Thursday, April 29, 2010

End-of-the-School-Year Checklist for Parents

1. Review your child's IEP document
  • Is the IEP ready to be "in place" for the start of the next school year? Is it clearly documented and is the District ready to implement it?
  • Do you understand the program that will be in place or do you have questions? Now is a good time to ask questions about the program, as there will likely be limited availability of anyone who can answer your questions during the summer.
  • Have you signed the IEP to indicate consent and / or provided a written response?
* Note that because of scheduling difficulties over the summer, it may be easier to request an IEP meeting now if you have any concerns about your child's program for next year.

2. Meet with teacher(s)
  • Attend parent-teacher conferences or otherwise arrange for communication with your child's current teacher to get an update on your child.
  • If possible, and if next year's schedules are already known to the school / district, find out who will be your child's teacher next year. You may be able to communicate with them now more easily than during the summer if you want to speak with them in advance.
* This is a good time to ask the current teacher questions like "If you were getting my child as a student for the first time, what would you like to know about his/her needs?" This will be helpful information to share with next year's teacher.

3. Get an update on your child's progress
  • Make sure you have progress reports by the last reporting period of the school year (i.e. when grades come out). As applicable, obtain both a progress report on IEP goals and a report card with grades. Ask for data sheets if applicable.
  • Carefully review report cards, progress reports. Did you child make expected progress? Is he/she meeting his/her IEP objectives / making progress towards annual goals? Are his/her grades or anything on his/her report card a concern?
* If needed, request an IEP meeting now to discuss your child's progress, changed needs, or lack of expected progress so that the team can evaluate whether changes need to be made to the program for the following school year. The end of the year is a good time to reflect on "how did this program work?" and "what changes should we make?"

4. Organize records
  • Organize IEPs, assessments, correspondence, report cards, etc into a 3 ring binder so that all documents are easily accessible. (Click here for our tips on organization of school documents)
  • The end of the school year is a great time to make sure your child's records are organized. Update your binder or organizational systems with all of the documents from this school year, and go ahead and make a place for next school year's info now so you'll be ready in the fall.
* In some cases, the end of the year may be a good time to do a records request to the school district and obtain copies of your child's file.

5. Review information regarding ESY (Extended School Year)
  • Does the IEP offer ESY and if so, do you fully understand what is offered? (Read here for one school district's view on how ESY determinations are made)
  • Make sure you know when, where and what will be provided.
  • Are there any forms that you need to submit for enrollment for ESY?
  • Make sure you find out whether or not your child will be receiving related services (speech, OT, etc) during the summer, and how those will be scheduled. If you are going to opt out of the classroom / instructional portion of the District's ESY offer, ask whether the services will still be available.
* If ESY was not offered, decide if there is a dispute about this, and if you need to put the District on notice that you believe ESY is necessary. Contact a special education attorney or advocate if needed.

6. Sign up for summer activities
  • Don't forget that summer is also about fun and taking a break from school!
  • Find out what camps, sport and other activities are available in your community. ( has a directory of summer camp programs for kids, including a listing specific to kids with special needs)
  • If your child participates in school-year extra-curricular activities, like sports or clubs, make sure that you are aware of anything that carries over into the summer.
  • Research how to sign up for activities so that you can make sure your child will be able to participate. Get copies of any applicable policies and procedures, and find out about the time commitment and schedule.
  • Consider whether your child needs reinforcements, behavior support, or other supplementary aids or supports to participate.
* Help your child maintain continuity by gathering contact information for your child's school friends to use for play dates and activities during the summer.

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