Sunday, March 15, 2015

When a child doesn't qualify...

This past weekend was a huge milestone for the eighth graders in my community who attend a Catholic school. Acceptance letter weekend! This is when they find out if they have been accepted to the high school of their choice. 

Now for children who have no learning differences, this could be a pretty stressful weekend but as long as their grades are good it's probably a definite in. Acceptance is based on the HSPT (high school placement test), grades, and teacher recommendations. 

But what about the children who don't take standardized tests well? Unfortunately admittance is much more uncertain for those students. If the child has an IEP or documented learning difference, The school will definitely try to work with the family to make sure that the student will be able to be successful.

However, if a child does not qualify under district policy, and is not at grade level or a good test taker, the path is tricky.

The first thing to do would be to talk to the admissions personnel and find out exactly why they feel the child wouldn't be a good fit. There is nothing wrong with begging and pleading. Oftentimes, assuring the school that you are well aware of your student's academic limitations and promising to support with private tuorting will help. 

Parents can request an individual education evaluation from the district. This is like getting a second opinion from a doctor. What this will do is have the district pay for another private evaluation. 

Parents can pay for a private evaluation. If the parents disagree with the findings of the original IEP they are welcome to pay for private testing. This can be expensive, and is often not covered by insurance. There is also the risk that the same findings will be determined. 

Then of course there is researching the remedial program at the local public high school. Because the child is not eligible for special education services according to the district IEP, developing a good relationship with the counselors is imperative to success. 

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