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Back to School in Special Education – What Families & Students Should Know

The DC Special Education Hub (SpEd Hub) – With another academic year fast approaching, families and students face the task of adapting to new routines. This can be particularly challenging for students with disabilities. It’s important to remember that students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) need to have their plan implemented from Day One, and related services must commence within 14 days. To ensure a smooth transition, we’ve compiled a handy checklist to ease your child’s and your shift into the new school year! 

  1. Organize all necessary paperwork – Ensure you have IEPs, 504 Plans, medical records, and other essential documents ready for easy access and sharing. 
  2. Ensure all necessary vaccinations are up-to-date – Click HERE for current vaccine requirements for DCPS and DC Public Charter students. 
  3. Access your PowerSchool Special Programs account – Regularly review your child’s IEP and associated documentation for clarity and completeness. 
  4. Review your child’s current IEP or 504 plan – The start of the school year is the perfect time to reassess and make necessary modifications to support their academic journey. 
  5. Purchase and organize school supplies – Remember, the right tools tailored to your child’s needs can make all the difference in their learning experience. 
  6. Initiate a communication log with the school – Stay informed and proactive. Check out this example to understand the structure and advantages of maintaining a communication log. 
  7. Alleviate beginning-of-school anxieties – Engage in activities like watching calming yoga videos or repeating affirmation statements to ensure your child begins the year with confidence and positivity. 
  8. Maintain communication with your support network – Your child’s success is a community effort. Regularly update friends, family, and advocates on school progress and activities. 
  9. Engage in school events – Be an active member of the school community. For upcoming events and giveaways, click HERE
  10. Stay engaged with SpEd Hub! – We’re here as a continuous resource and support throughout the academic year. 

The new school year journey can be easier with adequate support. The DC Special Education Hub (SpEd Hub) is here to empower families and inform them about special education in the District.  SpEd Hub can connect families with the tools, information, and support needed to make informed decisions for their child’s education. For assistance, please don’t hesitate to call us at (202) 671-2890 or email us at specialeducation@dc.gov. 

As we look forward to the 2023-2024 school year, we’re excited about the learning opportunities and unforgettable experiences awaiting our students. Together, we’ll make it another year of successful learning and rich memories within our school community. 


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