Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
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Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care



Family Services of Metro Orlando created an innovative partnership in 2004 with Orange County public schools on promoting enhanced coordination and education attainment for foster care youth.

Family Services of Metro Orlando created an innovative partnership in 2004 with Orange County public schools on promoting enhanced coordination and education attainment for foster care youth.



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Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care Document Transcript

  • A Manual for Foster Parents & Case Managers in Orange & Osceola Counties
  • This reference manual was made possible by Family Services of Metro Orlando, incollaboration with Intervention Services, Inc., Orange County Public Schools and theSchool District of Osceola County. Data and information has also been obtained from theDepartment of Children and Families.Broward County Public Schools‟ technical assistance manual, Fostering Student Success,provided the framework for its development.A significant amount of information included in this manual came from the OrangeCounty Public School System‟s website: resources and publications including a Parent Guide can be downloaded.We extend a special thank you to the members of the Family Services of Metro OrlandoEducation and Mentoring Subcommittee who have been integral in creating this manual.Please note that this manual is intended for use as a general reference source for casemanagers and foster/adoptive parents. It is not meant to provide legal opinions oradvice and is not a substitute for the advice of counsel. 2
  • July 12, 2010To our Community Partners and Advocates:On behalf of Family Services of Metro Orlando, I am pleased to announce the second edition ofthe Achieving Educational Success: A Manual for Foster Parents and Case Managers in Orangeand Osceola County. We are pleased to incorporate educational information specific to OsceolaCounty into the manual this year. This manual is an example of the exciting collaboration thathas been taking place between organizations such as Family Services of Metro Orlando,Intervention Services, Inc., Orange County Public Schools, the School District of Osceola Countyand the Florida Department of Children and Families. The first edition of this manual was madepossible through the members of the Family Services of Metro Orlando Education and MentoringSubcommittee. This Subcommittee along with the Osceola Education Subcommittee helpedreview the second edition of the manual. The agencies represented on these subcommitteesinclude: City of Life Foundation Community Vision Great Oaks Village Intervention Services, Inc. Orange County Public Schools Orange County Public Schools Special Education Network Orange County Public Schools Career and Technical Education Osceola County Guardians ad Litem Program School District of Osceola County School District of Osceola County Families in Transition Program School District of Osceola County Safe Schools / Healthy Students Program School District of Osceola County Student Services Sunnyside VillageFamily Services of Metro Orlando is committed to providing children in out-of-home care with theresources and supports they need to excel academically. The education children receive canopen up new paths that lead them to success. As a result, it is imperative that the child welfarecommunity ensures children in care receive the support necessary to obtain a solid education.Foster parents, adoptive parents, Guardians ad Litem and case managers all play a crucial role inhelping our youth achieve academic success.This manual is intended to provide an overview of educational needs, services, policies andresources that affect children in out-of-home care. It is designed to be a resource manual forfoster/adoptive parents and case managers.Together, we can create new possibilities for foster children by partnering on critical educationand well-being initiatives.Sincerely,Gregory J. Kurth. MAChief Executive Officer 3
  • BIRTH PARENTS ............................................................................. 11FOSTER PARENTS/RELATIVE CAREGIVERS ............................................... 11CASE MANAGER ............................................................................. 12FOSTER CARE DESIGNEES ................................................................. 13EDUCATIONAL LIAISONS ................................................................... 14INDEPENDENT LIVING COORDINATORS ................................................... 14SURROGATE PARENTS ...................................................................... 15STUDENT ..................................................................................... 16ASSESSMENT AND SCREENING ............................................................ 18HEAD START................................................................................. 19EARLY HEAD START ........................................................................ 19PRESCHOOL ESE ........................................................................... 20VOLUNTARY PRE-KINDERGARTEN ......................................................... 21HOW OLD DOES A CHILD HAVE TO BE TO START SCHOOL? ............................. 22WHEN CAN I REGISTER A CHILD FOR SCHOOL? .......................................... 22ENROLLMENT FORMS ....................................................................... 22WHICH SCHOOL WILL THE CHILD ATTEND? .............................................. 23HOW TO WITHDRAW A CHILD FROM SCHOOL ............................................. 23APPLICATION FOR ASSISTANCE ........................................................... 24STABILITY OF SCHOOL PLACEMENT ....................................................... 24SCHOOL SELECTION: A CHECKLIST FOR DECISION MAKING .......................... 25TRANSPORTATION AND MCKINNEY-VENTO .............................................. 26TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS ............................................................. 26WHEN SCHOOL TRANSFERS ARE NEEDED ................................................ 27TRANSFERRING RECORDS .................................................................. 27FOSTERING CONNECTIONS ACT ........................................................... 27ADDITIONAL RESOURCES .................................................................. 30 4
  • MAGNET SCHOOLS .......................................................................... 30CHARTER SCHOOLS ......................................................................... 30PRIVATE SCHOOLS .......................................................................... 31NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND (NCLB) SCHOOL CHOICE FOR TITLE ONE SCHOOLS ..... 31MCKAY SCHOLARSHIP FOR ESE STUDENTS ............................................. 32FLORIDA VIRTUAL SCHOOLS............................................................... 32WORKFORCE ACADEMY ..................................................................... 33LIFE SKILLS CENTER ORANGE COUNTY .................................................. 33ALTERNATIVE SCHOOLS .................................................................... 33CENTERS FOR SUCCESS .................................................................... 35HOME SCHOOL .............................................................................. 37CAREER AND TECHNICAL SCHOOLS ....................................................... 37OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS AGES 17 AND YOUNGER .............................. 38UNDERSTANDING TRAUMA ................................................................. 40TRAUMA AND THE IMPACT ON EDUCATION................................................ 40TRAUMA-INFORMED CARE IN THE SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT ............................ 41TRAUMA-INFORMED CHILD WELFARE PRACTICE ........................................ 41TRAUMA-INFORMED CARE FOR FOSTER PARENTS ....................................... 41THE CODE OF STUDENT CONDUCT........................................................ 42ZERO TOLERANCE ........................................................................... 42DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS .................................................................... 43SUSPENSION AND EXPULSION FOR CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS ................ 43DRESS CODE ................................................................................ 44ATTENDANCE POLICY ....................................................................... 46DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES ............................................................ 47RESPONSE TO INTERVENTION (RTI) ..................................................... 49INDIVIDUAL WITH DISABILITIES ACT (IDEA) OF 2004 ............................... 52INDIVIDUAL EDUCATION PLAN (IEP) .................................................... 53ELIGIBILITY DETERMINATION .............................................................. 55WHO CANNOT SIGN IEP DOCUMENTS AS A PARENT OR SURROGATE PARENT? ...... 55TIMEFRAMES ................................................................................. 55TIPS FOR PREPARING FOR THE IEP MEETING: ........................................... 55 5
  • TIPS FOR STUDENTS WITH A TRANSITIONAL IEP ....................................... 56TOP 10 ITEMS THAT MUST BE INCLUDED IN YOUR CHILD‟S IEP ....................... 56MAXIMUM AGE REQUIREMENTS FOR SERVICES ......................................... 58FUNCTIONAL BEHAVIORAL ASSESSMENT (FBA)/BEHAVIOR INTERVENTION PLAN (BIP)................................................................................................ 58SECTION 504 ............................................................................... 59CHILD FIND.................................................................................. 60FLORIDA COMPREHENSIVE ASSESSMENT TEST (FCAT) ............................... 61FLORIDA ASSESSMENTS FOR INSTRUCTION FOR READING ............................. 62DIPLOMA OPTIONS ......................................................................... 63GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS ............................................................. 63HIGH SCHOOL ATTENDANCE AFTER AGE 18 ............................................ 64GED PROGRAM ............................................................................. 64ALL CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE .......................................................... 66STUDENTS WITH A DISABILITY ............................................................ 67ORANGE COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS 2010-2011 SCHOOL CALENDAR .............. 71THE SCHOOL DISTRICT OF OSCEOLA COUNTY 2010-2011 SCHOOL CALENDAR .. 72EXCEPTIONAL STUDENT EDUCATION ACRONYMS AND DEFINITIONS .................. 73EDUCATION LIAISON CONTACTS .......................................................... 74OSCEOLA COUNTY STUDENT ENROLLMENT FORM (FAST PASS) .................... 76ORANGE COUNTY STUDENT ENROLLMENT FORM……………………………………………..77 6
  • The State of Florida‟s child welfare system is organized through a Community-Based Care model. Family Services of Metro Orlando is the lead agency for Community- Based Care in Orange and Osceola counties. Community-Based Care was founded on the principle that responsibility for the welfare of children is shared equally among a variety of individuals and organizations within the community, including citizens, schools, businesses and other groups. The purpose of Community-Based Care is to shift the responsibility of direct child welfare services from the Department of Children and Families to private agencies around the state that will help to lead the local system of care, improving the safety and well-being of children.Family Services of Metro Orlando is a civic organization that empowers communities tocreate possibilities for children and families. We fortify our capacity building throughunique and strategic partnerships within our communities to achieve better systematicprotection of at-risk children and families in Orange and Osceola counties. Together weinvest in innovative solutions to our communitys challenges. As the lead agency, FamilyServices of Metro Orlando is responsible for the management of family safety services,such as foster care, adoption, protective supervision, independent living services andemergency shelters. Family Services of Metro Orlando has fostered over 250contractual, community and corporate partnerships to support the following services: Special needs adoption Prevention and family preservation Relative care Foster care Independent living services for youth “aging out” of foster care Protective services, including family visitation centers Parent education and support Intervention for families involved in domestic violence 7
  • Family Services of Metro Orlando has contracts with four Case ManagementOrganizations (CMOs) which provide direct services to children and families, includingfoster care and adoption. It also has contracts with a variety of community providersoffering other services to support children and families. The four CMOs that providedirect services to children and families in Orange and Osceola Counties are: Childrens Home Society Devereux Florida One Hope United Youth and Family Alternatives, Inc.Family Services of Metro Orlando serves both children who live with their birth familiesas well as children who have been removed from their homes. As seen in Chart 1-1 thenumber of children served by Family Services has remained relatively consistent fromMay 2009 – May 2010. An average of 2,289 children were served by Family Services inboth in-home and out-of-home care any given month during this time period. Children Served by Family Services 1600 1400 1200 1000 # of Children 800 600 Out of Home Care In Home Care 400 200 0 8
  • Children who have been removed from their birth parents have endured some type ofphysical abuse, sexual abuse and/or neglect that has caused them to be in immediatedanger. For the majority of these children, the abuse /neglect did not occur immediatelybefore removal from their home. In many cases, they have endured some level ofabuse/neglect throughout their entire life. This trauma, coupled with an unstable familylife, has a great impact on their ability to mature emotionally, socially anddevelopmentally.According to Brazelton and Greenspan, there are five things that all children need: 1. Ongoing nurturing relationships 2. Physical protection, safety and regulation 3. Experiences tailored to individual differences 4. Developmentally appropriate experiences 5. Stability and structure that lays out limits expectations and promotes cultural continuityAlthough humans can physically survive without these five things, not receiving themsignificantly impacts their overall well-being. Children placed in out-of-home care havereceived only some or none of these five basic needs throughout their lives. As a result,they are at a disadvantage to their peers with respect to academic achievement.Researchers across the country have assessed the educational performance of childrenin foster care, and have concluded that foster children as a group often demonstrateweaker cognitive abilities, behavioral problems and emotional problems. Higher rates ofabsenteeism and tardiness contribute to poor academic performance and retention(Kurtz, P., Gaudin Jr., J., and Howing, P., Maltreatment and the School-Aged Child:School Performance Consequences, Child Abuse & Neglect, Vol. 17, p. 581-589, 1993).Specific examples of how a child in out-of-home care may be at a disadvantage fromhis/her peers include: The child has received no assistance/guidance at home in regards to school work and has fallen behind The child has endured physical abuse/neglect in his/her home, which has consumed all of his/her energy and focus, so that safety has become the child‟s primary concern The child has been in and out of school throughout his/her life and did not attend school continuously due to the birth family moving and/or not enrolling the child into school The child is dealing with significant loss from being separated from parents and/or siblings The child has learning disabilities that have never been identified or assessed 9
  • Not only are children in out-of-home care more likely to be behind their peersacademically, but they also are at a higher risk for emotional and behavioraldisturbances that manifest at school. These can result in diversion to alternativeschools, suspension and possibly expulsion.Children who are in out-of-home care and encounter “Foster care can meanmultiple moves within the child welfare system are at a an end to school but itsfurther disadvantage educationally. Research shows that up to us, the kids oryouth lose an average of four to six months of teens, to decide if wereeducational attainment each time they change schools. going to let foster careBased upon the DCF Federal Performance Measures, 78% stop our education or are we going to keepof children in out of home care for less than 12 months going and show thehad two or fewer placements. This percentage decreases world around us that weto 30% when looking at children in out of home care for can do it no matter what24 months. As children are in out of home care number our situation is. Betheir number of placements increases which often times strong, be strong.”results in the need for a new school placements.Obstacles to school success that many foster youth faceinclude: • Risk factors at home • Lack of school stability • Delays in school enrollment • Delays and problems in the transfer of school records • Failure to identify school needs and provide appropriate services • Lack of educational advocatesChildren spend a good portion of their day at school. As a result, issues that they aredealing with at home may manifest in behaviors that are exhibited at school. Childrenwho have suffered abuse and/or neglect may exhibit the following behaviors at school: Aggressive behaviors Withdrawn from peers Inability to concentrate Underachieving or overachieving at school Difficulty trusting and making friends Excessive absences Excessive organization issues Exhaustion- sleeping during class Inappropriate interactions with peersFamily Services of Metro Orlando and its partners believe that all children have the rightto a quality education. Foster youth face varied and unique challenges that can have animpact on their educational achievements. Therefore, Family Services is dedicated,together with its community partners, in ensuring foster children receive the supportsand services they need to achieve academic success. 10
