Out of District Placements
Special education is a service but not automatically a placement. If your child has qualified for special education services, where your child will receive those services must still be determined, and there are a number of placement options to consider for your school-age child.
The Individualized Education Program (IEP) team – which includes you, the parent – will decide which placement or placements are appropriate based on your child’s specific strengths and needs.
When considering an educational placement, the IEP team must decide what is the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) where the student can make progress towards the IEP goals. In making the placement decision, the team should consider the most inclusive setting first and progress to consider more restrictive environments as needed. It is important to remember that an educational placement can change over time.
Sometimes the appropriate educational placement for a student does not exist within the child’s home community. The child’s home district may not have the appropriate classroom or staff to meet the child’s needs. In this case, the IEP team may decide that a public school in a neighboring town or county is most appropriate. An out of district placement allows the child to attend a public school where children without disabilities attend, but which has the supports and staff the child needs.
Some specialized schools are known as “Approved Private Schools” or “APS.” An APS is a private school that is licensed by the state and which has been given special status by the state to educate children, who, by the nature of their disabilities, cannot be appropriately served in public school special education programs. Approved Private schools specialize in providing special education supports and services for students with severe disabilities in a highly structured and restrictive environment. School IEP teams determine eligibility of a referral for a student to possibly attend an out of district school.