60 minutes of physical activity that’s structured (meaning it’s organized by you or another adult)
  • engage in at least 1 hour — and up to several hours — of free play
  • not be inactive for more that 1 hour at a time, unless they are sleeping

It’s important to limit TV (including videos and DVDs) and computer time to no more than 1-2 hours per day.

Structured Play

Preschoolers are likely to get structured play at childcare or in preschool programs through games like “Duck, Duck, Goose” and “London Bridge.” Consider enrolling your child in a preschool tumbling or dance class.

Your preschooler can get structured outdoor play at home, too. Play together in the backyard or practice motor skills, such as throwing and catching a ball. Preschoolers also love trips to the playground.

Though many kids tend to gravitate toward the outdoors, lots of fun things can be organized indoors: a child-friendly obstacle course, a treasure hunt, or forts made out of sheets and boxes or chairs. Games like freeze dance or bounce catch are also fun. Designate a play area and clear the space of any breakables.

Unstructured Play

Unstructured or free play is when kids are left more to their own devices — within a safe environment. During these times, they should be able to choose from a variety of activities, such as exploring, playing with toys, painting and drawing, doing a puzzle or playing dress-up.

During pretend play, preschoolers often like to take on a gender-specific role because they are beginning to identify with members of the same gender. A girl might pretend to be her mother by “working” in the garden, while a boy might mimic his dad by pretending to cut the lawn.

It’s clear your preschooler is keeping an eye on how you spend your time, so set a good example by exercising regularly. Kids who pick up on this as something parents do will naturally want to do it, too.

Safety Concerns

No matter what type of physical activity your child gets, it’s important to keep safety concerns in mind. Remember that preschoolers are still developing coordination, balance and judgment. So as preschoolers play, a parent’s challenge is to find a balance between letting them try new things and doing what is necessary to keep them safe and prevent injuries. With that in mind:

  • A child on a tricycle or bike should always wear a helmet.
  • If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to talk about street safety, because even the most cautious preschooler may dart into the street after a ball.
  • A preschooler in a swimming pool needs constant adult supervision, even if he or she has learned to swim.
  • Giving kids safe opportunities to play in both organized and unstructured ways builds a foundation for a fit lifestyle that can carry them through life.

10 Tips for Growing Healthy Habits with Your Kids!!

10 Tips for Growing Healthy Habits with Your Kids

By Kristie Hubbard, PhD, MPH, RD, Cyberchase Health Advisor 
Eating healthy meals and being active every day is essential for human health, and how you achieve your goals can have a big impact on the health of the planet. Five new adventures from Cyberchase, the animated PBS KIDS series, inspire kids to get active with math – from encouraging them to be active and eat well, to teaching them about reducing waste and growing gardens, all while caring for the health of their community. Here are 10 tips to help you and your child develop the same healthy habits at home.


1. Plan ahead and track your progress.

Key strategies for improving eating habits and increasing physical activity are planning ahead and tracking progress. Plan meals and snacks ahead of time and ask for your child’s input. Provide structured choices: Would you like broccoli or salad for your vegetable tonight? Ask your child to create a family dinner and physical activity calendar. Use a chart or graph to keep track of family meals and minutes spent being active (toward the goal of at least 60 minutes a day).

2. Make cooking a family event.

Designate at least one day each week to prepare a family meal. Involve your child with the prep work – from meal planning based on the five MyPlate food groups all the way through clean-up. Spend some quality time with your child while teaching her about healthy eating. Depending on your child’s skill level, try these fun and child-friendly tasks:

  • Creating the menu based on MyPlate
  • Searching for recipes
  • Writing the shopping list
  • Cleaning fruits and vegetables
  • Measuring and adding ingredients

3. Rethink your drink.

Sugar-sweetened drinks are the top source of added sugar in children’s diets. Encourage your child to drink water instead of sugary drinks when she’s thirsty. Ask your child to guess how many teaspoons of sugar are in her favorite drinks. To build math skills, read the nutrition facts panel and help your child calculate how many teaspoons of sugar are in one serving of her favorite beverage, using the 4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon conversion.

4. Chores count!

Chores to do? Involve your child in active chores around the house and make it fun. Indoor chores like sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming can also get your child’s heart pumping. Make it upbeat by cleaning the house to your child’s favorite music playlist. Be sure to count these activities toward your child’s goal of at least 60 minutes each day!

5. Visit a local farmer’s market.

Your local farmer’s market provides an engaging environment for your child to learn where her food comes from and how it’s grown. Start a conversation with a farmer and encourage your child to ask a question: How long does a pumpkin take to grow? What tools do you use to harvest potatoes? Do scarecrows really work? Practice math skills by letting your child estimate the cost of produce based on weight. Walk to the market for even more activity!

6. Choose to reuse.

Water is always convenient, and hydrating often can help children stay focused throughout the day. Using a reusable bottle is an environmentally-friendly and thrifty alternative to single-serve, disposable bottles. Pack a reusable water bottle whenever your child leaves the house to cut down on waste and save money. Take your child grocery shopping and have her write down the prices of her favorite drinks. Ask her to calculate how much money you can save each week by switching to tap water.

7. Grow an herb or vegetable garden.

Want your child to develop a love of gardening? Let healthy habits take root early. Growing and harvesting encourages even the pickiest of eaters to try new vegetables. Low on space? No problem! Grow herbs such as basil or cilantro in an old coffee mug or bowl near a sunny window. Lettuce, chard, and other greens thrive in pots. Start a salad bowl container garden by filling a well-draining pot with potting soil, moistening with water, and planting with your child’s favorite salad greens.

8. Hit the “off” button.

Hitting the “off” button on almost any electronic device is a surefire way for finding more family time for physical activity. Dance indoors, play catch outside, or do yoga after dinner. If your child doesn’t want to miss her favorite show, get up and moving while you watch! Have a contest and count how many jumping jacks she can do during the opening credits, a song or another scene.

9. Volunteer for a park clean-up day.

Enjoy the great outdoors and make friends with your fellow neighbors while sprucing up your community park. Volunteering your family for a park clean-up day is a great way to teach your children principles of civic engagement and environmental conservation – all while being physically active. Learning opportunities abound; volunteers may be invited to pick up and weigh trash, count and recycle water bottles, and weed and plant gardens.

10. Be a food detective.

A healthy meal starts with more vegetables and fruits and smaller portions of protein, grains, and dairy. Create an individualized meal plan for your child based on her age and activity level at choosemyplate.gov. Ask your child to estimate how many ounces of liquid fit in your glasses at home and how many cups of cereal fit in your bowls. If your usual dishes are leading to portion distortion, switch to smaller glasses, bowls and plates to help with portion control.