Frequently Asked Questions

Top 10 Frequently Asked SPED Questions

1)   My child has a diagnosis from a private provider.  Doesn't that mean he/she should have an IEP?

A diagnosis of any disability does not automatically mean the student requires an IEP to access their public education.  The process is designed to be individualized so we need to determine if the impact of the disability is educationally substantial enough to qualify.  BVSD aligns with the Colorado Department of Education criteria for different disability categories.

2)  The school wants to develop a behavior plan for my child.  What is that?

Any student with a disability that has behaviors that adversely impact their access to education may have a Behavior Support Plan to address the identified behaviors.  The Behavior Plan is created after conducting a Functional Behavior Analysis (FBA).  The goal is to better understand the student's behavior to help them have better access to school, increase their ability to self-regulate and to be sure the adults working with the students are supporting positive behaviors.

3)  My child keeps getting suspended.  Can they do that for a child with an IEP?

Yes.  Any student can be suspended.  A student with and IEP can be suspended for up to 10 days in a school year and the district does not have to provide IEP services while they are suspended.  At or before 10 days, we hold a manifestation meeting to determine if the reasons for suspension are related to the identified disability.  At that meeting, the team may make changes to the IEP, the behavior plan and/or the student's school setting.  Students cannot be expelled if the behaviors leading to suspension(s) are a manifestation of the disability.

4)  My child would benefit from being in a private school, how do I get the district to place him/her there?

Parents have the right to enroll their child in any private school or to homeschool under Colorado education laws.  The district is not responsible for paying for a private school that parents made the choice to attend.  There are times when BVSD does place students at private schools but only after a thorough, documented attempt to provide FAPE (Free and Appropriate Public Education) at a BVSD school.  If the district places a student at a private school, they pay the tuition.

5)  What is the best school for my child with a disability in BVSD?

6)  I want to change my child's school--how do I do that?

BVSD is an open enrollment district.  This means that parents can apply for our annual lottery to have their student attend a BVSD school outside of their home school.  All BVSD schools have at least a "resource" level of special education supports and staff.  We also have Intensive Learning Centers (ILCs) at some schools which are a more restrictive education setting that requires an IEP team to recommend.  There is no best school.  What is best for your child is a family decision based on where you live, your family values and family priorities along with the open enrollment lottery system.

Besides the Open Enrollment (OE) system, parents can also request an Administrative Transfer (AT).  An AT is not a way to bypass the OE system.  The request can be made at any time.  The school principal has to have room at the grade-level and be able to provide the IEP services.  Our charter and focus schools usually do not accept AT requests.  The superintendent's office makes the final decision. 

7)  What do I do if I think the IEP is not being followed?

Parents have the right to request an IEP meeting or a parent-teacher meeting at any time if they have concerns or want to share new information about their child.  Parents should also be receiving regular progress reports (given at the same time as report cards) detailing the progress the student is making on their IEP goals.  Parents should contact the teacher and if needed, the school principal to share their concerns and request evidence of progress.

8)  What is the difference between an accommodation and a modification?

An accommodation is something that changes HOW a student does assignments or assessments such as having more time, using fidgets, having a test read to them, using a computer, etc.  The expectations for mastering the content are the same as for students without an IEP.  Accommodations can be provided through a 504 plan or as part of an IEP. 
A modification is a change in WHAT the student is doing.  It could be a simpler version of a test or using text that is at their skill level and not grade level.  Modifications are usually only provided to students who have intellectual or developmental disabilities that prevent them from being ready for grade-level work.

9)  My child is in 8th grade and the school wants to complete a transition plan.  What is that?

Transition goals are part of the IEP and need to be addressed before the child turn's 15 or the end of the 9th grade year.  Through interest inventories, parent input and student input, the IEP team determines goals needed in three areas:  post-secondary education/training, employment skills and independent living skills.  Students may have goals in 2-3 areas.  The goals help direct the high school course of study so that the student is well on their way to meeting their goals when they graduate or age-out of BVSD services. 

10)  Can students with IEPs go to the Career and Technical Education Center?

