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Tips for a Successful School Transition

  • Develop a Planning Time Line

    • In general, a good time to begin planning for a move to a new school is 6 months before your child’s next Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Accommodation Plan meeting. If your child has complex special needs, you may want to start earlier.
  • Learn About the New School

    • Make an appointment to observe classes while they are in session.
    • Take special notice of accessibility and safety.
    • Request a copy of the student handbook, course offerings, graduation requirements, and activities schedule.
  • Develop an IEP or 504 Accommodation Plan

    • Request that a representative from your child’s new school be invited to the final IEP/504 meeting at your child’s current school.
    • When developing a transition plan to a new school, make sure all your areas of concern are addressed, such as:
      • Accommodations so your child can participate in extracurricular activities.
      • Steps to support your child’s social interaction.
      • Attendance and discipline policies.
      • Consideration of your child’s interests, strengths, and future plans when selecting classes and activities.
      • Access to the cafeteria, library, restroom, or locker room.
      • Transportation needs.
      • Graduation requirements.
  • Promote Self-Advocacy

    • Encourage your child to participate in the IEP/504 meetings.
    • Support them as they start to make their own decisions and encourage them to communicate their needs.
  • Prepare Your Child for the Move

    • Introduce your child to the new school:
      • Attend school sporting events or activities as a family. Give your child a shirt or sweatshirt with the school logo tp help build a feeling of belonging to the school community.
      • Talk with your child about the new school and find out if he or she has any concerns. This will help to reduce any anxiety your son or daughter may have.
      • Arrange a school visit or attend an orientation and locate places, such as the restrooms, cafeteria, and library. Scout out the best routes between classrooms and practice using the lockers.