  • Birth ParentsAlthough the child may not be living with his/her birth parent, the parent does maintainlegal rights to the child until they are removed by court order. One of these rightspertains to educational decision making. Unless prohibited by court order or terminationof parental rights occurs, birth parents may, and should,participate in educational decisions for their child,including any special education needs. Birth parents havethe right to request an evaluation of their child, receivenotice, sign consents for assessment and attend meetingsregarding the Individual Education Plans (IEP). Unless prohibited by court order or unless the parental rights haveThe school and the case managers are responsible for been terminated, birthnotifying birth parents when there is an issue with the parents may, andchild‟s education that involves their consent. If the should, participate inparents cannot be located or refuse to participate, then educational decisions forthe school and case manager can look to alterative their child – includingrepresentatives to fill this role – such as foster and any special educationsurrogate parents. needs.Even though the parent does retain the right to make educational decisions for theirchild, it does not mean that they have the right to have contact with the child at school.It is important that schools are made aware of a child being placed in out-of-home careand that they are aware of who has permission to take the child out of school orparticipate in school activities with the child. Schools should always be given the mostcurrent court order so that they have documentation of the level of parent visitation thatshould be allowed.Foster Parents/Relative CaregiversAccording to Florida law, in the absence of a birth parent, foster parents and relativecaregivers are considered „parents‟ for education purposes and can make the sameeducational decisions as birth parents.The caregiver is responsible for the daily care of a child. As a result, foster parents playa critical role in a child‟s education. It is vital that foster parents inform the othermembers of the team about the child‟s academic needs. Foster parents are instrumentalin helping to identify educational needs of the child and advocating for educationalservices and supports.When the child has special education needs and requires anevaluation and/or services, the foster parent (in absence of Youth should bethe birth parent) can request evaluations, sign consents and enrolled insign the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) which lays out school within 72 hours ofthe services and supports the child will receive in school. placement. 11
  • Roles of Foster Parents Related to Education Register child for school Be the first line of contact when Attend meetings, conferences, etc. there is an emergency concerning at the school concerning the child the child (When filling out any school forms add yourself as the primary Communicate with teachers “emergency contact”) Help the child with homework and Apply for free lunch (All foster school projects children should be eligible for free lunch) Provide short term assistance with Consent for evaluation of child transportation when it is when it is determined child may determined it is in the child‟s best have some special educational interest to stay at his/her „home‟ needs if the birth parent is not school accessible Sign in-state permission slips Attend IEP meetings and sign as when neither the birth parent nor the “parent” when the birth parent case worker are available is not present Obtain report cards and other Advocate for appropriate school related reports educational services and supports Keep all written records from the for the child; Contact the case school in a binder/folder manager and/or the Education Liaison for assistanceCase ManagerEducational outcomes have become increasingly important at both the state andnational levels. Child welfare agencies are accountable to ensure children in out-of-home care receive the educational services and supports needed for success.Through research and testimony, it is evident that children in out-of-home care areat a disadvantage from their peers in terms of educational outcomes. Many factorsmake it more difficult for children in care to succeed academically; however, theirability to succeed in school and find sustainable employment is crucial since manyof them will be on their own at the age of 18.Child welfare agencies are held to certain educational outcomes based on theChildren and Family Services Review (CFSR). All states must go through CFSR toensure compliance with national outcomes established for child welfare programs. Children receive appropriate services to meet their educational needs. This outcome reviews collaboration between the child welfare agency and school, the documentation of the child’s educational needs, the implementation of services to meet the child’s education needs and the on-going educational advocacy done on behalf of the children. 12
  • States that are not in compliance risk losing certain federal funds. The CFSRexamines outcomes related to safety, permanency and well-being.Chapter 39 Florida Statutes requires that documentation about a child‟s educationalstatus and needs be included in the Case Plan and the Judicial Review and alsostates the specific documents and information that these documents must provide.Family Services has the following expectations of case managers: Assist the foster parent with the enrollment of a child into a new school, including completing the streamlined enrollment form for children in out of home care, gathering all necessary documents and withdrawing the child from this/her previous school Gather educational records to further assess the child‟s needs (report cards and school records) Contact Educational Liaisons if there are educational concerns Document reasons for educational placement change Assist with transportation to school if necessary Communicate with birth parents and foster parents regarding educational issues Monitor the child‟s educational progress, needs and strengths Ensure educational services are in place to support the child‟s needs Sign permission slips if birth parent is not available and foster parent can‟t sign Communicate with the school and advocate for child to ensure his/her educational needs are met Try to prevent the child from moving to multiple schools – when moves are necessary, an educational transition plan must be developedFamily Services monitors educational outcomes by conducting quality reviews.Case managers CANNOT sign education forms, IEP documents or consentto evaluations/assessments; however, they are critical in communicatingwith all parties and advocating for educational services to meet the child’sneeds.Foster Care DesigneesEvery school in Orange and Osceola County has identified a staff person to act asthe Foster Care Designee. The Foster Care Designee supports the academicachievement and social/emotional needs of students placed in foster care. Theprimary responsibilities of the Foster Care Designee include: Serve as a resource to the school principal and other personnel to facilitate the provision of supportive services. 13
  • Complete a Foster Care Designee Checklist for each foster care student at the school. Identify foster care students to teachers and school personnel who are involved with assessments/interventions. Maintain contact with the case manager as necessary. Maintain a confidential folder for the school containing information pertinent to a student‟s foster care status. Work collaboratively with the child welfare agency to discuss, plan and assist the child to succeed in school.Educational LiaisonsFamily Services of Metro Orlando has contracted with Intervention Services, Inc. toprovide an educational liaison program. The liaisons work with children who arejust entering foster care. The liaisons can also work with children referred to themby the case manager, foster parent, or school in a collaborative manner. Theprimary responsibilities of the educational liaisons include: Conduct initial educational screening on all children entering care (prioritize and triage) Provide an education summary for all children coming into care. Osceola County provides this prior to the shelter hearing. Orange County provides the summary after the shelter hearing, before the ICC staffing. Contact the Foster Care Designee and provide information Collect educational data (FCAT scores, grades) Education Liaisons Monitor grade level performance and educational serve as a link milestones between the school Verify/Follow-up on Exceptional Student Education, 504, and case managers. AIP, records transfer Attend Individualized Education Plan/disciplinary concerns meetings if needed Follow-up on IEP services, as referred by dependency case manager or foster parent(s) Provide educational advocacy to ensure appropriate educational services Assist with keeping students in school of origin, when appropriate Train foster parents, case managers and others on educational advocacy Educate community partners , foster parents and case managers on changes in education law and how it impacts children in foster careIndependent Living CoordinatorsFamily Services of Metro Orlando has contracted with Intervention Services, Inc. toprovide independent living services to teenage youth and young adults currentlyand formerly in licensed care, such as a group homes or foster care. TheIndependent Living Coordinators provide support to the primary case manager,caregivers of the youth and the youth themselves. They teach youth about 14
  • independent living skills and provide advice and resources to help prepare theyouth to live independently when they exit the foster care system. The IndependentLiving Coordinators: Develop an educational plan based on each youth‟s goals Monitor grade level performance Monitor service provision for special education needs Provide life skills training to youth to include educational resources Provide educational advocacy, when needed, to ensure appropriate educational services Train foster parents, case managers and others on educational advocacy Attend IEP meetings for transition goals, when invited Provide information and enrollment assistance with vocational opportunities Evaluate eligibility and provide documentation for tuition waiver/assistance for post secondary education Assure credit transfers Advocate for same-school placementSurrogate ParentsA surrogate parent is an adult appointed to represent the educational interests ofan exceptional student who does not have an available parent or guardian.Surrogate parents ARE NOT appointed for every child in out-home-care.A court decision to transfer temporary custody of a child to Birth parentsthe Department of Children and Families does not take away retain their rightthe birth parents‟ right to make educational decisions on to makebehalf of the child. Birth parents keep the right to make educationaleducational decisions unless a court has expressly decisions forextinguished that right through termination of parental rights their childrenor some other explicit order, or the birth parents cannot be unless theirlocated. If the birth parents are not able to or cannot be parental rightsfound to make educational decisions for the child, then have beenthe foster parent or relative caregiver can fill that role. terminated or the court hasIf neither the birth parent nor the foster parent/relative deemed themcaregiver is available and the child has special education unfit to do so.needs: the court can appoint somebody familiar to the child to be a surrogate parent the school can appoint a surrogate through their processA group home staff member, a case manager, or school employee cannot act asthe surrogate parent. The GAL can be the surrogate parent. 15
  • Why Would a Child Need a Surrogate Parent?If a child may have a disability, then a parent or person acting in the parental roleshould be present to act as an advocate for the child. The parent role is veryimportant when it comes to advocating for evaluations and/or services that a childmight need to excel in school. The parent is the one who can give consent for theevaluation, help to determine the services the child may need in school andultimately approve the placement for the initial special education services. Is a Name of Surrogate ExamplesResidential Setting Parent Required?Foster Family Home, No Licensed foster home, relative caregiver, licensedRelative Care or therapeutic foster careTherapeutic Foster HomeFamily Operated No These are operated by familiesGroupHomeAgency Operated Yes Operated by private agencies, ex.: Girls and BoysGroup Town, Sunny Side, Great Oaks Village, CrisisHomes, Therapeutic NurseryGroup Home orShelterResidential Yes These centers may be operated by private for-profitTreatment Centers or non-profit agencies and provide secure, therapeutic environments* A surrogate parent is not required if the parent is incarcerated, in a residentialtreatment program, or lives in another county or state if the parent is reachableand willing to serve this role. It is possible for the parent to participate viatelephone, letter, in order to provide input before or during an IEP meeting.StudentThe National Foster Youth Advisory Youth Council came up with a list of ten thingsto improve educational outcomes for youth in care. Three of the ten itemspertained to including youth in decision-making related to education, as follows: Help the child understand what an IEP is and why it is important for them to be an active participant at their IEP meeting. Prepare by discussing the following with the child before the IEP meeting: Child‟s areas of strength / and areas that need improvement 16
  • Child‟s goals and choices for learning and goals for the future Teach the child how to be a self advocate: Listen and respond to questions Ask questions until you understand everything discussed State their goals for the futureStudents in foster care should be included in their educational planning. Youth-driven decision-making leads to greater engagement of the youth in theireducational success. For the foster care independent living program, Florida lawrequires that transition planning begin with youth in out-of-home care at the age of13 years. The education system also requires a Personal Education Plan (alsoknown as the ePEP) be complete for all youth by age 13. For ExceptionalStudent Education (ESE) no later than age 14, the IEP becomes the transitionplan. A component of this transition planning is the development of aneducation/career plan. ESE children 14 and older must attend their transition IEPmeetings.The Department of Children and Families and the Orange County School Board havean interagency agreement that lays out how these two entities will collaborate tomeet the educational needs of children in foster care. This agreement is beingupdated for 2010/2011. A similar agreement exists in Osceola and is in the processof being updated. The interagency agreement includes valuable information,including data sharing. This agreement is located in the library on Family Service‟swebsite.The existing interagency agreement allows Family Services of Metro Orlando and itscontractors, such as case management organizations and schools to shareinformation about a child in foster care. Case managers should present a picture IDand the letter documenting their authority as a representative of the Department ofChildren and Families when requesting information about a student from a school.The case manager should provide the school with their name and contactinformation as well as information concerning the child‟s needs.Both school districts have agreed to share pertinent educational data related tochildren in out of home care with the education liaisons.Foster parents and relative caregivers can share information with the schoolregarding the child. Likewise, they should be able to receive information from theschool regarding the child‟s education. Information about the birth family is strictlyconfidential.The school should be informed of the foster parent/relative caregiver name andcontact information for easy contact during the school day. The case managershould remind the school that the foster parent‟s contact information is confidential. 17
