Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

Question

I am moving to Fairfax County with a child who receives special education services.  Which school would be best for my child?

Answer

All Fairfax County public schools share the mission of educating every child.  To accomplish this, each school offers a variety of programs and services to meet the needs of the diverse population of students it serves.  Students with disabilities, along with their typically developing peers, usually attend their neighborhood school.  In the event that your child has educational needs that cannot be met at your base school, you and the other members of your child’s IEP team can consider placing your child in a different Fairfax County public school that has a program that does meet your child’s needs. 

You can review school profiles by going to http://commweb.fcps.edu/schoolprofile/.  Families moving to Fairfax County who are considering different neighborhoods and schools can access information on school boundaries and information to consider when choosing a school, by going to http://boundary.fcps.edu/boundary/.  The Parent Resource Center has additional information that will be helpful to families new to Fairfax County Public Schools.

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Question

Is there a resource that can help me understand the Special Education acronyms?

Answer

Yes!  The acronyms are posted on the Parent Resource Center Quick Links webpage at http://www.fcps.edu/cco/prc/documents/Acronymns.pdf.

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Question

Where can I find resources to help me better understand the IEP process?

Answer

The FCPS Parent Resource Center has a wealth of resources to help parents better understand the IEP process.Visit the PRC library to check out one or more of the many publications on IEPs. You can find out what resources the PRC has on IEPs by searching its library catalogue at http://www.fcps.edu/cco/prc/resources/library.shtml.  Also, be sure to visit the Virginia Department of Education’s webpage on IEPs & Instructional Services at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/special_ed/iep_instruct_svcs/index.shtml.  The Virginia Department of Education’s Parent’s Guide to Special Education is another valuable resource to help you understand the IEP process.

If you are new to Special Education, you may want to attend The Parent Resource Center’s free Introduction to Special Education Workshop.  For dates and details on the workshop, visit http://www.fcps.edu/cco/prc/resources/events/index.shtml

Please contact your child’s teacher or case manager if you have questions about your child’s IEP.  You should speak with someone who is familiar with both your child and your child’s IEP.  You can also contact the Procedural Support Liaison (PSL) for your child’s school.  You can locate the PSL for your child’s school at

http://www.fcps.edu/dss/seps/index.shtml

If you would like general information about IEPs or special education, please stop by the Parent Resource Center, call the PRC at 703-204-3941 or email us at prc@fcps.edu.  The PRC is located in the Dunn Loring Center for Parent Services at 2334 Gallows Road, Room 105, and is open Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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Question

My child needs behavior supports.  Will this be discussed at the IEP?

Answer

Yes.  If your child needs behavior supports, you and the other members of the IEP team will discuss this at the IEP meeting.  The type of behavior supports your child needs will be determined by the IEP team.  FCPS staff members have expertise in conducting functional behavioral assessments to determine the need for and content of behavior intervention plans.  To learn more about what you can do as a parent to promote and support positive behavior, visit The FCPS Parent Resource Center. For information about FCPS Behavior Intervention Services visit their website at http://www.fcps.edu/dss/sei/bis/index.shtml

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Question

I am concerned about my child passing the SOLs.  How will this be addressed at the IEP meeting?

Answer

During the IEP meeting, you and the other members of the IEP team will discuss a wide variety of accommodations that your child may need when taking tests, including the SOLs.  If the IEP team determines that your child needs accommodations, the specific accommodations needed, will be listed in his or her IEP.  The majority of students with disabilities take the SOLs, many with accommodations.  Certain students with disabilities, however, are eligible to take other assessments in Virginia.  You and the other members of the IEP team may discuss if your child is eligible to take these alternative assessments.  For information on alternative assessments refer to the Virginia Department of Education’s website at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/alternative_assessments/index.shtml and the FCPS Assessment Information website at http://www.fcps.edu/dss/sei/assessment/index.shtml

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Question

If my child has an IEP or a 504 Plan in place can they still qualify for the Advanced Academics Program?

Answer

Yes!  FCPS is committed to providing challenging learning experiences for all students that build on individual strengths and optimize academic potential.  In order to meet the needs and develop the potential of advanced learners, FCPS provides a continuum of advanced academic services including school based services in every elementary school, advanced academic center based programs for those students in grades 3-8 who need a full-time advanced program, an honors program in each middle school, and high school programs that include AP and IB college level courses.  There are students with disabilities in all of these advanced academic programs, including the full-time advanced academic centers.  For more information on the Advanced Academics Program, please review their homepage at http://www.fcps.edu/is/aap/index.shtml.

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Question

Will my child still have an IEP in college?

Answer

No. Your child will not have an IEP in college, but he or she may still need and be entitled to accommodations and support under the Americans with Disabilities Act or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.  In addition, some colleges offer specific programs designed to support students with disabilities. 

