Graduation: IEP STUDENT LACKS CREDITS, CONTINUATION SCHOOL NOT AN OPTION

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Ema:  My son who has an IEP and is a senior is behind schedule to graduate. He failed a few classes, but has been trying hard to make them up after school. He is frustrated cause his goal is to graduate on time, but when he met with his counselor he was told he would not graduate cause he still was missing some credits. He was told by his counselor that he had no other options of trying to catch up expect to comeback the following year. My son who is 17 was very upset. I immediately emailed his counselor and ask for an IEP. After some research I had found that the school district does have continuation schools in the area, but the counselor said it was not an option for my son. I am confused cause from what I know of continuation school they are for students who lack credits to graduate. My son was hoping he would attend the school so he could make up the credits he needed in time for him to graduate this school year. Is the reason he can not attend this school is because he has an IEP?

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Heather

You really have to know the details of his IEP and graduation track. Both are available to you any time you request them. Study the IDEA https://sites.ed.gov/idea/ because this will be the key to getting you and your son’s voice heard. The squeaky wheel gets the grease!!!!

Ema, I wasn’t familiar with “continuation schools” so turned to Google: “Continuation education is an alternative high school diploma program … for students who are 16 years of age or older, have not graduated from high school, are still required to attend school, and who are at risk of not graduating. Many students in continuation education are behind in high school credits. Others may need a flexible school schedule because they have jobs outside of school. Some students choose continuation education because of family needs or other circumstances.”

From the info you provided, this seems to describe your son.

I don’t know why the counselor refused your request but doubt it’s because he has an IEP. Here is a description of these schools from the CA DOE: http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/eo/ce/

Some education experts have concerns about whether continuation schools work as intended: http://hechingerreport.org/theres-no-good-way-to-know-how-californias-alternative-schools-are-working/

Write a LETTER to people familiar with your son – special ed case manager, school psychologist, social worker, special ed teacher, director of special ed, counselor, etc – NO EMAIL. Describe your son’s situation, what you requested, what you were told by the counselor. Share your concerns that your son is discouraged because no options and is at risk for dropping out. Add info about your understanding of the purpose of continuation education and that you are requesting that he be allowed to attend so he can graduate from HS.

Another option is to request an IEP meeting; ask your son’s IEP team to facilitate placement at a continuation school.

Keep us posted on your progress.