Moving to a New School

While many families are now faced with foreclosure, loss of jobs, loss of family member, or illness; relocating is a part of living. While I have also just moved I wanted to prepair my son and his peers for this transition. In this manner I have found out much more than just the medical records of shoots and transcript from former school to be used.

This is what I found;

1. Prepare. Before your move, gather all of your child’s records and keep them readily available. Request complete copies of medical records from your child’s doctors, any Regional Center or Social Security records or evaluations. Obtain all school records such as IEPs, assessments, report cards and standardized test scores. It is also helpful to have your child’s teacher write a letter to the new teacher explaining your child’s unique needs, current academic levels and successful education strategies.

2. Call ahead. Contact the special education director of the new school district before your move to determine options for placement and services and any special procedures for enrollment for your child. Send an email or short thank you note confirming this conversation.

3. Connect. Make sure you have the email address of your child’s most recent teachers and service providers. They may come in handy when the new school district has questions regarding how to place or educate your child. Consult a local parent advocate or advocacy group such Clark County Legal Services or Nevada PEP who may be able to provide important information regarding the new school district and the most appropriate placements.

4. Preserve. Many families place their child’s records in storage where they are quickly lost among the other items. Instead, buy a big plastic tub and use it to preserve all of the documents that you have gathered. You may want to use a different-colored tub for each child. Also include a few samples of your child’s class work and home work. Keep the tub with you so that it does not get lost during the move. Although the new school district is required to obtain school records directly from the old district, you cannot depend on them to provide a complete file.

5. Enroll. When you arrive at your new home, immediately enroll your child in the new school district and provide them with a copy of your child’s current IEP (individualized education plan). Don’t be shy about listing all of your child’s special needs in the enrollment forms so that the new district will be on notice of the areas that need to be addressed.

6. Attend IEP. Within 30 days after enrollment, the new district must comply with your child’s prior IEP or develop a new one. If you are concerned about placement or services, request (always in writing) that your child be reevaluated by the new school district.

7. Plan B. Always have a back-up plan. Anticipate that there will be bumps in the road in obtaining appropriate placement, assessments and supports. In view of the ever more stringent truancy laws (Clark County School District has a practice of sending uniformed truancy officers to the home and calling Child Protective Services), it is important to plan ahead in the event that your new school district does not have the appropriate placement or services for your child.

Ms. Adams is a special education attorney at the law firm of ADAMS ESQ with offices throughout California. ADAMS ESQ recently established a new location in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ms. Adams is the mother of two children with exceptional needs. For more information, contact ADAMS ESQ at 1-800-785-6713 or visit them on the web at:

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