Moving can be hectic in and of itself. When it involves moving schools, especially with a child who has an IEP additional stress can be added. By planning ahead some of the stress can be alleviated.
Moving Within the District:
Since you are moving within the same district, your child’s current IEP will be accepted by the new school. As soon as you know the date you plan to enroll your child in the new school, you can ask that a coordination of services meeting be scheduled with the new school and that they invite any relevant persons from your child’s current school to attend. Their input along with yours can help facilitate a smooth transition into the new school.
Moving Within the State Within the Same School Year:
Start out by making sure your child’s IEP is current. If it is not or if you have any changes you would like made, request an IEP meeting. If your child is due for their triennial evaluation ask that your child’s current school conduct it well in advance of your move date (if possible) so that you can have current evaluations to take with you to the new school district. Ask if your child’s teachers will write a letter stating your child’s strengths, weaknesses, and what strategies have worked in their classroom for your child.
As soon as you know a firm moving date, contact the new school and ask that they forward you the necessary releases so that they can get copies of your child’s school file in advance of the move. Ask that they provide you with their district guidelines and policies for special education services. If you are unsure of the way the new district operates you can contact the local Parent Training and Information Center for help or work with a local advocate to help you get through the initial process.
Schedule a meeting to go over your child’s current IEP either before the move or soon after the move. By law the new school must provide services comparable to your child’s current IEP until it decides to adopt the IEP or perform their own evaluation and develop a new IEP. If they decide to evaluate your child it must be done “as expeditiously as possible, to ensure prompt completion of full evaluations.”
Moving to a New State Within the Same School Year:
In addition to the recommendations in the section above, contact the new state’s education agency and ask that they provide you with copies of that state’s laws and guidelines for special education.
The new state must provide services comparable to your child’s current IEP until they evaluate your child, determine eligibility, and develop a new IEP. Again the evaluation must be done “as expeditiously as possible to ensure prompt completion of full evaluations.”
As with your current school district, you are afforded the same procedural safeguards with the new school district, including the right to an IEE, if you disagree with their evaluation, and the right to due process.
Transmittal of Records:
The new school must “take reasonable steps to promptly obtain the child’s records” from the previous school. The previous school must “take reasonable steps to promptly respond to such a request from the new school.”