Friday, May 1, 2009

So what is a NPS anyways?

A Non-Public School ("NPS") is a privately operated, publicly funded school that specializes in providing educational services for students with needs so exceptional they cannot be met in a public school setting. (

Can my child go to a NPS?

The decision to place a child in a NPS is an IEP team decision. In making a placement determination, the local education agency ("LEA") must ensure that a continuum of program options is available to meet the needs of your child. Thus, when a school district is making its offer to your child, it must consider all or any combination of the following:
  • Regular Education
  • Resource Specialist Program ("RSP")
  • Designated Instruction and Services ("DIS")
  • Special Day Classes ("SDC")
  • Nonpublic, nonsectarian school ("NPS")
  • State Special schools
  • Instruction in other settings
  • Itinerant instruction
  • Instruction using telecommunication and instruction in the home, in hospitals and in other institutions
A NPS must be made available to your child if no appropriate public education program is available. ( Education Code section 56365). When an appropriate public education program is not available and a NPS program exists that is appropriate for your child, then the district, SELPA or county office must pay the full amount of the tuition.

Once your child is enrolled in a NPS, that NPS must provide all services specified in the IEP, unless the NPS and LEA agree otherwise.

NPS & the least restrictive environment ("LRE")

A frequently used phrase in special education is least restrictive environment.

Under the IDEIA, LRE is: "to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities . . . are educated with children who are not disabled, and . . . removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability of a child is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily." 20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(5)(A).

Because NPS placement generally means that your child will not be educated with non-disabled peers, the IEP team should take into consideration your child's right to be educated in the LRE before placing him/her in a NPS. In accordance with the IDEIA and LRE, a NPS is appropriate if even with the use of supplementary aides and services, the student will not be able to access an educational benefit in the regular education environment.

Therefore, if you are at an IEP meeting and placement options are being discussed, and the resource, SDC and other supplementary aides/services available within the District are not appropriate to meet your child's unique needs and provide him/her with an educational benefit, then the appropriateness of a NPS should be discussed.

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