What Questions Parents should ask when Visiting Special Education Private or Alternative Schools?
by Heidi Konkler-Goldsmith, Esq.
There are times when either the IEP team or the parent may feel that a special education private or alternative school is appropriate to meet a child’s needs. When visiting the proposed school, we advise parents to use the following questions as guidance to better determine whether the school can meet the child’s unique needs.
- Does the private school have any special education licensure?
- What areas of need does the private school address concerning children with disabilities? Are there any areas the private school specializes in as compared to other areas?
- What is the admission process and criteria?
- How many children per class? What is the Student/teacher ratio? Do the students in the same class have similar needs?
- How many classrooms does the school have per grade?
- What is the age range of children in the classroom?
- Are teachers certified? If so, in what?
- Who provides the following?:
- Occupational Therapy:
- Speech and Language:
- Social skills:
- Psychology services:
- Parent training:
- What training have their therapists received?
- Is a nurse always on site?
- What are the educational programs used for direct instruction in the following subjects and how are they provided, and how many times per week?:
- Written expression:
- How are students broken up during programs? How are they grouped in the classroom?
- How are IEPs handled? Does the school create a new one when a child starts attending the private school or do does it implement the IEP from the previous school?
- How are Behavior Intervention Plans developed and administered?
- Has the private school ever had to call the police? If so, how do you determine when to call them?
- What are the discipline procedures of the private school?
- How do they determine when a child is ready to return to the regular education setting?
- Preparing before your visit to the private school can better help the parent determine whether the school is a good educational fit for the child.