For information to help your child prepare for college and learn about what supports may be available, please visit FCPS Career and Transition Services at http://www.fcps.edu/dss/sei/careertransition/index.shtml and the Parent Resource Center’s webpage at http://www.fcps.edu/cco/prc/. For more extensive information on the transition to life after high school, please refer to the Parent Resource Center’s Transition Resource Guide.

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Question

Where can I find additional information about 504 Plans?

Answer

Sometimes a student with a disability needs accommodations to access school programs and activities, but does not require special education.  In such cases, the child may qualify for a 504 Plan rather than an IEP.  A 504 Plan specifies which accommodations a student with a disability needs to access school programs and activities.  Read the FCPS 504 Fact Sheet at http://www.fcps.edu/dss/sei/504/504%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf, or the FCPS Section 504 Procedures Manual at

http://www.fcps.edu/dss/seps/dueprocess-eligibility/504manual.pdf.

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Question

Will my child still have a 504 Plan in college?

Answer

Yes, if your child provides sufficient documentation that he or she still needs one.  Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 applies to institutions that receive federal funding, including colleges.  If your child with a disability needs accommodations to have an equal opportunity to access a college’s programs and activities, then the college is mandated to provide a 504 Plan for your child.  Your child will need to provide documentation specified by the college to establish his or her continued need for a 504 Plan.  According to the U.S. Department of Education, an IEP or Section 504 Plan from high school will generally not be sufficient documentation for a college to provide accommodations but may help identify services that have been effective for your child. 

To learn more about the rights and responsibilities of college students with disabilities, read the U.S. Department of Education’s pamphlet at http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/transition.html. For extensive information about college planning for students with disabilities, visit FCPS Career and Transition Services at  http://www.fcps.edu/dss/sei/careertransition/index.shtml and refer to the Parent Resource Center webpage on college planning at http://www.fcps.edu/cco/prc/resources/additional/special_needs.shtml#College.

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Question

 I am a resident in Fairfax County. My child attends private school. Can he receive special education services through FCPS?

Answer

Federal and state special education laws include language that specifies what a public school district's responsibility is for providing services to students with disabilities who are enrolled by their parents in private schools. Local school districts must spend a proportionate share of their federal special education funds on providing services to eligible students in private schools. This amount is determined by the number of private school students who require special education services in proportion to the overall number of special education students enrolled in the local school district. However, federal and state regulations do not require the same amount of services for parentally enrolled private school children with disabilities as for children with disabilities in public schools.

Fairfax County Public Schools accepts referrals to determine eligibility for special education services for children suspected of having disabilities who attend private schools. The parent of a private school child should contact the principal at the school the child would normally attend, according to the home address, to discuss the reason(s) for referral. Parents can do this through a letter or by asking the school for a Multi-Purpose Referral Form, filling it out, and returning it to the school. Within 10 business days of receipt of the referral, the school will hold a Local Screening Committee Meeting to determine if testing is warranted. Parents have the right to appeal any decision regarding eligibility with which they disagree. If the school agrees to test the child, they have 65 business days from the date of the referral to complete the testing and present it to an eligibility committee. If the child is found eligible, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is developed for the student that offers the appropriate special education program and related services to meet the student's needs to ensure that a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) is made available. The special education services offered in the IEP are available if the parent(s) choose(s) to enroll the student in the public school.

If the parent elects for the student to attend a private school, Fairfax County Public Schools may develop an Individual Service Plan (ISP) rather than an IEP. The local school district determines the type and amount of services that it will offer. Each year, the parents of children receiving services through the Individual Service Plan will be contacted by the district to determine if the parent wishes to enroll the child in the district to receive the special education program and services offered in the IEP. If not, the ISP will continue, if appropriate. The child will be reevaluated every three years to determine if he or she continues to be eligible for special education services.

The regulations specify that the due process procedures of IDEA apply to child find, including evaluations, for private school students with disabilities, but do not apply to any other provisions of the law, including services.

For the regulations governing special education programs for children with disabilities in Virginia, visit http://www.doe.virginia.gov/special_ed/regulations/state/regs_speced_disability_va.pdf .  Additional information for children enrolled in private schools can be found at http://nichcy.org/laws/idea/legacy/module16

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Resources

Parent Resource Center

Monday - Friday, 8:00am - 4:00pm

Dunn Loring Center for Parent Services
2334 Gallows Road, Rm 105
Dunn Loring, Virginia 22027

prc@fcps.edu

English: 703-204-3941
EspaƱol: 703-204-3955

Promoting parent participation in the education of students with special needs.

 

 

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Webpage Curator

Gail Holloman
AGHolloman@fcps.edu

Last Updated

September 30, 2013