With the end of the school year rapidly approaching, it is time for some parents to think ahead to where their child will be living and educated in the fall.
I frequently get asked what to do if you are moving your child to a new school district, so I think its a topic that needs a quick answer:
Whether you move to another town in the same state or a whole new state, your child's new school has a responsibility to obtain your child's school records promptly. Some school districts allow you to pick up your child's records and bring them to the new school yourself - this is not allowed in every district. When you request that the documents be sent to the new school, ask how long this process usually takes and then schedule a call to the new school to confirm their receipt.
The new school should review the child's current Individualized Education Plan (i.e. the IEP) to understand the child's diagnosis, special education services, related services etc that your child currently has in place to provide him or her with a free, appropriate public education (FAPE). The new school needs to provide your child with services, placement, aids etc that are similar or comparable to what is stated in the child's existing IEP. The new school cannot tell you that they "do not do that in their district."
- If you are moving to a new state, visit the state's Department of Education website and review that state's special education policies and laws.
- Your child's new school MUST continue to provide your child's services with no delay, gap or other interruption.
- If your child's current IEP is going to expire at or near the time you plan to move, ask for the team to meet earlier to write the new IEP. (The new school would then have to adopt this IEP).
- Yes, your child's new school may do their own evaluation but they cannot unilaterally change the contents of the current IEP.
- It might be helpful for your child's new teachers and aides to have an overview of your child's strengths and weaknesses. Ask your child's current teachers and/or aides to if they would be willing to write a letter that you can share with the new staff. *Remember you should allow your child's new teachers/aides to get to know the child on their own. If you do get a letter do not use it as a 'weapon' when you disagree with the new staff.
- Schedule a visit to the school over the summer so that your child has time to get to used to the new building, layout and people.
- Look into the district's parent supports: SEPACs, support groups, PTA, etc. Get involved so that you can build a network of people that you can look to for advice and feedback.
Have questions or concerns about your child's education? Contact us to discuss further:
E.M. Curran & Associates LLC