  • Foster Care Designees and the Education Liaisons can provide critical support to thesharing of information, including answering questions regarding confidentiality,assisting with obtaining records, assisting with transferring the child‟s schoolrecord, reading and interpreting assessments and overall case support.Assessment and ScreeningEarly Steps is an early intervention system designed to provide the earliest possibleintervention and support for infants and toddlers (birth to thirty-six months) whoare disabled or at risk for developmental delay.To enroll in Early Steps, the child must be eligible. A screening process candetermine if the child has significant delays or an established medical conditionthat is likely to result in a delay. ( is determined via a full developmental evaluation covering the followingareas: Physical: health, hearing, vision If you think a foster child MIGHT have a Cognitive: thinking, learning, problem solving disability that could Gross & fine motor skills: moving, walking, result in a grasping and coordination developmental delay Communication: babbling, languages, speech, call conversation (407) 317-7430, Social/emotional: playing and interacting with ext. 2121 to make an appointment for a others screening. Adaptive development: self-help skills, (i.e. feeding, toileting, dressing)The Developmental Center for Infants and Children provides these assessments andis part of a statewide network of Childrens Medical Services. Hearing evaluationsfor children who have questionable infant hearing screens or who are at risk forprogressive hearing loss are scheduled. Please be sure to call in advance for anappointment – there will likely be a waiting list for the screening.The Developmental Center is located at 601 W. Michigan Street, Orlando, FL 32805.For more information, or to make a referral, call (407) 317-7430, ext. 2121 Mondaythrough Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.Once completed, the child‟s needs and potential services will be determined. Ifservices are required, an IEP will be developed for your child. 18
  • Head StartHead Start is a federal program designed for preschool children from low-incomefamilies. The program fosters childrens intellectual, physical, social and emotionalgrowth, so they may reach their greatest potential. Children who attend Head Startparticipate in a variety of educational activities, receive free medical and dentalcare, have healthy meals and snacks and enjoy playing in a safe setting. Mostchildren in Head Start are between the ages of three and five years old. Servicesare also available to infants and toddlers at selected sites. Head Start helps allchildren succeed. Services meet the special needs of children with disabilities.Head Start offers access to a wide array of resources designed to empowereconomically challenged families. The Orange County Head Start Program has 19centers throughout Orange County; including five centers that are located atelementary school sites and eight centers located at Community Centers.Early Head StartCommunity Coordinated Care for Children (4C) has recently been approved by theUS Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children andFamilies to provide Early Head Start (EHS) services to eligible infants, toddlers andpregnant mothers in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties. The tentative startdate for these services is June 2010. 4C will provide EHS services through contractswith providers at licensed child care centers and family child care homes.Orange County – (407) 532-4357Osceola County – (321) 219-6204Seminole County – (321) 832-6409 or (321) 832-6410Eligibility: Children who are in foster care are eligible regardless of familyincome. Children from families receiving public assistance (TANF or SSI) are alsoeligible regardless of income. Child must be residing in Orange or Osceola Countyand be 3 or 4 years old by September 1. If residing in Orange County call (407)836-6590 or in Osceola call (321) 219-6200 for an application. Applications will beaccepted year-round and a waiting list is developed to fill spots in the classrooms.Please note that these programs do have to give priority to children in foster care. Main OfficesOrange County Head Start Osceola County Head StartMable Butler Family Center 2232 East Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway2100 E. Michigan Street Kissimmee, FL 34744Orlando, FL 32806 Phone: 321-219-6211Phone: 407-836-6590Documents needed for registration: Childs Birth Certificate, CurrentImmunization Record, Physical Examination, Dental Examination and a currentLEAD test. 19
  • Preschool ESEBased on an evaluation, children in pre-school with special needs can qualify for arange of services. If a child qualifies for a service, transportation is provided free ofcost by the school district. Transportation can be provided from the day care to theschool where the child will receive services and back to the day care, or from hometo the school where the child will receive services and back home. The pickup anddrop off address for transportation must be the same.Most Preschool ESE classes for children with disabilities are half-day programs,either morning or afternoon. Some children with more specialized needs mayattend a full day program, at selected elementary schools. This is determined at thestaffing based on the individual needs of the child.To obtain an evaluation in Orange County: The Early Intervention Servicesprogram allows walk-in appointments every Wednesday morning from 8 a.m. to 10a.m. during the school year. The following documents are required for theevaluation: 1. court document showing the child is in state custody 2. a birth certificate (if possible) 3. proof that the child is residing in Orange CountyA Deed or Mortgage, Homestead Exemption notice, notarized Declaration ofDomicile, lease agreement or notarized statement from the case manager will meetdocumentation of residency requirements.It is also important to bring any reports or records of previous medical evaluationsand any recent therapy and/or diagnostic reports. You may complete the referralpacket, which is available in English and in Spanish, in advance.To obtain an evaluation in Osceola County: The Preschool EvaluationEducation Program (PEEP) provides screening, evaluations and sometimeseducational placements for children three to five years old. The Pre-K ESE ParentHandbook can be found at: For moreinformation contact the PEEP office at (407) 891-1178.Important Phone Numbers Orange County – Early Intervention Services 434 N. Tampa Ave., Building 200, Suite 200, Orlando, FL 32805 Ph: (407) 317-3503 The program provides free evaluations to Pre-Kindergarten children 3-5 years of age that reside in Orange County (closed during all school breaks). 20
  • Osceola County – Preschool Evaluation Education Program 1200 Vermont Ave., St. Cloud, FL Ph: (407) 891-1178 The program provides free evaluations to Pre-Kindergarten children 3-5 years of age that reside in Osceola County (closed during summer break). Seminole County - Exceptional Student Support Services 1722 W. Airport Blvd., Building #2, Sanford, FL 32771 Ph: (407) 320-7826 or (407) 320-7770 The program provides free evaluations to Pre-Kindergarten children 3-5 years of age that reside in Seminole County (closed during summer break).Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten The Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) Program prepares four-year-olds forkindergarten. This program is free to all children who are Florida residentsregardless of income. VPK may be available at participating licensed privatechildcare centers, accredited faith-based centers, many public school and HeadStart sites, as well as licensed family childcare homes. Although all sites that offerVPK provide a similar curriculum and have a set number of instructional hours, theactual program hours and program offerings vary at each site. For example, somesites may offer three hours of free schooling throughout the school year, whileothers may offer a full day of schooling for a certain number of months.Contact the Early Learning Coalition for more information regarding VPKprograms: Orange County: Osceola County: foster parent or case manager can complete the necessary paperwork once aprogram has been identified. Proof of residency in Orange or Osceola County andproof of child‟s age are required. The actual enrollment is completed at the schoolsite.No children in foster care can be denied entrance to school due to missingregistration forms. There should be no delay in enrolling a child into a new schooldue to a change in placement. The school registration forms can be completed bythe foster parent or case manager. This responsibility falls to the foster parentunless he/she is unable to complete the task. The case manager will need to givethe foster parent the information needed for enrollment (child‟s full name, name ofprevious school (if known), child‟s social security number, child‟s current grade,copy of the court order) and complete the enrollment form for children in out of 21
  • home care (In Osceola this form is called the Fast Pass for Foster Care and inOrange it is called the Orange County School Registration Form - see sectionbelow). The case manager will need to attach the court order to this form andensure that the child is withdrawn from the previous school. A child cannot beenrolled in the new school until they have been withdrawn from their previousschool.The foster parent should inform the School Registrarthat the child is in foster care so that the Foster Care Withdrawing aDesignee at the school can be notified along with other foster child fromappropriate parties to ensure that procedures related school when theyto confidentiality of the student records are move and mustimplemented. change schools is as important asInformation regarding the registration process for enrolling.Orange County Public Schools can be found at: regarding the registration process for the School District of OsceolaCounty can be found at: old does a child have to be to start school?Under state law, a child must be five years old on or before Sept. 1 to enterkindergarten. To enter first grade, a child must be six on or before Sept. 1 andmust have successfully completed kindergarten.When can I register a child for school?You may go to the school at any time to register the child for school. Previousschool records or report cards help schools place students. Foster parents shouldenroll a child newly placed with them during the school year within 72 hours of thechild entering their home.If a foster child is currently enrolled in school, every effort should be made to avoiddisruption in the school placement. Children should remain in their previouslyassigned school, whenever possible and in the best interest of the child‟s education.Transportation assistance is available to assist with the child remaining in theiroriginal school and can be arranged through the child‟s case manager or educationliaison (see Transportation section for additional information).Enrollment FormsTo expedite the enrollment process both Osceola and Orange County have createda registration form that can be used to enroll a foster child immediately without 22
  • delay. In Osceola this form is called the “Fast Pass” and in Orange County it isreferred to as the “Orange County Registration Form.” Although both of these formsallow the child to be immediately enrolled without all of the regularly requireddocuments, it is the case manager‟s responsibility to gather all of these documentsand submit to the school in a timely fashion. Enrollment forms for both countiescan be found in the Appendix section of this manual.Which school will the child attend?Each school has a designated attendance area and the familys address determineswhich school the student will attend. In Orange County contact the PupilAssignment office at (407) 317-3233 to find your attendance zone or use thefollowing website: Ifenrolling in a school in Osceola County, contact the Department of Student Servicesat (407) 870-4897 or visit to withdraw a child from schoolThe foster parent or case manager needs to go to the currently enrolled school withthe court order and the following items: 1. The student‟s ID (Middle and High School students) 2. Books (if applicable: instruments and uniforms)If transferring to another Orange or Osceola County School, bring the followingitems to the register at the new school: 1. School Registration Form (Orange County Registration Form for Orange County or Fast Pass for Osceola County) 2. The foster parents ID 3. Withdrawal packet from previous school 4. New foster parent‟s proof of residenceWhen the registration forms mentioned above are used, the child should beimmediately determined eligible for free lunch. The foster parent/case managersshould inquire to ensure this correct. In some cases, the foster parent or casemanager should complete the School District Family Application for Meal Benefits.A copy of this form can be obtained from the school office. Almost all children whoare in foster care will qualify for the free lunch program; however, they must havea completed form. As long as a court order or the proper documentation isgiven to the school, the child should qualify. 23
  • Application for AssistanceIn some cases the school may require the foster parent/case manager to completethe form for free and reduced meals in addition to the enrollment form for childrenin foster care. If this is requested, a foster child who is living within a householdbut remains the legal responsibility of the welfare agency or court is considered ahousehold of one. The amount the foster parent receives for the child‟s personaluse is considered when determining the eligibility (not the foster parent‟s income).A foster parent should never put their own income on the form. There is a box atthe top of the form that should be checked for children who are in state custody.Once this box is checked you are able to skip several sections of the form, puttingdown only the child information. Only one foster child should be listed on theform; each foster child must be on a separate application.It takes 3-5 business days to get the form processed; however, when the school isaware that the child is in out-of-home care, the child will be given a free lunchimmediately.Stability of School PlacementResearch shows that youth lose an average of four to six months of educationalattainment each time they change schools. Students in care who rarely or neverchange schools are far more likely to graduate from high school (Williams, Kessler, Down,O‟Brien, Hiripi, Morello 2003). Keeping the child in the same school should be the goal ofboth the child welfare agency and the school. The Federal Law, FosteringConnections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act, requires state child welfareagencies to improve educational stability for children in foster care by coordinatingwith local education agencies to ensure that children remain in the school they areenrolled in at the time of placement into foster care, unless that would not be in thechild‟s best interests. Maintaining the school placement can provide a sense ofstability and academic continuity critical for the student when everything else ischanging. 24
  • School Selection: A Checklist for Decision Making(adapted from the Texas Homeless Education Office)School of Origin Considerations Local Attendance Area School Considerations� Continuity of instruction � Continuity of instructionStudent is best served due to circumstances Student is best served due tothat look to his or her past. circumstances that look to his or her future.� Age and grade placement of the student � Age and grade placement of the studentMaintaining friends and contacts with peers Maintaining friends and contacts with peersis critical to the student’s meaningful school in the school of origin is not particularlyexperience and participation. The student critical to the student’s meaningful schoolhas been in this environment for an experience and participation. The studentextended period of time. has attended the school of origin for only a� Academic strength brief time.The child’s academic performance is weak � Academic strengthand the child would fall further behind if The child’s academic performance is stronghe/she transferred to another school. and at grade level and the child would likely� Social and emotional state recover academically from a schoolThe child is suffering from the effects of transfer.mobility, has developed strong ties to the � Social and emotional statecurrent school and does not want to leave. The child seems to be coping adequately� Distance of the commute and its impact with mobility, does not feel strong ties toon the student‟s education and/or special the current school and does not mindneeds transferring.The advantages of remaining in the school of � Distance of the commute and its impactorigin outweigh any potential disadvantages on the student‟s education and/or specialpresented by the length of the commute. needs� Personal safety of the student A shorter commute may help the student’sThe school of origin has advantages for the concentration, attitude, or readiness forsafety of the student. school. The local attendance area school� Student‟s need for special instruction can meet all of the necessary educationalThe student’s need for special instruction, and special needs of the student.such as Section 504 or special education and � Personal safety of the studentrelated services, can be met better at the The local attendance area school hasschool of origin. advantages for the safety of the student.� Length of anticipated stay in a temporary � Student‟s need for special instructionshelter or other temporary location The student’s need for special instruction,The student’s current living situation is such as Section 504 or special educationoutside of the school-of-origin attendance and related services, can be met better atzone, but his/her living situation or location the local attendance area school.continues to be uncertain. The student will � Length of anticipated stay in a temporarybenefit from the continuity offered by shelter or other temporary locationremaining in the school of origin. The student’s current living situation appears stable and unlikely to change suddenly; the student will benefit from the developing relationships with peers in school who live in his local community. 25
