Friends of Different Learners is an independent organization of parents, staff, and community members dedicated to maximizing the potential of Birmingham Public School students with different abilities.

All Friends meetings are FREE and open to everyone!

2019-2020                  MEETING SCHEDULE            

OCTOBER 3, 2019
Top 5 Priorities for the 2019-2020 School Year From Birmingham Public School Special Services Department.
Presenters: BPS Special Education Department Executive Director Laura Mahler, Supervisor Renee Ruiz, Supervisor Cassandra Carter and Supervisor Nancy Ely.

NOVEMBER 7, 2019
Stress vs Anxiety? Signs, Symptoms & Strategies.
Presenters: Kelsey Arsenault, BPS Elementary School Counselor and Gretchen Moran Marsh, Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist.

JANUARY 16, 2020
From Middle School to High School & Beyond - Supporting Your Diploma Track Student & Their Transition Needs.
Presenters: BPS Special Education Supervisors Cassandra Carter and Renee Ruiz, and Special Education Teacher Barb Dean.

FEBRUARY 6, 2020
BPS Restorative Practice Overview - Relationships, Social Connections & Thriving.
Presenters: BPS Gregorio Cognetto, Elementary School Counselor and BPS Restorative Practices Liaison.

MARCH 5, 2020
Special Student Services Before Kindergarten - Ages 0-5.
Presenters: BPS Special Education Supervisor Nancy Ely.

APRIL 2, 2020
What are Executive Functions and Why Does My Child Struggle with School?
Presenter: BPS Special Education Supervisor Renee Ruiz.

MAY 7, 2020
Tao of ADHD.
Presenter: Kevin Roberts.

JUNE 4, 2020
Wrap Up 2019-2020 & Plan 2020-2021!

Meeting and Location Information

Meetings are held on the first Thursday of the month (with a few exceptions - see schedule).
  We start with a brief business meeting followed by the guest speaker and topic presentation.  Informal networking opportunities are available after every meeting to share ideas about how to help our different learners and to learn from each other.

Meetings begin at 7:00 pm unless otherwise noted.

Birmingham Covington School (BCS)
1525 Covington Rd.
Bloomfield Hills, MI  48301
Click here for map

Sign up for our weekly News & Notes to keep informed about all the latest happenings!

Join Our Mailing List
For Email Marketing you can trust


Saturday October 12, 9:00 am - 11:30 am

Special Needs Ministries, Woodside

6600 Rochester Road, Troy

Over thirty local vendors and agencies who service those affected by disability will all be under one roof to provide information and wisdom in their field. 

Use the student entrance, around the right side of the building. 

Free event!

Co-Coordinators Needed for Disability Awareness Workshop (DAW) 

The highly successful and well received DAW needs two (2) people to help out with managing the program for Birmingham Public Schools. This program is a hands-on, activity-based workshop designed to help students understand how challenging and complex daily living can be for individuals with disabilities. The program includes activities centered on an empathetic understanding of physical, speech, hearing, vision and learning impairments. The students participate in a wheelchair obstacle course, wear glasses that give them momentary vision impairments, experience speaking with an electric larynx and experience reading disabilities. This hands-on experience teaches our students that people should be respected no matter how they may look, act, walk or talk and aid an integral part of Character Education. All 4th grade Elementary students and 5/6 grade Covington Students participate in the workshop. There are 8-9 workshops spread out between October and May of the school year. This is a truly life changing event for many students and parents!

Job Description:

  • Work with School Principals/Secretaries/CSO's/Social Workers to schedule and plan the workshop.
  • Provide instructions to Building Coordinators at each school and answer any questions they may have.
  • Set up the DAW Kit (equipment, signs, stock low items, etc.) the night before the workshop
  • Be present at the beginning of the Workshop to ensure it is off to a smooth start. No need to stay the entire time.
  • At the end of the school year, clean and inventory the kit. Repair and replace items as necessary.

Never done this before? No worries! On the job training will be provided all of next year. Ideally, three (3) people will manage this kit together so responsibilities will be shared. If you are interested or would like to hear more about this position, please contact Denise Moore at 248-990-8282 or