Yes, student with IEPs can attend a vocational training program at our CTEC program on Arapahoe Campus.  Students are required to have passed high school algebra and high school freshman language arts with a C or better.  Student accommodations will be met at CTEC but modifications are not.  Students who are ready for a 20-40 hour per week job can also access our School to Work Alliance Program (SWAP) for employment support.

Frequently Asked Question - Extended Activities

1) Will my child with a disability be able to do after school clubs with support?

Students with disabilities are absolutely welcome to participate in afterschool activities and sports.  Whether a student has a 504 or an IEP, they are protected from discrimination based on disability.  BVSD's policy for requesting accommodations or extra adult support includes the following:Student expresses a desire to participate in a school-sponsored, after-school club or sport.

The school (often the SPED case manager or Administrator) completes a document formally requesting the individualized support the student needs  in order to participate meaningfully in the extracurricular activity.  This request is submitted to the District 504 Coordinator.  
Upon approval, the school is able to ask an existing paraprofessional to work the additional hours to support the student.  The Paraprofessional is compensated for the hours.  
In the event that the school cannot secure a Paraprofessional to support the student, all efforts will be made to either ask a teacher or solicit support from a neighboring school.

2) My son wants to participate in track and I'm told they won't have someone to support him after school. Is this true?

See answer above.  The school is not obligated to alter the sport or activity in order to accommodate the student's disability.  The student must be able to "meaningfully participate", not just watch their peers if the district provides adult support. If the club sponsor or coach is not responsive, please contact the school's 504 coordinator, Principal or Special Education Case Manager

3) My child is in high school and I'm told that some courses cannot be considered because of his disability. Shouldn't she have access to any course if appropriate?

All courses can be considered for student enrollment. Some classes may require the successful completion of prerequisites for entry into that class. The completion of those prerequisites would also apply for students with disabilities. Please work with your special education case manager to determine a course of study that is appropriate and meaningful for your student.

4) My daughter is in fifth grade with a significant disability. Outdoor education is scheduled later this year. How do we plan for her unique needs so that she can access the trip?

When a school is planning a field trip, whether it is a day trip or overnight trips, the needs of all students will be taken into consideration.  This includes students with medical needs as well as other disabilities or impairments.  

If the school and parents determine that the student will need extra adult support in order to participate with his/her peers, the school will complete a request for that support and submit it to the District 504 Coordinator for approval.  If there are physical access issues (mobility limitations, etc.  it is recommended that the sponsor of the trip communicate with the facility to ensure accessibility for all participants.

5) My child was offered a spot in Summer Academy, however their disability often causes big behaviors. We were told IEPs are not implemented during Summer Academy,

Summer Academy is a tuition based enrichment activity that the school district offers for 5 weeks in the summer.  Students with significant behavioral, medical and/or communication needs have an equal opportunity to access the programming. However, the staff will not be working on IEP Goals or providing the types of supports that a student in Special Education receives during their normal school year.  The Administrators of Summer Academy will need to look at each case individually to see if an accommodation can be provided to support access to the programming.

6) Our family really needs our Kindergartner with autism to attend Kindergarten Enrichment to accommodate work schedules, however he usually needs significant adult supervision to remain safe. Can additional support be requested?

The Kindergarten Enrichment office meets with the family prior to enrollment when a student has significant needs to determine whether or not the student's individual needs can be  accommodated. If a child needs some targeted adult supervision or re-direction to access the programming, but can otherwise function independently and be safe, we can usually accommodate them. However, if the student needs significant adult supervision to keep themselves and others safe, we cannot hire additional staff or make significant changes to the program to accommodate the student's needs.

7) My child really struggles with change and transition and so the last field trip from school didn't go well. Now the school wants to discuss whether or not he should go on the next trip. What should we consider to help him attend with his peers?

The school is able to consider whether to request an additional adult to attend with a student based on their individual needs.  However, if the school has significant safety or behavioral concerns during a field trip, this should be discussed with parents. On rare occasions, additional adult support is not adequate to address safety concerns and the student is provided an alternative activity.