  • Transportation and McKinney-VentoChildren can often remain in their previous school through transportation assistanceprovided under the McKinney-Vento Act. McKinney-Vento is a federal law thatpromotes stability, access and academic success for homeless youth. It promoteseducational stability by allowing homeless youth to remain in their school of origineven if homelessness has caused them to move outside the school district. Schoolof origin is defined as the school a student attended prior to becoming homeless orthe school where the student was last enrolled.In order to be eligible for the benefits and services provided for by the McKinney-Vento Act, a student must meet the criteria for homelessness. Some children infoster care meet the criteria and are considered homeless under the Act. The McKinney-Vento Act defines homeless children and youth as "(A) individuals who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence…; and (B) includes – (i) children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster care placement….”Usually, once the provisions of McKinney-Vento have been met, an eligible childremains eligible for services for the remainder of that school year.If McKinney-Vento applies to the child, transportation is requested and if it is in thebest interest of the child‟s education, the school will provide or arrangetransportation for the student to stay at the school of origin. If the student movesacross district lines, then both districts have to work together to providetransportation.(reference: county can interpret this law differently. Orange and Osceola Countyinterprets awaiting foster care placement as interim placement that includesany living arrangement which is not intended to be long-term. Interim placementsare not fixed, regular and adequate. These are likely to include children in shelters,short-term foster homes, group homes and resident placements that are notintended to be long-term and evaluation centers.Transportation RequestsIf you need to request transportation for a student, contact an Education Liaisonwho can help with the transportation request. The student may be eligible fortransportation but the request can take up to ten (10) school days to set up andthe foster parent and case manager will need to plan for alternative transportationwhile the application is processed. Education Liaisons can provide guidance throughthis process. 26
  • When School Transfers are NeededIf it is necessary for a child to change schools, there are some basic things that canmake the transition smoother: Do not change school placement during critical time periods (end of the marking period, directly prior to FCAT testing). It is best to keep school moves at natural transition times (breaks, summer and end of marking periods). The case manager can notify the previous school of the move and request records be sent to the new school as soon as possible. The case manger can contact the previous school to find out what services were in place, issues the child was having in school and the child‟s overall academic progress. Identify a person in the school that the child can shadow throughout the first school day. Allow the child to get oriented to the school the first day- the case manager/foster parent can walk around with the child and attend part of the school day without requiring full-day attendance the first day. For children in high school, set up a meeting with the new guidance counselor and figure out the student‟s class schedule to minimize loss of credits in the move.Transferring RecordsFoster children cannot be denied entry into a new school because they are waitingon records. When possible, the case manager should identify the school the child iscoming from and inform the foster parent and the new school. The case managercan notify the previous school of the transfer and inform them of the new schoolplacement. The school will handle obtaining the records from the previous school.Because there can be a time delay in this transfer, the case manager might want toask the previous school if the child was receiving any special educational services.Fostering Connections ActOn October 7, 2008, the Fostering Connections to Success and IncreasingAdoptions Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-351, Fostering Connections Act) was signed intolaw. This law amends parts B and E of Title IV of the Social Security Act. Among itsprovisions to address the needs of children and youth in foster care, it seeks topromote education stability for foster children.This law affects education stability for children in out-of-home care by requiringchild welfare agencies to include “a plan for ensuring the educational stability of thechild while in foster care” as part of every child‟s case plan. As part of this plan, theagency must include assurances that: the placement of the child in foster care takes into account the appropriateness of the current educational setting and the proximity to the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement; and 27
  • the state child welfare agency has coordinated with appropriate local educational agencies to ensure that the child remains in the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement.Additionally, the law requires that if remaining in such school is not in the bestinterest of the child, the case plan must include assurances by the child welfareagency and the local educational agencies that: o provide immediate and appropriate enrollment in a new school; and o provide all of the educational records of the child to the school. o Finally, Fostering Connections supports the well-being of children in out-of-home care by requiring states to provide assurances in their Title IV-E state plans that every school–age child in foster care and every school–age child receiving an adoption assistance or subsidized guardianship payment, is a full-time elementary or secondary school student or has completed secondary school.Reference: American Bar Association & Casey Family Programs (2008). Foster Care & Education Q &A handout (Please see next Page.) 28
  • How does the McKinney-Vento act and Foster Connections support school success for all children in out-of-home-care? Rights and Eligibility Under the McKinney-Vento and Fostering Connections Act Law Who’s Eligible RIGHTS Remain in school Transportation Immediate Expedited Record Designated Enrollment Transfer Staff ResourceMcKinney- Homeless children, If in their best LEAs are Schools must Schools must Every SEAVento including: children interest, children required to enroll children maintain records so has a in emergency or are entitled to provide or immediately, they are available in McKinney-Homeless transitional shelters, remain in their arrange even without a timely fashion Vento StateAssistance unaccompanied school of origin transportation to typically when a child enters CoordinatorAct homeless youth, or unless their the school of required a new school or and every those “awaiting parent disagrees. origin. (When documents (e.g. school district. LEA must foster care disputes birth certificate, designate a placement” as between LEAs immunization McKinney- defined by state or arise, they must record). Vento school district policy split the cost.) Liaison. or at the discretion of the McKinney- Vento Liaison.Fostering Every child in out- Unless not in the No specific When staying in When staying in the NotConnections of-home care. child’s best mandate,2 but the same school same school is not in specified. interest, the child for IV-E eligible is not in the the child’s bestto Success welfare agency children in out- child’s best interest, childand must work with of-home care, interest, child welfare and LEAsIncreasing the education “foster care welfare and LEAs must provideAdoptions agency to ensure maintenance must provide immediate andAct of 2008 child can remain payments” may immediate and appropriate in their school at include appropriate enrollment in a new the time of reasonable enrollment in a school, with all of placement.1 transportation to new school, with the education a child’s school. all of the records of the child education provided to the records of the school. child provided to the school.McKinney- Children in out-of- Unless not in the Unless another Child welfare Child welfare agency Child welfareVento home care who are child’s best state or local agency and and education agency McKinney eligible interest, the child agreement exists education agency must work caseworkerAND including: children welfare agency between agency must together to expedite and liaisonFostering in emergency or and the McKinney education and work together to record transfers. must workConnections transitional shelters, Vento liaison child welfare, ensure together to unaccompanied must work LEA must immediate provide for homeless youth and together to provide enrollment, even all of the those “awaiting ensure child transportation. without typically child’s rights foster care remains in the required under both placement.” school of origin.3 documents. Acts. Reference: American Bar Association & Casey Family Programs (2010). How Fostering Connections and McKinney-Vento can support school success for all children in out-of-home-care handout. 29
  • Additional ResourcesThe following organizations provide additional resources on the McKinney-Ventoand Foster Connections Acts: The Legal Center for Foster Care and Education The National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) The National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) addition to the public school for which zone the child is in, based upon address ofresidence, there are alternate educational options. These options should beconsidered based on the child‟s educational needs and the services offered by theschool.Magnet SchoolsMagnet Programs were developed to enhance the educational opportunitiesavailable for students to discover and explore their talents. If a student is interested in applying for a magnet program they should meet with their guidance counselor prior to submitting an application Applications for magnet programs become available around October of each school year and need to be given to School Choice Services. The application deadline is around February and a guidance counselor must sign off for anyone applying to a high school magnet program. The application along with the timeframes can be found on the OCPS website under School Choice: Information about magnet programs in Osceola County can be obtained by calling (407) 870-4600.Charter SchoolsCharter schools in Florida are public schools sponsored by a school district. Anystudent who resides in Orange or Osceola County may apply to attend a charterschool. A complete list of all charter schools in Orange County and their contactinformation is located at: Informationregarding charter schools in Osceola County can be found at: 30
  • There are charter schools for children of all ages and they offer unique programs forspecific populations. Although there is no cost to attend, the foster parent/childwelfare agency would be responsible for transportation to and from the school.Charter schools have differing methods for enrollment (open, specific times,lottery). Charter schools are required to follow the IEP plan and offer the serviceslisted in this plan. Contact the charter school directly for specific information.Private SchoolsPrivate schools have extremely varied programs in quality and services offered.They are not sponsored, monitored or regulated by the public school system.Information on private schools may be found at The Florida Private SchoolsDirectory, which is a database of information submitted by private schools.The State of Florida does allow for private schools as a school choice option with theMcKay Scholarship as described below.Children enrolled in private school may still be eligible for assistance with disabilityneeds. The school district operates a separate office for the child-find of privateschool students.In Orange County, the Non-Public Schools Evaluation Office is located in the schoolboard‟s Tampa Avenue complex. Parents arrange appointments for testing throughan intake process and evaluations are completed and sent to local schools foreligibility staffings or service delivery. If the parents agree, students receiveservices through a private school services plan. The district also works with privateschools in implementing the mandates of I.D.E.A. relative to student and parents‟rights for students with disabilities.( information the McKay Scholarship in Osceola County, please visit or call the ESE Department at (407) 343-8700.No Child Left Behind (NCLB) School Choice for Title OneSchoolsStudents who attend Title I schools designated as not making adequate yearlyprogress for two or more consecutive years are eligible for transfer to anotherpublic school. Contact the local school office to determine if this is a possibility.Choices for students in these schools include: remain at the zone school select a possible transfer to another school currently below 100% capacity. If a student chooses to be transferred to another school, the district will notify parents of the newly assigned school with instructions on how to enroll the 31
  • student. Students must agree to stay for a minimum of one calendar year. Students may remain at the newly assigned school until they have completed the highest level at that school.McKay Scholarship for ESE StudentsThe state of Florida offers a scholarship program for students with disabilities whohave an approved IEP. A student who meets the criteria listed below may beeligible to transfer to another public school or a participating private school.To qualify for a McKay Scholarship:(1) Child must have been in attendance in a Florida public school in October andFebruary the previous year and(2) Child must have an Individual Education PlanBased on the above criteria, the state will provide a scholarship to transfer toanother public school in the district, to a school in another Florida county or to oneof the participating private schools. If a private school accepts the McKayScholarship, the school district will determine the amount of scholarship the childwill receive (based on the severity of the child‟s needs) and will pay the privateschool directly. The foster parent/child welfare agency will be responsible forassuming any additional costs over and above what school district pays. Likewise,the school district will NOT provide transportation.File applications for the McKay Scholarship online at the website whether you arechoosing a public or private school. There are no paper applications for the McKayScholarship program. You may apply for a private McKay transfer at any time.Parents may file intent to participate in the McKay Scholarship Program on Web site by clicking on the McKay Scholarships linkand then the link titled "Apply for a McKay Scholarship" located on the quicknavigation bar on the left-hand side of the screen. For more information in OrangeCounty Public Schools contact the Exceptional Student Education Program at 407-317-3312 or the state‟s Parent Hotline is 1-800-447-1636. In the School District ofOsceola County contact the Exceptional Student Education Department at (407)343-8700.Florida Virtual SchoolsFlorida Virtual School is a public middle and high school designed to deliver coursesvia the internet. This school allows the student to work independently at their ownpace outside of the classroom. Students such as those who want to accelerate theirlearning or who fall behind in credits may benefit from this school option. Studentsmay choose to take one or all courses via Florida Virtual Schools, however,consultation should be sought from the school guidance counselor to assist inmonitoring the youth‟s education plan to ensure course choices aligns with theyouths educational goals and graduation requirements. 32
  • A computer is necessary to apply and to complete the course work; instructorsinteract with students through web conferencing, phone, e-mail and instantmessenger.  Students expelled from the school district still have the option to enroll in this program  A Florida resident applies via website by completing an application for admission  Florida Residents must be enrolled in a Florida public, affiliated private or charter school  Florida students in 6 – 12 grades can create an account and start requesting classes at no cost  After a student creates an account, the parent/guardian will create a separate account with a username and password used to login and monitor the students accountFor more information regarding how to apply for Florida Virtual School, visitwww.flvs.netWorkforce AcademyWorkforce Academy is an Orange County Public School available for juniors andseniors. Workforce Academy provides students with the opportunity to gain workexperience through paid internships and their high school diploma. Students spendhalf of their time in the class room and the other out gaining valuable workexperience. Workforce academy also has smaller classes room sizes to assistantstudents in having a smaller classroom environment. Skills Center Orange CountyLife Skills Center is a teacher assisted computer based learning environment forhigh school students residing in Orange County. Students can work at their ownpace and receive credits and their high school diploma. Life Skills Center provides adifferent environment to enable student to receive their diploma if traditional schoolis not working out. There are two different five hour sessions, one in the morningand one in the afternoon. If a student works they go to school one hour less thanstudents who do not work. www.wediducan.comAlternative SchoolsAlternative school is a term used to describe sites that provide education in adifferent manner from the general education in traditional public schools. Somealternative education schools are public schools and some are not. 33
