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Information for Applicants on Services for Students with Disabilities at LCCPS

Students with Disabilities in Charter Schools:

Notice of Rights to Access and Equity of Educational Services

 

Dear Parent: This document explains the educational rights of students with disabilities to attend Massachusetts charter schools and to receive appropriate special education services in those charter schools. Both federal and state law requires that admission to a charter school be conducted without regard to or consideration of whether the child has a disability, and so charter schools are open to all students, whether or not they are eligible to receive special education services. Charter schools must provide special education services, up to the limits specified under the state charter school law, to all eligible students. This is a summary of your student’s rights to attend and receive needed services from his or her charter school.

  • Charter schools accept and serve students with disabilities.

Charter schools are open to all grade-eligible students within the school’s service area on a space available basis. If more students apply than there are available spaces, a lottery is held to randomly determine who will be admitted. All students who wish to attend a charter school have an equal chance of getting in regardless of, and without any consideration of, any need for special education services.

See: M.G.L. c. 71 §89 (l) states that charter schools shall be open to all students, on a space available basis, and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, creed, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, mental or physical disability, age, ancestry, athletic performance, special need, or proficiency in the English language or a foreign language, and academic achievement. (Emphasis added)

  • Charter schools must ensure that your student receives special education services if the student has been determined to be an eligible student with a disability by the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team.

Charter schools must ensure that students with disabilities receive the special education services to which they are entitled. The services may consist of special education instruction and related services in the least restrictive environment, or consist only of related services needed to access the general education curriculum. The amount and location of services (where services will be delivered) is determined by the student’s IEP team and is documented in the student’s IEP. As determined by your student’s IEP team, your charter school will provide services in a placement that is:

  • Full inclusion- the student is in the general education classroom for 80%-100% of the school day; or
  • Partial inclusion- the student is in the general education classroom 40-80% of the school day; or
  • Substantially separate- the student is out of the general education classroom more than 60% of the school day.
  • Your student must receive related services if the IEP team determines the student needs them.

Charter schools must provide related services to students with disabilities if the IEP team determines that the services are necessary for the student to benefit from special education or, if the student does not require special education instruction, that the related services are necessary to ensure the student’s access to the general education curriculum. Examples of these services include: speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychological counseling, and/or adjustment counseling.

  • Charter schools are required to meet the needs of qualified students with disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, even if the student is not eligible as a student with disabilities under federal and state special education laws.

Charter schools are required to provide a free appropriate public education to qualified students with disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. Such education consists of general education accommodations and related aids and services designed to meet the individual educational needs of students with disabilities as adequately as the needs of students without disabilities are met. An appropriate education for a student with a disability under Section 504 regulations could consist of education in general education classrooms with accommodations, education in general education classes with supplementary services, and/or related services. Schools would include these services in a “504 Plan.”  

  • For students who may require special education services that are beyond what the charter school is required to provide, an IEP team meeting will be convened to arrange for provision of needed services.

If the IEP team convened by the charter school believes that your student may require a full-time day or residential special education program, the charter school will convene a separate placement meeting to determine the appropriate placement. You will be invited to the meeting, as will the school district of the town where you reside. When the meeting occurs, the placement team must first consider whether the school district of residence has an in-district program that is able to provide the services that are recommended by the IEP team, either alone or as a supplement to services available at the charter school. If there is such in-district programming available, the placement team must propose an in-district program to the parent (which may be delivered in the charter school itself, through a program located in the school district of residence or a combination of both), the student will remain enrolled in the charter school, and the charter school retains programmatic and financial responsibility for the student. Please note that the charter school has full discretion over where it will propose to deliver any in-district programming, and is not required to contract with the school district of residence for service delivery unless the charter school chooses to do so.

If the placement team, including the school district of residence, agrees that the student cannot be served in-district, then the placement team shall determine that the student requires an out-of-district placement, in which case the student’s enrollment and responsibility for the student’s special education program reverts to the school district of residence.

Because enrollment at the charter school is always voluntary on the part of the parent, the parent may elect to disenroll from the charter school and enroll, instead, back at the school district of residence or another school for any reason and at any time. However, the charter school may not require the parent to disenroll as a condition for receiving any service, except when the student’s special education placement has been determined, as above, to be an out-of-district program.

See: Technical Assistance Advisory SPED 2014-5: Charter School Responsibilities for Students with Disabilities Who May Need an Out-of-District Program - 603 CMR 28.10(6)

http://www.doe.mass.edu/sped/advisories/2014-5ta.html

Relevant Laws and Regulations

Charter School Statute: G.L. c. 71 §89

Charter School Regulations: 603 C.M.R. §1.00

Massachusetts Special Education Law: G.L. c.71B

Massachusetts Special Education Regulations: 603 C.M.R. §28.00

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 USC 1400 et seq; and 34 CFR Part 300

 

If you have any questions, please contact the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Office of Charter Schools and School Redesign (phone: 781-338-3227; email: charterschools@doe.mass.edu) or Office of Special Education Planning and Policy Development (phone: 781-338-3375; email: specialeducation@doe.mass.edu).

