Liaison a New Resource for Special Ed. Families

Michelle Bahler

Michelle Bahler is a resource for special education families in the District

Liaison a New Resource for Special Ed. Families

Some things you learn in school, other things you learn by doing. Michelle Bahler, the District’s new Family Engagement Liaison, learned the ins and outs of Special Education Services by doing.
Bahler has three children in South Milwaukee schools, and two of them receive Special Education services.
She learned the system and what services her children needed and were entitled to by advocating for them – and not letting up until they got it. 

Her persistence and ability to work with school staff to get things done was noticed, and she was asked to become a go-between for families and the District. 

“Michelle is a strong advocate for her children,” Leo Eckman, director of Special Education and Pupil Services said. “She’s someone who can help improve how we communicate with families.” 

Bahler is excited to be part of the solution for others. 

“There’s a lot of parents who don't know they can fight for things they need,” she said. “Hopefully I can help open the communication between parents and the District as far as issues and concerns and victories in the school special education population.” 

To that end, Bahler and Eckman are organizing a “Parent Brainstorming” meeting and have sent out invites to families whose students receive special education services.
A 2021 survey of parents said the District could do better in four areas: 

- Including their child’s hopes and interests for after high school into their educational program; 

- Offering more information about community services available to students that receive special education services; 

- Updating parents on their child’s progress, and
- Keeping every SM staff member informed about the particular needs of each student.

The brainstorming meeting will hopefully identify ways to improve on those areas.

“Parents are an important resource. They’re partners to the team that provides services to their child,” Eckman said.
“Having someone like Michelle to talk to and serve as a resource helps us remove barriers to our students’ education.”