  • If a child is experiencing difficulty in their current setting, expelled or suspended,an alternative education program might be a viable option. Transfers to theseschools are done only with the approval of the school district.Listed below are some of the alternative schools in Orange County:CHEROKEE SCHOOLCherokee School, a K-6 public school, provides a program for students who areexperiencing significant learning or emotional problems. Students are referred toCherokee through the Special Education Staffing process at their zoned school.  Child must qualify for special education services and have an Individual Educational Plan (IEP)  If it is determined that the school cannot meet the child‟s behavioral needs, the IEP is revised to reflect the need for more restrictive placement  Parent involvement is strongly encouraged in making this decision. If birth parent is not accessible then the foster parent/relative caregiver or surrogate parent needs to be involved with this decision  When the child‟s behavior improves, Cherokee will begin a transition process to return your child to the zoned school  For additional information contact (407) 897-6440 or visit the link at www.cherokee.ocps.netGATEWAY SCHOOLGateway School is public school and a secondary separate-day school that servesstudents with emotional/behavioral needs. Gateway School is the districts mostrestrictive placement for student‟s grades 7-12. Gateway offers a comprehensive,school-wide behavior management program in conjunction with the IndividualizedEducation Plans and Behavior Intervention Plans. A referral for a student to attend Gateway is made due to that childs need for a structured, smaller learning environment that has a behavior management program infused throughout the school day. Gateway provides on-site specialized services for students to succeed behaviorally and academically in their educational programs. Offers counseling groups for anger management and a processing center to work out behavioral matters Students have access to standard and special diploma curricula options Gateway may educate students until the semester of the 22nd birthday For additional information contact (407) 296-6449 or visit the link at 34
  • MAGNOLIA SCHOOLMagnolia school serves students with severe to profound mental handicaps that alsohave special medical or behavioral service needs. The school has specializedprograms that include gifted, autistic and emotional adjustment. The school servesstudents placed through special education staffing procedures to Magnolia School inorder to receive specialized services. For additional information contact (407) 296-6499 or visit the link at www.magnolia.ocps.netSILVER STAR CENTERSilver Star provides educational services to middle and high school students whohave committed an offense at their zone school and have been referred to analternative placement. Before a child receives services at Silver Star there will be a meeting at the student‟s zone school to discuss the student‟s behavior and the recommendation for the student to attend Silver Star Silver Star serves both regular education and special education students who have a mild disability. Other sites and alternatives are available for students with more severe disabilities For additional information contact (407) 521-2330 or visit www.silverstar.ocps.netCenters for SuccessIn addition to the schools listed above, Under the Alternative Education “Centers forSuccess,” the district offers educational services to several categories of studentneeds in non-traditional settings. All students enrolled in “Centers for Success”receive instruction in the standard K-12 curriculum, as well as ESOL and ESEservices, as required. Programs under the Alternative Education “Centers forSuccess” are staffed by Orange County Public Schools teachers, administrators andsupport professionals.Eligible “at-risk” students may attend one of four School/Work programs: theUniversal Education Center, the Florida Mall Education Center, the East OrlandoEducation Center and the Winter Park Education Center. In these programs,students attend class half-days and work half-days.The BETA program is available for teen parents and theirchildren. In other programs, students are involved with If you know of a childjuvenile justice, correction facilities, CRISIS centers, that may need ancommunity-based programs, residential programs and alternative educationsocial services within Orange County. environment, you can consult with the foster care designeeCall (407) 245-1555 to obtain additional information on and/or educationthese schools. liaison. 35
  • Listed below are some of the alternative schools in Osceola County:NEW BEGINNINGS EDUCATION CENTERNew Beginnings (formerly known as Crossroads and Cornerstone) is the only publicalternative school for students being recommended for expulsion in the SchoolDistrict of Osceola County. The school serves Kindergarten thru 12th gradestudents, who are regular education and ESE (exceptional education). All studentsare recommended for placement through the district Student Services departmentor the ESE department and may be placed for a minimum of 1 successful semesterto a maximum of 2 years.ADULT LEARNING CENTER OSCEOLA (ALCO)Adult Learning Center Osceola classes provide opportunities to improve skills for lifeat home, at work and in the community. The sites offer a variety of educationalservices for students of all ages and stages of life. Whether seeking an opportunityto further one‟s career, finish high school, or learn English, the classes providequality services, programs, training and instruction to meet student needs. Formore information visit: ENDEAVOREndeavor is a high school completion program for 16 and 17 year old students whoare low in credits and lack the necessary skills to pass the FCAT. Classes areteacher-directed and focus on Math, English, Social Studies, Reading and Sciencefor remediation and FCAT preparation. Plato/Impact labs are also available.Typically students attend Endeavor for one school year and then move toChallenger to finish the required courses or return to their home zoned school fortheir senior year. ( is open to students 16 to 21 years old who are behind in credits andreside in Osceola County. Ideal students are in their final year of high school.Classes are assigned to ensure each student meets state graduation requirements.Courses are designed so that students can work individually with certified teacherassistance. Technology-based individualized learning opportunities are included ineach course. Graduating students are awarded a regular high school diploma fromone of the districts seven high schools. COPEThe acronym COPE stands for "Creating Opportunities for Parenting Education."This program is designed for students that are expecting or have a baby. COPE isequipped with a beautiful daycare and child care professionals with many years ofexperience and current certifications which include First Aid and CPR. COPEs 36
  • daycare is divided into five developmental areas which include newborns, infants,crawlers, toddlers and munchkins. Babies and children from ages two weeks tothree years of age enjoy the creative and supportive interactions of our caring staff.Students that are expecting or have a baby are required to take Health forExpectant Parents classes as well as Parenting classes while attending the program.Transportation is provided daily for both student and baby. The success rate of thestudents graduating can be contributed to the mini-semester curriculum that theschool follows. For more information call (407) 846-3976.http://zen.osceola.k12.fl.usHOSPITAL/HOMEBOUND SCHOOL (Orange and Osceola)The Hospital/Homebound School serves pre-kindergarten through twelfth gradestudents throughout Orange and Osceola County. Students are referred to thisprogram through the guidance office at the student‟s zoned school. A SpecialEducation Staffing is conducted to determine eligibility. Hospital/HomeboundSchool: offers a short term instructional program for eligible students whose activities are restricted for at least 15 school days services are for students who are confined to home or hospital by a medically diagnosed physical or mental condition teachers provide instruction designed to help the students continue progressing academically in the core curriculum while away from their regular school program For additional information in Orange County contact (407) 317-3909 or visit: If the student resides in Osceola County, call (407) 343-8718 or visit: SchoolPer Child Welfare Administrative Rule Chapter 65-13, children in foster care maynot be home schooled.Career and Technical SchoolsOrange County Public Schools has five Career and Technical Education Centers: Mid Florida Tech (407) 251-6047 Orlando Tech (407) 317-3431 Winter Park Tech (407) 622-2906 Avalon Tech (407) 281-5121 Westside Tech (407) 251-2018All of the Centers offer career and technical programs for both high school studentsand young adults who are 18 and older. Technical career programs vary from eightweeks to two years. Students graduate from their selected technical career 37
  • program prepared to start a career. There are no tuition fees for youth thatare enrolled in high school. Online course catalogue can be viewed at:http://ocpsvirtualcenter.comCareer and Technical Centers provide students certificates upon completion of acertificate career-education program. In order to receive a certificate of completion,a student must complete the program requirements and meet the required basicacademic skill levels in reading, mathematics and language using a state-approvedbasic skills assessment. Training programs are measured in clock hours establishedby the Florida Department of Education as the length of time it takes the averageperson to successfully complete the program. Formal articulation agreements withcommunity colleges allow the student to earn future college credits, upon enrollingin a community college, after successfully completing many technical programs.The School District of Osceola County has two Career and Technical EducationCenters: Technical Education Center Osceola (TECO) (407) 344-5080 Professional and Technical High School (PATHS) (407) 518-5407 Zenith Career Center (407) 846-3976Tuition: In Orange County there are no tuition fees for youth enrolled in highschool. In Osceola County some programs require tuition fees. In both Orange andOsceola County young adults who are no longer in high school will have to paytuition. Several financial aid options are available including no-cost grants and Pellgrants which may cover all of the tuition and books.Opportunities for Students Age 17 and Younger GED: Under certain circumstances, the Superintendent will approve a youth under the age of 18 to take the GED. Tech Centers offer the prep course and administer the GED test. The GED test generally cannot be taken until the year that the child is supposed to graduate from high school. o A request must be submitted in writing to the school district. o The request should include justification which explains and supports the youth‟s need to pursue a GED as an alternative to high school attendance. o A referral to the education liaison is needed for youth under age 18 when a GED is being considered. 38
  • High School Based Programs: Certain high schools offer vocational training opportunities on school site. Students must be enrolled in a high school offering vocational program in order to participate. Dual Enrollment Program: Students take career courses at the same time they take academic courses. Graduate with a high school diploma and classes toward a certification for a career. This program is free for students.This Florida law, which passed in 2008, prohibits the bullying or harassment(including cyber bullying) of any public K-12 student or employee. It requires theDepartment of Education to adopt a policy to prohibit bullying and harassment anddirects all school districts to adopt a similar policy. School districts are directed towork with students, parents, teachers, administrators and local law enforcement ondeveloping this policy. School districts will be required to report all instances ofbullying or harassment and to notify the parents of the bully and the parents of thevictim. The required communication among parents, students and teachers aboutincidents of bullying will help to prevent acts of violence and future tragedies.Schools should be a safe place for teachers and children to teach and learn. The Act(House Bill 669) will make our schools safer throughout the State of Florida.( Florida law requires coordination by the DCF staff, the lead agency (FamilyServices of Metro Orlando), local school readiness coalitions and licensed earlyeducation or childcare providers. The Act provides priority for childcare services forspecified children who are at risk of abuse, neglect or abandonment. The Actspecifies certain requirements designed to ensure the safety and well being ofchildren age three to school entry who are under court ordered protectivesupervision or in the custody of the Department of Children and Families andenrolled in a licensed early education or child care program. Each child who issubject must participate in licensed early education or child care services at leastfive days a week, unless exempt by the court. The care facility must be notifiedwhen a child subject to this law is enrolled in their program. Children subject tothis law cannot be withdrawn from the program without the prior written approvalof the Department of Children and Families and/or the lead agency. The day carefacility must notify the lead agency following each unexcused absence or sevenconsecutive excused absences for a child who is subject to the law. The casemanager is required to make a site visit to the child‟s residence following twoconsecutive reports of unexcused absences or a report of seven consecutiveexcused absences to determine whether the child is missing. 39
  • Understanding TraumaPrevalence A national study of adult “foster care alumni” found higher rates of PTSD (21%) compared with the general population (4.5%). This was higher than rates of PTSD in American war veterans. 1 Nearly 80% of abused children face at least one mental health challenge by age 21. 2Reference:1. Pecora, et al. (December 10, 2003). Early Results from the Casey National Alumni Study. Available at: ASTHO. (April 2005). Child Maltreatment, Abuse, and Neglect. Available at: care is assessing for trauma in all youth, understanding thetriggers and addressing the trauma behind the behavior. Trauma-informed care isdriven by the individual needs of the child and avoids re-traumatization of the child.A child‟s response to a traumatic event may have a profound effect on his or herperception of self, the world and the future. This response can affect many parts ofthe child‟s life including education. School performance decreases due to traumaendured by youth. Traumatic events also affect a child‟s ability to trust others,sense of safety and effectiveness in navigating life changes.Currently, child welfare lacks the ability to respond sensitively to the specific needsof children with complex trauma issues.Trauma and the Impact on EducationSchool to Jail pipelineMost youth who enter state care have experience some form of trauma that willhave long lasting effects on their physical, developmental and mental health.School personnel who are not aware of the youth‟s background may not understandreactive behaviors and refer youth to law enforcement for criminal prosecution.Such contact has the consequence of placing youth who are victims of abuse andneglect into the school to jail pipeline.Goal 10 of “A Guide to Improve Educational Opportunities for Florida’s FosterYouth” states: “Youth are educated in a trauma-sensitive environment thatrecognizes the root cause of inappropriate behaviors and provides appropriatebehavioral supports that create a safe environment conducive to learning ratherthan punishing youth for acting in response to their anger and hurt” 40
  • Reference: A Guide to Improve Educational Opportunities for Florida‟s Foster Youth(2009).We often forget that children in foster care have undergone not only trauma, butloss and grief. Schools and other providers must ensure that we do not re-traumatize youth, but provide other options rather than punishing behaviors bysuspension or expulsion.Trauma-Informed Care in the School Environment Involves sensitive listening & responding Uses strengths-based/resiliency approaches Uses a collaborative problem solving/relationship model Builds skills and empowers youth, staff, & caregivers Provides recognition, caring & support of youth, staff, & caregivers Involves rethinking “token systems” and punitive consequences Includes spaces where children can calm and comfort themselves Involves being able to identify “triggers,” and calming strategies Shares knowledge of when & where to refer for empirically proven servicesReference: Hummer, V. (2009) Creating Trauma-Informed Care Environments in Schools Version: CreatingTrauma-Informed Care Environments: A Curriculum. Tampa, FL: Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute,University of South Florida.Trauma-Informed Child Welfare PracticeThe trauma informed child welfare worker: Understands the impact of trauma on a child‟s behavior, development, relationships and survival strategies Can integrate that understanding into actions and planning for child and family Understands his or her role in responding to child traumatic stress All professionals who work in and with the child welfare system must take into consideration the child‟s developmental level and reflect sensitivity to the child‟s family, culture and languageReference: Hummer, V. (2010) Trauma-Informed Responses to Children during and after Removal; ppt.presentation for DCF Family Safety Regional Trainings in June, 2010. Available at Care for Foster Parents Ensure that all stakeholders involved with the child‟s education are aware that the child has suffered trauma and may exhibit behaviors. Identify triggers for the child (parent visits, holidays, etc.) that may impact the child‟s behavior and inform the appropriate people at the school. 41