For additional information regarding special education and the rights of parents and students, please refer to the following:

 

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Information for Applicants on ELL Services at LCCPS

English Language Learners in Charter Schools:

Notice of Rights to Access and Equity of Educational Services


Dear Parent:
This document explains the rights of children who are English language learners to attend and receive language support and other services in Massachusetts public charter schools. As defined in state law, an English language learner is a student who does not speak English, or whose native language is not English, and who is not able to do ordinary classroom work in English. This includes students who, without language support services, would have trouble understanding lessons in school, or completing work in school because they are still learning English. In this document, an English language learner will be referred to as an “ELL.” Charter schools must accept and enroll ELLs admitted through the lottery who wish to attend the school. The school must provide direct instruction to help ELLs learn the English language, and subject matter instruction (for example, science or history) that is presented in English using strategies that help the student better understand the content. Full and equal access to the programs and services offered at the school must be made available to ELLs. This is a summary of your child’s rights to attend and receive language support and other services from his or her charter school.

  • Can my student who is an ELL go to a charter school?

Yes. Charter schools are open to all students within the school’s service area, on a space available basis. If more students apply than there are available spaces, a lottery is held to choose who will be admitted in a fair way. All students who wish to attend a charter school have an equal chance of getting in and have an equal right to attend.

See: M.G.L. c. 71 §89 (l) states that charter schools shall be open to all students, on a space available basis, and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, creed, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, mental or physical disability, age, ancestry, athletic performance, special need, or proficiency in the English language or a foreign language, and academic achievement. (Emphasis added)

  • What if I don’t want language support services for my student?

If you reject language support services for your student, the school still has to make sure that your student has “meaningful access” to the curriculum and can effectively participate in the classroom work. Your student should be placed with a classroom teacher who holds a Sheltered English Immersion Endorsement or an English as a Second Language license, which means that the teacher has had training on the language needs of ELLs. The charter school has the continued responsibility to monitor your student’s progress as an ELL. If it appears that he or she is unable to participate effectively and meaningfully in his classroom, the school must reconsider the instruction that it provides.

Upon identifying a student as an English learner, the charter school will provide the parent or guardian with its ELL policies and all needed forms in a language that they can understand.

  • My student will need help learning English. What language support services will be made available at a charter school?

Students in charter schools must have access to the same services they would receive if they were in any other Massachusetts public school. If your student is admitted to a charter school, you should expect that the school will conduct a home-language survey and test your student to determine if he or she needs language support services. If language support services are needed, the school must provide them.

Under Massachusetts law, students who are identified as ELLs are generally provided a sheltered English immersion (SEI) program and receive English as a second language instruction (ESL). This requirement applies to all public schools including charter schools, regardless of the number of ELLs enrolled at the school. ELL programs must have two components:

  • Sheltered English immersion. Sheltered English immersion includes teaching in a way that will make the content of lessons more understandable, and using ways of teaching that will help the student learn the English language. Sheltered English immersion classes must be taught by specially trained teachers, and must address the same curriculum as the other students receive.
  • English as a second language (ESL) instruction. ESL instruction provides specific, direct instruction in the English language that is delivered by a licensed ESL teacher. ESL is meant to teach students English language, grammar, vocabulary and usage, and includes instruction in speaking, listening, reading, and writing at a level the student can understand. Students of different ages and language groups may be included in the same ESL classroom. The hours of ESL instruction provided to your student will depend on how well your student speaks, listens (understands spoken English), reads, and writes English. For more information please see the “Transitional Guidance on Identification, Assessment, Placement, and Reclassification of English Language Learners” found here: http://www.doe.mass.edu/ell/resources.html
  • What other programs and services might my student receive if he or she attends a charter school?

As in every public school in Massachusetts, ELL students must be given full and equal access to the programs and services of the school. Information and notices to ELLs and their parents must be provided in a language they can understand

  • ELLs must receive supports such as guidance and counseling, in a language they can understand.
  • ELLs must not be separated from students who are not ELL students except when necessary in order to provide their English learning program.
  • ELLs must be allowed to participate fully in all academic courses.
  • ELLs must be taught to the same academic standards and curriculum as other students.
  • ELLs must have equal access to all programs and services at the school including Title I, Section 504 disability accommodations, and special education, and all clubs, student organizations, activities and sports teams.

 

Relevant Laws and Regulations:

Charter School Statute: G.L. c. 71 §89

Charter School Regulations: 603 C.M.R. §1.00

Massachusetts law-- English Language Education in Public Schools: G.L. c.71A

Massachusetts Education of English Learners Regulations: 603 CMR 14.00

Federal Civil Rights Law: Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Federal Civil Rights law:  Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974

Federal law: ESEA/ NCLB: the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 Governs elementary and secondary education. NCLB is available as Public Law 107-110 Title III — Language Instruction for Limited English Proficient and Immigrant Students: PART A: 'English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement Act'


If you have any questions, please contact the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Office of Charter Schools and School Redesign (phone: 781-338-3227; email: charterschools@doe.mass.edu) or Office of English Language Acquisition and Academic Achievement (phone : 781-338-3584; email: ell@doe.mass.edu).

For additional information regarding ELL education and the rights of parents and students, please refer to the following:

 

Click Here to Read this Information in Spanish - En Español

Click Here To Read this Information In Portuguese - Em Português