Special Education

Sturgis Special Education Program is featured on the International Baccalaureate's website:
"An International Baccalaureate education for all"

Sturgis is highlighted in recent Special Ed Connection:
"Create Culture of High Expectations for Students with Disabilities"

IB Publishes Guide to Inclusive Education


Congratulations to Susan Lacombe Voigt, (fourth from right) Special Education Coordinator at Sturgis East, and the group of Special Education inclusion specialists from around the globe she collaborated with to create The IB Guide to Inclusive Education: A Resource for Whole School Development. The group met 2 summers ago at the International Baccalaureate (IB) headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands to develop guidelines for inclusive education in IB World Schools. The guide is now available in English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Chinese. We are pleased to see IB schools promoting inclusive education programs like "IB for All" at Sturgis.


Learning Stories from the IB...

Learning stories from the IB continuum share examples of good practice from IB World Schools in order to promote inquiry, action and reflection by educators and school learning communities.

See the Learning Story that Susan LaCombe-Voigt. Special Education Coordinator at Sturgis East shares with other IB educators around the globe.



International Baccalaureate case studies interviews with educators from around the world, featuring Sturgis Charter Public School, Special Education Coordinator Susan Voigt speaking about an " IB Education for All". Click link here


Quotes from Sturgis Special Education Community


Sturgis Alumni

Sam Watson Sturgis 2015 Graduate "Everyone should have access to an IB education"  

Susan Lacombe Voigt interviews Devin Low, Class of 2013, about his experience at Sturgis.  
Susan Lacombe Voigt interviews Alex Dufault, class of 2012, about his experience at Sturgis
"Best 4 years of my life! Thanks!" Message by Class of 2008 alumna on her donation to the 2013-14 Annual Appeal
"I wanted to write and compliment you on one small success out of the many you are already aware of. As you may know my son has Asperger's Syndrome. He is typically isolated and lives in his head much of the time. At previous schools, he has not felt that he fits in. There was a huge disconnect between him, his school and his classmates. In the past, school was drudgery that got in the way of his naturally inquisitive nature. This week at Sturgis he is completely engaged with Spirit week. I have never seen him so motivated to follow a school initiative. He loves and is proud of his school. As a parent, I am very thankful to have your school as an option for my child. Thank you."~~Sturgis Parent

Sturgis Faculty


"By raising that bar, I think we see students with disabilities wanting to achieve and work harder. They no longer feel different; they're just alongside all the other kids. I think they probably for the first time in a very long time feel part of something and not individualized.” 

Susan Lacombe Voigt, Special Needs Coordinator, Sturgis East




“I graduated from an IB Diploma Programme where courses were open only to more obviously achieving and able students. After teaching at Sturgis, I believe that the ‘IB for All’ approach works and should be a model for other educational programs. Obviously, there are some special education accommodations that require individualized attention. But, for the most part, I find that the majority of common “special education accommodations” - like having a daily agenda written on the whiteboard, and chunking longer assignments into more manageable steps - are simply best practices in daily instruction. When these accommodations are integrated into the daily life of the classroom, ‘IB for All’ comes to mean ‘Support for All’ and everyone benefits.”     

Morgan Derby, English, Sturgis East

“I believe that many people assume that Special Education students are doomed to a lower form of education. Many people (even parents) think that these students are unable to achieve the same success that regular ed students are able to achieve. I have had parents ask me: Do you think my son/daughter will be able to attend college? Do you think they could get a scholarship? Our perception of what is possible, what knowledge is desirable, what colleges/universities desire seems to be limited by the success of regular ed students and past achievements. These students learn in a radically different way from their peers. It is our duty as educators to meet the challenges that they present with flexibility and creativity.”  

Antonio Hernandez, Special Education, Sturgis West



Click here for a more detailed list of FAQ’s about Sturgis Special Education

  1. Is Sturgis required to follow the same special education laws and regulations that my son/daughter's sending school does?
    •  Yes, Sturgis has the same licensure requirements as other public schools.
  2. What kind of educational services are available at Sturgis?  
    • The services offered at Sturgis are similar to those offered by typical district public schools. They include but are not limited to: special education teachers and assistants; speech and language therapist; social skills instructor; reading teacher; college, academic, and personal counseling; and a full-time school nurse .
  3. What is the success rate of students who have disabilities?
    • Virtually all students with disabilities graduate from Sturgis and then become quite successful at college or university due to the outstanding preparation that they received while at Sturgis.
  4. Does Sturgis have an active Parent Advisory Council (PAC) for parents of students with disabilities?
    • Yes, Sturgis Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) meets on a quarterly basis and has a web page for SEPAC news and meeting information: SEPAC


Special Education Staff

East Campus

Susan LaCombe Voigt, Special Education Coordinator
Danielle Massey, Assistant Special Education Coordinator
Xanthippi Abel
Aimee Baker
Christopher Beard
Andrea Fleckles
Katie McIntosh-Rhodes
Rich Mathews
Lee Moynihan
Gene Pizzolato
Alyssa Pohlman
Amanda Hulse



(left to right) Top Row: Amanda Hulse, Xanthippi Abel, Chris Beard, Aimee Baker, Susan LaComb-Voigt, Katie McIntosh-Rhodes, Lee Moynihan, Alyssa Pohlman
Bottom Row: Rich Mathews, Andrea Fleckles, Duke the therapy dog, Danielle Massey (Not pictured:Gene Pizzolato)

West Campus

Jessica Lynch, Special Education Coordinator
Ann Forget
Jolanda Ferguson
Nate Furey
Mike Jeghers
David Kooharian
Jessica Lynch
Christine McDowell
Katie O’Hara
Theresa Pacheco
Gene Pizzolato


(left to right) Nate Furey, Theresa Pacheco, Gene Pizzolato, Katie O'Hara, Jessica Lynch, David Kooharian and Mike Jeghers (Not pictured: Ann Forget)


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