  • The Code of Student ConductIt is very important that every youth and his/her caregivers review the Code ofStudent Conduct. It is distributed to students at the beginning of each year and acopy of it can be found online for Orange County Public Schools at and the School District of Osceola County at .The Code of Student Conduct outlines expectations of students and serves as aguide for parents and caregivers to understand discipline standards, expulsionprocedures as well as school calendars, graduation requirements and specialprogram offered by the district.Zero ToleranceThe school board views criminal acts, or threats of such acts and acts which mayaffect the health, safety and welfare of those on school board property, schoolsponsored transportation, or during a school sponsored activity, as extremelyserious in nature. In addition to administering the most severe consequencesprovided for by school board policy, the following acts shall be reported to theappropriate law enforcement agency or the school resource officer (SRO) that isassigned to the school: Homicide (murder, manslaughter) Sexual battery Armed robbery Aggravated battery Battery or aggravated battery on a teacher or other school personnel Kidnapping or abduction Arson Possession, use, or sale of any firearm Possession, use, or sale of any explosive device (destructive devices)Zero tolerance is enforced when a student engages in one or more of the followingbehaviors: Weapons - The child carries a weapon on school grounds or to a school function Drugs – Knowingly possesses, uses, sells, a controlled substance in school or at a school related activity Serious bodily injury – inflicting serious harm to someone at school or at a school activity.Note: If a child engages in one of the behaviors above they may be placed in aninterim alternative educational setting for up to 45 days or possibly berecommended for expulsion. 42
  • Disciplinary ActionsThe Code of Student Conduct Manual describes in detail the infractions and thecorresponding options the school will consider for disciplinary action. Possibleactions include a wide range from consulting with caregiver, to suspension andexpulsion. Please see the Code of Student Conduct for specific information. TheCode of Student can be found online for Orange County at: and Osceola County at: and Expulsion for Children with Special NeedsA child who has an IEP or is suspected of having a disability cannot be suspendedfrom school for more than ten school days in the same school year as specified inSection 230.2316(4)(c)3.5., Florida Statutes. In the case of less seriousinfractions, schools can address the misconduct through appropriate instructionaland/or related services. These could include conflict management, behaviormanagement strategies and measures such as study carrels, time-outs andrestrictions in privileges, so long as they are not inconsistent with the childs IEP.The school district must convene an IEP team meeting to develop abehavioral assessment plan if the district has not already conducted a functionalbehavioral assessment and implemented a behavioral intervention plan for thechild. If a child with a disability who is being removed for the 11th cumulative schoolday in a school year and has a behavioral intervention plan in place, the schooldistrict must convene the IEP team to review and modify the plan and itsimplementation as necessary to address the behavior. Students must be told of suspension and be given the opportunity to present their side. Principal makes a determination of guilt and discipline response and must report to parent in writing within 24 hours of suspension. Student and parent have the right to conference upon request of parent to appeal action. This request must be made within three school days.A child who has an IEP or is suspected of having a disability cannot be expelled.Whether or not the behavior was a manifestation of the student‟s disability, schoolpersonnel may remove a student to an interim alternative educational setting for upto 45 school days, if the student: carries a weapon, knowingly has or uses illegaldrugs, has inflicted serious bodily injury upon another person while at school, onthe school premises or at a school function. 43
  • Dress CodeOrange County Public Schools:Student DressThe dress and grooming of Orange County Public Schools students shall contributeto the health and safety of the individual, promote a positive educationalenvironment and not disrupt the educational activities and processes of the school.These minimum standards of dress and grooming apply to all students in the publicschools of Orange County, unless a specific exemption is granted by the principal.Any request for an exemption shall be made to the principal.1. Clothes shall be worn as they are designed-suspenders over the shoulders, pantssecured at the waist, belts buckled, no underwear as outerwear, no underwearexposed.2. Clothing with holes, tears, or inappropriate patches will not be allowed ifconsidered obscene.3. Bare midriffs and bare sides should not show even when arms are extendedabove the head.4. Clothing normally worn when participating in a school sponsored extracurricularor sports activity may be worn to school when approved by the sponsor, coach, orprincipal. Examples would be cheerleader, drill team and band uniforms, teamshirts, etc.5. Clothing that is too tight or revealing is unacceptable.6. Garments and/or jewelry which display or suggest sexual, vulgar, drug, alcohol,or tobacco-related wording/graphics or may tend to provoke violence or disruptionin school shall not be worn.7. Gang paraphernalia, jewelry, tattoos, clothing or other insignias which display,suggest, provoke, or may tend to provoke violence or disruptions are not allowed.8. The following items have potential to cause disruption or threat to a safe andpositive school environment and are prohibited.a. Hats, caps, visors, sunglasses, or bandanas while on campus during the schooldayb. Chains hanging from the neck, belt, pocket, or attached to walletc. Jewelry that contains any type of sharp object9. Hemlines of shorts, dresses, skirts and skorts shall be no shorter than mid-thigh.10. Clothing must follow the four finger wide rule at the shoulders.11. Shoes shall be worn. The following are not acceptable: a. Thong sandals (K-8) b. Cleated Shoes (K-12) c. Backless Shoes (K-8) d. Heeleys [shoes with wheels (K-12)]Individual schools are expected to use the district dress and grooming guidelines asminimum standards, but are encouraged to extend their own standards to meet theuniqueness of their school community. 44
  • Information for the Orange County Public Schools dress code and other policies areavailable at District of Osceola CountyThe Osceola County School Board will continue the following uniform policy forall elementary, middle and high school students for the 2010-2011 schoolyear:Navy blue or khaki pants, walking shorts, slacks, skirt, skorts, jumper, orsimilar clothing made of twill, corduroy, or blue denim fabric. (A small logo isacceptable)White or navy blue shirts with collars such as a polo, oxford, or dress shirt (Asmall logo is acceptable)Schools have the option of adding one or two shirt colors to reflect their schoolcolors and schools could permit students to wear school-sponsored T-shirts onFridays or school spirit days that the school principal designates.The policy also includes the following: The size of shirts and pants must be appropriate to the student‟s body size and not oversized or undersized. Shirts must be tucked into the waistband of the pants or skirt. Exceptions will be allowed in individual cases at the principal‟s discretion. Pants or shorts with belt loops must be worn with a belt so that the waistband is worn at the waist and not below. The hem of the girls‟ skirts or dresses must be no shorter than mid- thigh. Elementary and middle school students‟ footwear must be closed toe and heel athletic shoes. High school students may also wear sandals provided they don‟t interfere with the safety and welfare of the student and the school‟s administration allows such. Platforms and shoes with wheels may not be worn. Clothing can be purchased from any retailer or vendor. School administrators have final authority to decide if clothing complies with the rules.No student will be denied attendance at school or be penalized for failing towear a school uniform due to financial hardship. Each school and SchoolAdvisory Council will be developing procedures and criteria to offer assistanceto these students. Foster parents should talk to their case manager if theyneed assistance getting the school uniform. Foster parents can also notify their 45
  • school principal if assistance is needed. This and other parent resources forthe School District of Osceola County are available at: PolicyOrange County Public Schools:TruancyIf a student is required by law to attend school, the school will not suspend thestudent for unexcused absences or truancy. However, if a student arrives at schooland then leaves campus, has temporary absences from classes, or fails to attendspecific classes, the school can take disciplinary action. Florida Statutes requires thesuperintendent to report to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehiclesthe name, date of birth, sex and social security number of all students (14-18 yearsof age) who accumulate 15 unexcused absences in any 90 calendar day period.These students could lose driver‟s licenses. In addition, parents of habitually truantstudents are subject to actions taken through the judicial system.For Orange County, The entire attendance policy can be found in the Student Codeof Conduct at: District of Osceola County:TruancyParents are responsible for the regular attendance of their children. If a student hasfive (5) or more unexcused absences within a calendar month or ten (10)unexcused absences within a ninety (90) day calendar period, the student‟s primaryteacher shall report to the principal that the student may be exhibiting a pattern ofnon-attendance.Absences are considered excused only when there is illness or injury to the studentor illness, injury, or death in the immediate family of the student.The entire attendance policy can be found in the Student Code of Conduct at: (pages 12-16). 46
  • Children who are in foster care often have encountered numerous barriers to theirschooling including multiple moves, unstable family environment, lack of supportand school readiness in the home and/or abuse and neglect. It is important that allparties involved with the child‟s well being (school, foster parents and casemanagers) observe and assess the child to determine if he/she might have specialneeds that require additional evaluation. The school may make this determinationon their own and request to move forward with evaluation. However, sometimes itwill be the foster parent or case manager who identifies special needs. In this casethey will need to bring it to the attention of the school and request an evaluation(discussed at length in the IEP section).Developmental MilestonesThe following indicates some milestones and their ages that may assist inidentifying if a child may need an assessment for special needs:SEEING Unable to locate or pick up small SPEAKING objects which have been dropped By age one, cannot say "Mama" and Holds his/her head in a strained or "Dada" awkward position when trying to By age two, cannot say the names of look at particular person or object a few toys and people Sometimes or always crosses one or By age three, is not speaking in both eyes short sentences By age four, is unable to answerHEARING simple questions By 6 months old, does not turn his/her face to the source of strange THINKING sounds or voices By age one, does not react to his/her Has frequent ear aches or draining name when called form the ears By age two, cannot identify and Talks in a very loud voice point to hair, eyes, ears, nose and Always turns the same ear toward a mouth sound he/she wishes to hear By age three, is unable to identify or sort by color, size or shapeMOVING By age four, cannot answer By 9 months, is unable to sit up questions like "What do you do when without support: By 18 months, you are sleepy?" or "What do you do cannot walk around without when you are hungry?" assistance 47
  • PLAYING By age one, does not play games HEALTH AND MEDICAL such as waving "bye-bye," peek-a- Has a physical condition that boo or pata-cake requires the daily use of a By age two, does not imitate wheelchair, braces or other parents performing household medical equipment chores Has a medical condition, such By age three, does not know what as severe asthma or seizures, toys can and cannot do, or does which prevents participation in not use toys appropriately a typical preschool setting By age four, does not like to, or does not know how to, play with other childrenIt may be difficult to decide whether a pre-school aged child‟s behavior isconsidered to be typical and acceptable for their developmental stage. Thefollowing list of behaviors includes warning signs of potential problems that mayinterfere with a childs early education. Difficulty interacting with peers and adults Avoids playing with other children Demonstrates restlessness or limited attention Difficulty understanding or using language o Trouble following directions o Trouble Answering or asking questions Difficulty participating in age appropriate activities Spontaneous speech is not easily understood by others Demonstrates atypical behaviors o Lining up toys o Repeating movements o Repeating words or phrases(Please See Next Page.) 48
  • There are additional indicators for older children. Possible Indicators by Age Group Grades 3-8 High School Letter or number reversals, Spells incorrectly; frequently spells the Extremely difficulty to read same word differently in a single piece handwriting, of writing Trouble copying from the board Is able to answer questions orally, The student has good attendance and but has trouble getting the completes assignments but cannot information down in writing/ Poor pass the FCAT; or the student is recall of previously learned working hard, completing school work information but is still failing Shows signs of poor self-esteem and/or hides or covers up The student appears to be intelligent weaknesses (e.g., acts out in class and articulate but is unable to read, with inappropriate behaviors or is the write, or spell at grade level class clown) Easily frustrated and emotional about Noncompliant behavior/ inappropriate school, reading, or testing reactions to directions Inability to build or maintain Overly trusting; easily led by peers/ friendships with peers or inability to poor social judgment, Inability to respect the personal space of others resolve problems with peers Avoids reading aloud or writing; Difficulty with concepts such as: main idea, summarizing and abstract conceptsResponse to Intervention (RTI)If a parent requests an immediate evaluation within the sixty (60) daytime frame during or prior to the RTI process, is the school obligated todefault to the discrepancy model?“The Florida Department of Education hopes that RTI is utilized and/or is successfullong before a request for an evaluation occurs. However, in accordance with SBER6A-6.03018, FAC and the IDEA 2004 Federal Regulations, the 60-day timeline mustencompass RTI practices. The 60-day requirement in Florida stipulates that if theparent requests an evaluation before the interventions have been completed, thedistrict must complete the general education interventions concurrently with theevaluation but prior to the determination of the student‟s eligibility.”Reference: 49
  • RTI is a process that refers to how well students respond to research-basedinstruction. The purpose of the program is to provide a safety net for at-riskstudents, some of whom have learning disabilities or behavioral problems. Thegoal of RTI is to prevent problems and intervene early so that students can besuccessful. RTI is implemented differently between counties, however operatesunder the same basic principles.The student must be provided instruction through techniques that are scientificallyproven. The student‟s progress must be monitored. If a student does not respond,the school does a psycho-educational evaluation to determine whether or not adisability exists.The core principles of RTI in academic and behavioral structures: 1. We can effectively teach all children 2. Intervene early 3. Use a multi-tiered model of service delivery 4. Use a problem-solving process to make decisions within a multi-tier model 5. Use scientific, research-based validated intervention and instruction to the extent available 6. Monitor student progress to inform instruction 7. Use data to make decisions 8. Use assessment for screening, diagnostic and progress monitoringRTI is a three tiered system that where each tier builds on each other and providesmore intensive levels of support. Tier 1 includes high quality instruction, Tier 2includes additional targeted, supplemental instructions/interventions and Tier 3includes intensive interventions. 50
  • Tier 1Core instruction is delivered with fidelity to all students. It includes whole and small group differentiatedinstruction including common behavioral expectations that are appropriate for the full range of learners.Tier 2Supplemental intervention is provided in addition to core instruction. Intervention is targeted to students‟academic and/or behavioral needs and delivered in small group settings. Progress is carefully monitored.Tier 3Intervention is targeted to specific skills and delivered with high intensity including explicit small groupinstruction (1-5 students), with increased frequency and duration and offered by highly qualified teachers.Goal setting addresses targeted learning gains in academic and/or social/emotional literacy development.Progress is closely monitored with graphing.Reference: Orange County Public Schools 51
