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Bev:  My daughter attended public schools in elementary and part-way through middle school. She wanted to try homeschooling this past year, but wants to return to public school when she is to enter high school next fall. She is interested in a special career-focused magnet program offered by the public schools at a special voc-tech center, which would require the use of 2 elective periods each day.

I made a general inquiry today of a guidance counselor at one of the high schools she might attend (we would have to provide transportation from the high school to the special voc-tech program off campus) to make sure we could work this out. I already knew that because her IEP is for an SLD in one of the core subjects, she would need to take both the grade-level course in the subject area, plus a remedial, and that would then use up one of her elective periods.

I was told by the guidance counselor 1) that because she had an IEP in math, which would be reactivated when she returned to public schools, she would be REQUIRED to take a “Learning Strategies” class that the county’s high schools require of ALL students with an IEP. Requiring her to take this course would then eliminate one of her elective periods. Next, the guidance counselor said that since she had been in a home education program, they would automatically place her in a Reading class, since the county would not have any reading scores on her. That would eliminate another one of her electives. With these two requirements, it would mean that not only could my daughter not participate in the special off-campus magnet program which uses two electives, but my daughter also would not be able to participate in band class with her instrument, which is her passion.

Does anyone know if the school can mandate a special course for students with an IEP, and also if they can mandate she go into a reading class just because they don’t have current scores on her?

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Sharon L.

I have never been in this situation however I think that a reading assessment would let them know if she can go back in the classroom without the extra reading class. YOu can request that in writing. Perhaps the school can provide a tutor for the other class and then you would have the 2 elective sessions back. Also if all other students are transported to this voc school than your daughter should be transported also otherwise it is discrimination.


Those kinds of decisions are made by the entire IEP team, not by a guidance counselor. Are they saying that they don’t customize your child’s education? That’s what the I in IEP stands for. Ask them to explain that to you again in writing. I bet they’ll have a change of heart.


There is time NOW for the school district to work with you to obtain reading scores on her or you can have such done privately– but work with the district to see which measurements they want to see. Career focus magnet program sounds amazing. Ask to look at their learning strategies curriculum — does she or has she mastered the skills in that curriculum to meet the rigor at the school? If so, prove it to the school district with data and collaborate and advocate. Teach her to advocate for herself.