Transitional Programs on College Campuses or in the Community

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My daughter, 19, has Down syndrome. The district wants to keep her in high school. I do not feel it is appropriate. I have signed her up at a community college, paid for the courses and for a support person.

I need the district to do some evaluations (assistive technology, vocational, etc.) to help me move forward in designing a transition plan for her. The district refuses, stating she is no longer a student in the district. I disagreed. She is still a student of the district, but she does not attend the high school.

Does the school have the right to deny my daughter evaluations?

Questions that need to be answered.

  • Has your child previously had an IEP?
  • Does the school want to provide an IEP at the high school?
  • Can you prove that the program at the Community College is more appropriate?
  • If yes, what is your proof?

A quick tutorial:

1. In IDEA 2004, read 20 USC 1412(a) (1) and (3).

It makes it clear that all children with disabilities are entitled to FAPE (subsection 1) and to be “identified, located, and evaluated” (subsection 3).

(In Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, that section is at page 71-72.) (

2. Then, go through Section 1414, subsections a, b, c. Pay close attention to (c)(5)(A) and (B).

3. Next, you will also want to look at Regulation 300.102 (begins on page 204) about eligibility for services and when services end. Services end when a child graduates with a regular high school diploma, or ages out.

Using Part B Funds for Transitional Programs

You may be entitled to reimbursement, or have the cost of the community college program paid for by the school district.

See Footnote 86 on page 101 of Special Education Law ( relating to IEPs (1414(d)) which notes that

“Part B funds can be used for student ‘participation in transitional programs on college campuses or in community-based settings. . .”

See the Commentary in the Federal Register, page 46668.

For more on the Commentary, go to:

4. Sometimes state statutes may also provide guidance. Review your state statutes, guidelines, and special education regulations.

You will need to do some homework before you can lock it up.

Good luck.

  1. If the school district wants to keep her in high school, what are the possibilities that the school approve for her to take college classes and the district then will have to pay for the classes and books and any assistance she needs. Also, if AP classes are available in high school, she can take them and you can provide a tutor to get the extra help. If she passes the courses, then those are consider college credits. What do you think?

  2. What if a school district graduates your child before he is ready to go and no transition plan or no transitional program was offered to him? He then goes to college and flunks 2 classes, 1 D++ and 2 Cs. They pushed him out so they can up their graduation rate.

  3. My son with ADHD graduated from HS last year. He had an IEP but received little to no services, just accommodations each year. School said staffing was not available for higher level classes just consultative. He made no progress. We fought hard and he was given 1 hour/day X 5 days in his IEP to compensate. He received 0 minutes because of staffing again. I wrote letters. The case manager wrote that they were “aware that they were out of compliance with the IEP”, but since staff was not available they needed my signature to revise the minutes. I refused and formally complained. They dragged it out until he graduated and then said he was no longer a student, so they didn’t need to address it. He failed all classes last semester in college as he was unprepared and is now at the community college and struggling. Would this apply for him?

  4. Has your child graduated with a high school diploma yet? Has your child had an IEP previously while in high school? If your child has not graduated with a high school diploma, do you wish her to continue her education till she ages out at 21?
    Very interesting situation, I would like to follow this one for training for me. I have a 19 yr. old senior that will be eligible to graduate this yr. I feel the school district still owes her reading/math education and other transitioning skills/education & would like her to graduate with her class but have school district provide more ed services till 21.

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