  • Individual with Disabilities Act (IDEA) of 2004IDEA is a federal law that ensures that all children with a disability are entitled to afree appropriate public education provided in the least restrictive environment.It allows students to have equality of opportunity and full participation in society.In Florida, students who need special individualized help at school are served inexceptional student education. This service is often referred to as ESE orsometimes called special education. The purpose of exceptional student educationis to help the child progress in school, meet his/her goals and prepare for life afterschool.Programs and services are available for students ages 3 through 22 with autismspectrum disorder, developmentally delayed, emotional behavioral disorders,hearing impairments, cognitive disabilities, multiple disabilities, orthopedicimpairments, other health impairments, specific learning disabilities, speech orlanguage impairments, traumatic brain injuries and visual impairments. Servicesare available for infants and toddlers with vision and hearing disabilities.The primary focus of ESE is to help students access the general educationcurriculum. A student‟s primary educational need(s), identified in an IndividualEducation Plan (IEP), are met through the use of nationally recognized curriculumand behavioral approaches that are research-based and exemplify best practices.Eligible students are served in the least restrictive environment, as appropriate tothe student‟s identified needs.Screening, evaluation and referral services are available to preschool children agesthree through five at Early Intervention Services (407) 317-3503.Accommodations and ModificationsAccommodations are changes in how a child is taught or tested. Examples ofaccommodations include using books-on-tape, having extra time to complete testsand using a behavior contract. Modifications are changes in what a child isexpected to learn. Modifications include working on below-grade level curriculum,completing only some of a courses requirements and taking other tests instead ofthe FCAT statewide tests taken by most students. However, a student may not beprevented from taking the FCAT merely because he/she has a disability, rather anindividualized determination must be made. 52
  • Related ServicesRelated Services are special kinds of help your child may receive in addition toclassroom teaching. Here are some examples of related services: Orientation and mobility services  Transportation  Interpreters for the deaf  Student counseling  Evaluation service Assistive technology services  Occupational therapy  Physical therapy  Nursing serviceIndividual Education Plan (IEP)Every child with a disability who is eligible for exceptional student education (ESE)will have an individual education plan (IEP). An IEP is a written plan for the specialeducation of a child with a disability. In addition, the IEP outlines what kind of helpyour child needs to learn as well as the services and interventions that are needed,including goals, behavioral plan when necessary and transitional plans at age 14.An IEP begins with a request for an assessment and follows with assessments ofthe child. This also includes an IEP team, comprised of representatives from theschool as well as the birth parent if parental rights are intact (foster parent, relativecaregiver, or surrogate parent could act as the parent if the birth parent rights havebeen terminated or the court has deemed them unfit to do so) as well as theprimary caregivers while the child is in care. This team collaboratively develops theplan and goals.Note: If the child is age three to five years, the IEP team may develop a FamilySupport Plan (FSP) instead of an IEP.Consent for Placement & ServicesConsent is required in order to conduct an assessment for development of an IEP. The school must obtain parental consent before conducting the initial complete psycho-educational evaluation. The parent consent for the initial complete psycho-educational evaluation is not consent for the child to receive special education services. After the first IEP has been written, the parent/foster parent/relative caregiver must give consent for their child to receive ESE services.Below is a sample letter that can be individualized for each student. This letter isjust a guide. In order to consent for an evaluation the foster parent or educationalsurrogate must sign the letter. The letter can either be brought to the school or 53
  • mailed by certified mail. It is important to obtain some proof from the school thatthe letter was dropped off. Foster parents/case managers should keep a copy ofthe letter for their records.All consents and notifications should be documented in writing.Example letter of request for a psycho-educational evaluation:Date:_______________, PrincipalSchool Name (Elementary/Middle School/ High School)School AddressDear _______________I am the parent/caregiver of (child‟s name), a student at (school name) in ___grade. I am requesting a full psycho-educational evaluation for my child.I am making this request because I believe my child may have disabilities that areaffecting my child‟s education. (Describe the suspected disability or diagnosedproblem- examples: ADHD; speech/language impairment; reading difficulty;social/emotional difficulties; behavior problems; failing a class; physical disability;suspension/expulsion.)I hereby give my consent for the evaluation. I understand that state regulationsprovide that the initial evaluation must be completed within 60 school days fromthe date of my consent.Please call me to discuss the best way to move forward with the evaluation.Sincerely,Your nameAddressPhone numberEmail addressThe Individual Evaluation An individual evaluation is a method of collecting information about a child‟s learning needs, strengths, problems and interests. The evaluation may include test, observations, interviews, or other ways of gathering information. In order for a child to be individually evaluated, the parent or guardian (can be foster parent or relative caregiver) must give written consent. 54
  • Eligibility DeterminationAfter evaluation, the school holds a meeting called an “eligibility staffing” meeting.The purpose of this meeting is to discuss information collected about the child anddetermine if any services need to be implemented. The birth parent, foster parent,relative care giver and case manager can all participate in the staffing and voicetheir opinions. However, the birth parent or the person acting in their stead(foster parent, relative caregiver, or surrogate parent) must sign theforms. The IEP team, including the birth parent or foster parent/ relative caregiver,determines whether the child is eligible for ESE services.Who cannot sign IEP documents as a Parent or SurrogateParent? Dependency Case Manager Agency personnel Operators or staff of residential facilities Guardian ad Litem, unless trained and appointed as a surrogate parents Attorney ad Litem/child‟s attorney, unless trained and appointed as a surrogate parentsTimeframesSchool districts have 60 school days after parent or person assuming this rolerequests the evaluation and provides their consent. School districts have 90 daysfor suspected gifted students. The school must notify parents 10 days prior to theIEP meeting occurring.Tips for Preparing for the IEP Meeting The IEP meeting is extremely important; therefore parent/ guardian attendance is essential. The parent or person assuming this role should be an active participant and a good listener. Work with the team to discuss information about the child in order to develop the IEP. Ask questions and share important insights about the child; such as the child‟s behavior at home and in the community, as well as the child‟s activities of interest. Discuss the child‟s strengths, needs and any concerns about the child‟s education. Make sure you understand what is occurring during the meeting. If doubtful, please alert the parties involved. If the parent or person assuming this role disagrees with the proposed IEP, they should not sign it at the IEP meeting; you can refuse to consent and/or have the 55
  • right to take the proposed IEP document home for review. The school should be notified as soon as possible to resolve the disagreement. Stay informed whether the child is making progress toward meeting the annual IEP goals and whether progress is enough to reach the goals. An IEP progress report can be requested during grading period intervals if not send with progress report/report cards. If the child is not making adequate progress, an IEP meeting should be held to review the IEP and make changes upon request. Request an independent educational evaluation if there is disagreement with the school‟s evaluation.Tips for Students with a Transitional IEPWhen a child reaches 14 years of age, the plan is referred to as a transition IEP.During a transition IEP the student has the right to: Be invited to attend their IEP/Transition IEP meetings. Be involved in the development of the post–school outcome statement. Have needs, preferences and interests considered in the development of the IEP/Transition IEP. Provide input in the development of the goals and other components of the IEP/Transition IEP. Provide input regarding transition service needs that focus on course study. Provide input regarding which type of diploma will be pursued.Top 10 Items That Must be Included in Your Child’s IEP1. Current performance How the child is currently doing in school. This can come from: classroom tests and assignments, individual tests given to decide eligibility for services or during reevaluation and observations made by parents, teachers and other school staff.2. Annual goals These are goals that the child can reasonably accomplish in a year. Goals may be academic, address social or behavioral needs, relate to physical needs, or address other educational needs. The goals are broken down into short-term objectives or benchmarks. The goals must be measurable (meaning that it must be possible to measure whether the student has achieved the goals.)3. Special education and related services It must list the special education and related services to be provided to the child. Ex: supplementary aids and services that the child needs. It can also include supports for school personnel-such as training or professional development in order to better assist the child. 56
  • 4. Participation with non-disabled children The IEP must explain the extent (if any) to which the child will not participate with non-disabled children in the regular class and other school activities.5. Participation in state and district-wide tests The IEP must state what modifications are needed in the administration of testing or assessments. If a test is not appropriate for the child, the IEP must state why the test is not appropriate and how the child will be tested instead.6. Dates and places When the services will begin How often will they be provided Where they will be provided How long they will last When the child‟s IEP must be updated by (at least annually)7. Transition service needs Starting at age 14 (or younger, if appropriate), the IEP must address the child‟s wishes and post-school goals. There should be a statement of transition services/ needs8. Needed transition services Beginning when the child is age 16 (or younger, if appropriate), the IEP must state what transition services are needed to help the child be ready to leave school What needs to be done to achieve these goals for the student? Ex: invite a representative from the local community college to attend the IEP meeting9. Age of majority Beginning at least 1 year before the child reaches the age of majority; the IEP must include a statement that the student has been told of any rights that will transfer to him at the age of majority.10. Measuring progress How will the child‟s progress be measured? How will the parent(s) be informed of that progress?Renewal of the IEP AnnuallyOnce an IEP is established, the IEP team meets to discuss the child‟s learning gainsand areas for improvement. This information is used to develop a new IEP. Theannual goal should be realistic and functional. Therefore, the same goal should notbe “confirmed” year after year. Equally important is for the parent (personassuming the role) to ask for a re-evaluation at any time, if the child‟s need haschanged since the last IEP was written. 57
  • Three-Year ReevaluationThe school must reevaluate a child who has an IEP at least every three years to findout if the child is still in need of ESE services and how the needs have changed.Maximum Age Requirements for ServicesIDEA 2004 requires school districts to provide a Free Appropriate Public Education(FAPE) to all students with disabilities until age 22, or until a standard diploma hasbeen obtained. This will depend on the individual districts‟ rules.Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA)/BehaviorIntervention Plan (BIP)A Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) is a process that identifies the functionsor reasons for problem behavior and what factors maintain the behavior that isinterfering with the student‟s educational progress. A team conducts a functionalbehavioral assessment (FBA) and implements a behavior intervention plan (BIP);these plans must incorporate positive behavioral interventions and supports. Teamsare generally composed of a combination of students, teachers, students‟ parentsor guardians, administrators, mental health professionals, community agencyrepresentatives and other interested parties.The FBA Process: Parent notification of intent to conduct an FBA and obtain consent Indentify which behaviors most impact a child‟s progress. Interviews, school records, behavior observation documentation and incidents reports will help with defining the target behavior. Collection of observable and measurable data relevant to the problem. Data may include: charting the frequency and duration of the behavior, who was involved, what happened before and after the behavior, recent changes in student‟s life in or out of school and other related sources. Formulation of hypothesis of possible reasons for the problem behavior A written Behavior Intervention Plan identifying the new skill to be taught, modifications to instructional delivery, accommodations and other strategies developed by the team to help reduce the undesirable behavior Monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the designed BIP interventions If data is favorable the intervention continues. If data is not favorable the team needs to reevaluate the plan. 58
  • Section 504Section 504 is a civil rights law. The purpose of Section 504 is to protect individualswith disabilities from discrimination for reasons related to their disabilities. TheAmericans with Disabilities Act (ADA) broadened the agencies and businesses thatmust comply with the non-discrimination and accessibility provisions of the law.EligibilityThe child who has a disability or impairment does not automatically qualify forspecial education services under the IDEA. If the child has a disability but does notneed special education services, the child will not qualify for special education andrelated services under the IDEA but may receive protections under Section 504 ofthe Rehabilitation Act.To be eligible for protections under Section 504, the child must have a physical ormental impairment. This impairment must substantially limit at least one major lifeactivity. Major life activities include walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing,learning, reading, writing, performing math calculations, working, caring for oneselfand performing manual tasks. The key is whether the child has an "impairment"that "substantially limits . . . one or more . . . major life activities."Section 504 requires an evaluation that draws information from a variety ofsources. Section 504 does not require a meeting before a change in placement. A504 Plan is developed for students who meet eligibility criteria.If the child has a disability that adversely affects educational performance,the child is eligible for special education services under IDEA. Children who areeligible for special education services under IDEA are protected under Section 504(but the converse is not true).If the child has a disability that does not adversely affect educationalperformance, then the child will not be eligible for special education servicesunder IDEA but will usually be entitled to protections under Section 504.What is a 504 Plan?A 504 plan is a legal document that outlines a plan of instructional services forstudents in the general education setting. Students with ADHD often have a 504plan. While not an IEP, the document usually describes the types ofaccommodations that will be made for a student in school.For more information contact the school district‟s Section 504 coordinator; theFlorida Department of Education‟s Student Support Services office at850.922.3727; the Florida Department of Education‟s Office of Equity and Access at850.245.0511; or the U.S. Department of Education‟s Office for Civil Rights at404.562.6350 or e-mail 59
  • Child FindChild Find is a continuous process of public awareness activities, screening andevaluation designed to locate, identify and refer as early as possible all youngchildren with disabilities and their families who are in need of Early InterventionProgram (Part C) or Preschool Special Education (Part B) or services throughIndividuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).Who is Covered by Child Find?Child Find explicitly states that IDEA includes “wards of the State” and “highlymobile children”. Schools are required to locate, identify and evaluate all childrenwith disabilities from birth through age 21. The Child Find mandate applies to allchildren who reside within a state, including children who attend private schoolsand public schools, highly mobile children, migrant children, homeless children andchildren who are wards of the state.All children suspected of having a disability, including children who receive passinggrades and are "advancing from grade to grade." (34 CFR 300.111(c)) The lawdoes not require children to be "labeled" or “classified” by their disability. (20U.S.C. 1412(a)(3)(B); 34 CFR 300.111(d)).Each student‟s progression to the next grade level is determined upon proficiency inreading, writing, science and mathematics, including specific levels of performanceon statewide assessments at selected grade levels. Retention decisions are basedon more than a single test score. Students who do not meet these performancelevels must receive remediation or be retained within an intensive program that isdifferent from the prior year‟s program. For retained students in all grades,subsequent during-year promotion is permitted if performance requirements aremet. The principal has the responsibility for all final decisions regarding initialplacement, non-promotion and promotion with remediation. Decisions will be basedon the instructional needs of the child.If a third-grade student does not achieve above a Level 1 on FCAT Reading, thestate requires mandatory retention to extend the time of skills preparation so thatthe child will be ready for performance in the fourth-grade curriculum. Six good-cause exemptions are defined regarding second language learners, exceptionaleducation students, the use of alternative test scores or a portfolio of student workshowing mastery, or prior history of retentions as specified in the law.For grades 4 and 5, if a student does not achieve a score on FCAT Reading abovea Level 1, the student will be retained unless an exemption criterion is met. Theseexemptions are similar to the good cause exemptions for third grade. 60
