Special Education Services

If your child has a disability or you suspect he or she may have a disability, you may request that the school system evaluate your child. An evaluation is conducted free of charge by the county. Special education law requires the child be evaluated in all areas of suspected disability.

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When the Bus Stops Coming . . . then what?

As parents of children who have IEPs, it feels like we are always thinking about what’s next—next IEP, next placement, next school, next teacher/team. . . . But do we think about those nexts without thinking about the bigger NEXT. What happens at age 18 or 21, when the bus stops coming? Is there life after…

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Preparing for the Annual IEP: Parent Tips

It’s spring and it’s the magical time of year when many of us have IEP meetings. Even if an annual IEP isn’t scheduled, many times there are spring meetings to plan for the next school year. Most of us focus on the IEP goals and objectives at these meetings, but what about all those other…

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Middle School–Tips for the Transition

The tender ages of 11 to 13 may seem anything but tender, especially at the beginning of the school year. Instead, the middle school child is an unstable mixture of tantrums and drama, anxiety of embarrassment, and contradictions of wanting Mom and Dad nearby yet resisting help/support/interest of any degree. These are the joys of…

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Five-Day Rule

Maryland law (HB 596) requires school personnel to provide parents with an accessible copy of each assessment, report, data chart, draft Individualized Education Program (IEP), or other document(s) the IEP team or other multidisciplinary education team plans to discuss at that meeting at least five (5) business days before the scheduled meeting. It also requires…

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“Just a Bad Day” or Undocumented Suspension?

There are many reasons why students are sent home. The purpose of this article is not to debate when an incident is ‘send-home’ worthy or ‘suspension’ worthy. Rather, it is to explain why send-homes without proper documentation are actually against school policy and why parents who race to pick up their children every time the…

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HCPSS Behavior Specialists

Each Howard County public school is assigned a behavior specialist. In order to access the behavior specialist, the special education team leader (or instructional team leader) at your school should contact the school’s assigned instructional facilitator at the Department of Special Education to arrange for a consult. Parents are encouraged to discuss behavioral issues and…

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Maryland Accommodations Manual

The Maryland Accommodations Manual is the guide to select, administer and evaluate the use of Accommodations for the Instruction and Assessment of Students with Disabilities. It is available in PDF on the Maryland State Department of Education website. Click here.

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Overview of High Stakes Testing

With ever-increasing pressure on school systems to improve educational results, high stakes testing is a particularly important and controversial issue. In many school districts and states, mandated tests measure student performance and hold individual schools accountable for that performance.

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