  • To be promoted in grades 6 through 8, middle school students must score abovea Level 1 in FCAT Reading and successfully pass the equivalent of four full-yearcourses, three of which must be from the areas of English/language arts,mathematics, science and social studies. Exemptions from retention are similar toexemptions listed above. In May 2009, an eighth grader will need to have passedthree courses in English, mathematics, science and social studies during the middleschool years in order to be promoted. A semester course on career and educationalplanning will also have to be successfully passed.Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT)All students enrolled in Florida public schools take the FCAT in grades 3 through 10.Students take the FCAT Writing assessment inFebruary and the FCAT Reading, Mathematics and Do everything you can toScience assessments in March. Third grade students ensure that the child’smust earn a FCAT Reading score of Level 2 or higher placement or school is noton a scale of 1 – 5 in order to be promoted to fourth disrupted before or duringgrade. Graduating seniors must pass both the FCAT testing. thReading and Mathematics sections of the 10 gradeFCAT or provide concordant scores to graduate from high school with a standardhigh school diploma. Concordant scores are obtained through the SAT or ACT. Aconcordance study is an accepted statistical linking procedure for converting scoresfrom one standardized test to another. Using this procedure, two tests are linkedtogether through an analysis of student test results based on students who havetaken both tests. Scores are considered concordant if they have equal, or close toequal, percentile ranks.The scores can be used as a substitute for the 10th grade FCAT mathematics orreading exams. Students have the opportunity to retake the 10th grade FCAT inOctober and March of both their junior and senior years of high school. To beeligible to use FCAT concordant scores, a student must take the Grade 10 FCAT atotal of three times without earning a passing score.Beginning July 1, 2010, students who have not passed the FCAT maysubstitute concordant passing scores at any time. Concordant Scores by Graduation Year Reading Mathematics 2009-10 2010-11 2009-10 2010-11 FCAT 1926 1926 1889 1889 SAT 410 420 370 340 ACT 15 18 15 15 guidance regarding how to use FCAT concordant scores is posted at 61
  • Preparing for the FCAT: Communicate with the teachers to determine which skills may need a bit of extra practice. Find out if there is any tutoring available at the school prior to FCAT. Encourage the child to use the FCAT Explorer ( at home and at school. Its a free service from the Florida Department of Education and provides excellent practice with FCAT questions. Talk to the child about the importance of the FCAT. Build the child‟s self esteem and build confidence in their abilities. Know what days the FCAT will take place and ensure the child is present.The night before an FCAT testing day: Make sure the child gets plenty of sleep the night before, at least 8 hours. Make sure the child eats breakfast each morning; this is important for the brain. Make sure the child gets to school on time for each FCAT testing day. Send the child to school prepared (glasses, sweater, snack, pencils, etc.) Encourage the child to do the following during testing: listen carefully to the teachers instructions, follow directions and use the test-taking strategies learned.FCAT Accommodations for students with disabilities:Testing accommodations are available for any student who: has a current Individual Educational Plan (IEP) or 504 plan has been assigned to a special programView this document online for a description of FCAT accommodations: Assessments for Instruction for ReadingBeginning in the 2009-2010 school year, The Florida Assessments for Instruction inReading was made available to school districts. This is a new comprehensive K-12assessment system that provides teachers with assessment tools to supportinstructional decision-making in reading which can be given three times a year.In Grades K-2, this includes tasks using: Letter Sounds, Phonemic Awareness andWord Reading. In Grades 3-12, this includes an adaptive reading comprehensionmeasure. This reading Comprehension Screening will predict student success on theFCAT and will also provide a Lexile score for each student.Low performance on the Broad Screening measures will indicate the need forfurther assessment. Progress monitoring measures will be available to assessstudent progress between administrations. 62
  • Diploma OptionsThere are several diploma options in Florida schools: Standard diploma- Must earn 24 credits in specified classes. Must earn a 2.0 GPA. Must pass the 10th grade FCAT (can get a FCAT waiver in special circumstances; or provide concordant scores). Special Diploma- No specific credits need to be earned. Does not count as a high school diploma or GED. Will not allow access to community college. Some of the alternative schools offer special diplomas and some students in ESE programs are geared toward the special diploma. GED- High school equivalency diploma. Can‟t take the GED until after the age of 16. Only under special circumstances approved by the Superintendent can a youth under the age of 18 withdraw from high school and take the GED exam instead. Special circumstances could include things such as pregnancy.Graduation RequirementsHigh School (Grades 9-12) Graduation Credit RequirementsIn order to graduate with a high school diploma, students must earn 24 credits: 4 credits of language arts 3 credits of mathematics* 3 credits of science 3 credits of social studies 1/2 credit of personal fitness* 1/2 credit of physical education* 1/2 credit of fine arts* 1/2 credit of practical arts 1/2 credit of life management skills* 8 1/2 credits of electives**For students entering 9th grade in 2007-08 and years after, the following creditchanges are in force: 4 credits in mathematics, 1 credit in PE and health components, and 1 credit in fine arts. Required credits have been deleted in personal fitness, practical arts and life management skills.New revisions for high school graduation also include that 8 of the 24 graduationcredits be in major/minor areas of interest (academic, career and technical, or fineand performing arts) and electives as selected by the student as part of thepersonal education plan. To be awarded a high school diploma, in addition toearning the required number of credits, students must attain a 2.0 cumulativegrade point average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale and earn a passing score on the FCAT (orprovide concordant scores).A Certificate of Completion, instead of a regular diploma, is earned if, along withthe required credits, either a passing FCAT score or a 2.0 GPA is achieved. 63
  • A Three-Year Graduation Plan with a college or career preparation emphasis isavailable. Certain statutory requirements must be met including entry FCAT 3scores, specified enrollment times, defined courses to total 18 credits and gradepoint average maintenance.High School Attendance After Age 18Youth have the right to stay in high school until their 19th birthday. If the youthhas a disability, they may remain in school through the school year in which theyturn 22.GED ProgramThe GED is an alternative to a high school diploma. Successful preparation for theGED exam is the key. This program is designed to help improve reading, writing,social studies, science and mathematics skills. To accommodate busy schedules,day and evening programs are offered. In Orange County call (407) 841-8324 or goto In Osceola County call (407) 932-1911 or visit GED Pre-Assessment Test is available to find out if a student may be ready topass the official GED Test. It consists of 16 questions and will take approximately20 minutes to complete. You will be able to find out your results right away. Followthe link for instructions. Username is gedelc Password is successMost questions on the GED Tests are provided in a multiple choice format. The onlyexceptions are Part II of the Language Arts, Writing Test, which requires an essayand the Mathematics Test, which requires that some answers be calculated andinserted in a grid. Students must achieve an overall score of 2,250 on the GEDtest. For recorded information, please call 407-317-3985TEST ITEMS TIME LIMITLanguage Arts, Writing, Part I 50 Questions 75 minutesLanguage Arts, Writing, Part II Essay 45 minutesSocial Studies 50 Questions 70 minutesScience 50 Questions 80 minutesLanguage Arts, Reading 40 Questions 65 minutesMathematics, Part I 25 questions with optional use of a calculator 45 minutesMathematics, Part II 25 questions without a calculator 45 minutes 64
  • Registration:Students must apply in advance (in person) and present positive photo I.D. (Floridadriver‟s license, Florida State I.D.) and social security card.Steps to Register for GED Preparation (Online)Orange County Call Central Admissions at 407-841-TECH, or visit one of our technical centers. Request an appointment with a counselor. Student Services Hours: Monday- Thursday, 8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Complete an "Initial Application Form." Provide two forms of identification (One must be a photo ID) Pay appropriate application fee, $15 for GED Students must take a TABE (Survey D) and score a 9.0 on the Reading level in order to participate in GED Prep Online. ABE courses are available online for remediation. Counselors/Teachers will utilize TABE scores to guide students in making academic and career choices. If a student scores 9.0 or lower on the TABE, the counselor may recommend Adult Basic Education (ABE) classes, which are also offered online. Click here for more information on ABE registration.For more information, email or call (407)317-3200 Ext.2828.Osceola County Visit the school office located at 2320 New Beginnings Road on the ALCO campus. Provide photo I.D. (Florida driver‟s license, Florida State I.D.) and social security card. Schedule orientationFor additional information please contact 407-518-8140Steps to Register for GED TestOrange County (1) 18 years of age or older Contact a technical center Bring official withdrawn from a high school program Sign for test Provide two forms of identification (One must be a photo ID) 65
  • Pay fee (2) 16-17 years old with permission as provided for in School Board Policy 5125(b). Students may only be admitted under extraordinary circumstances and by special petition approval / Request an appointment with a counselor Visit one of the technical local schools with parent or guardian Meet with a counselor If eligible, student will be given a packet Submit packet with request (must provide proof of previous efforts; for example: credit retrieval courses such as summer school and computer based program and official withdrawn). Sign all documents ( student and parent/guardian) The process will take a couple of weeks for review Student will receive a letter with final decisionOsceola County (1) 18 years of age or older Visit the school office located at 2320 New Beginnings Road on the ALCO campus Needs to be withdrawn from a regular high school program Provide photo I.D. (Florida driver‟s license, Florida State I.D.) and social security card (2) 16-17 years old can choose from the following options: Challenger Endeavor Adult High School *Additional information on these programs is provided under the Alternative School section.*In the State of Florida GED candidates must be at least 18 years of ageunless they have been granted a GED age waiver by the local School Board.All Children in Foster CareTransition planning and services are necessary to promote successful post-schooloutcomes. Transition planning occurs within the school and within foster care for avariety of needs, such as aging out of foster care, returning to home and education.The school system develops an education and career plan known as the ePEP. Thisplan, developed by the youth and school, is to be completed initially by the age of13. The plan is kept in an online document, accessible to the student at 66
  • The plan is used to guide the student into relevant course workgeared toward their career interests and major chosen. This plan can be adaptedand revised as needed.Foster Care Independent Living services require that transition planning begin foryouth in state care beginning at age 13 and include an education/career plan basedupon both the abilities and interest of the youth. The child, caregivers, casemanager and school system should be involved in developing the plan.Independent Living Coordinators assigned to each youth lead the process andsubmit plans to the CMO case manager for inclusion in court documents.Students with a DisabilityWithin the education system, transition planning is often associated with IEPs. InExceptional Student Education (ESE), the IEP becomes known as the transitionplan beginning at age 14. These plans are the same as an IEP that occurs prior to14, but require a component of the development of an education/career plan. ESEchildren that are 14 and older must be invited to their transition IEP Meetings andare expected to attend.A transition IEP must take place no later than age 14 and every year after, untilgraduation. This meeting is important because it is a plan for the child‟s futureafter completing high school. In order for this plan to be successful aftergraduation the team needs to make significant preparations and outline the stepsthat are needed to be taken. This meeting is part of the child‟s IEP or 504 Plan.It is important to discuss the topics listed below with the child in order to developtransition services that are meaningful for the child‟s future. The following is a briefdefinition of each area that should be discussed with the child:  Instruction – whether vocational, community college, or a university courses  Community Experiences – this includes community service, cultural, recreational activities  Post school/ Adult Living –what kind of living arrangements is the child likely to need: i.e. apartment, group home or shared peer living arrangements  Employment - on-the-job training, internships, It is of great or job shadowing importance to get the  Daily Living Skills – learning skills necessary child connected early for independent living with the appropriate  Functional / Vocational Evaluation - how to agencies that may be use public transportation needed after school ends. Many of theThe IEP/Section 504 plans must clearly state all agencies have waitinginteragency responsibilities for the provision of lists that can be manytransition services. years long.The transition team needs to include the student, the caregiver, teacher, counselor, 67
  • therapist, case manager and representatives from any agency that will be providingservices to the child to implement the transition plan.Many foster youth are eligible for a tuition exemption (free tuition) and fee waiversto a state post-secondary school and state education programs. Youth are eligibleif they: are in foster care on their 18th birthday are living with a relative on their 18th birthday and were placed there by a dependency court judge have spent at least 6 months in foster care after their 16th birthday and were then placed in guardianship by the courtYouth should also apply for financial aid using FAFSA. FAFSA, the Free Applicationfor Federal Student Aid is the form used by all students (not just youth in fostercare) to apply for financial aid. Most foster youth who complete a FAFSA will receivea Pell Grant, which helps cover the additional costs such as books and housing.The University of Central Florida maintains detailed information on post-secondaryopportunities for youth in foster care as well as detailed resources on the financialaid assistance. Waivers apply specifically to state schools and programs, however,scholarships and financial aid are often available to foster youth. In addition, thereare several independent living assistance programs that may be able to providefinancial assistance such as Road to Independence and Transitional Support funds.Consult with a case manager or independent living coordinator for details andassistance with tuition waivers and funds to support education.Advocacy Center for http://www.advocacyce The Center has freePersons with brochures/documents to download.Disabilities, Inc.: The Center also offers an advocacy service that can be used when there is a dispute with a school regarding services related to a child‟s disability.Educational websites These websites provide homework help and educational games for children. www.aplusmath.comFamily Network on A statewide network of families andDisabilities of Florida individuals of all ages who may be at- risk, have disabilities, or have special needs and their families, professionals and concerned citizens. The website offers resources, upcoming events/training and free on-line 68
  • tutorials.Family Services of http://www.fsmetroorla Provided under the foster parentMetro Orlando resources tab there are educational resources including an electronic version of this manual.FCAT Practice Test Websites provide FCAT practice tests www.fcatexplorer.comFlorida Diagnostic and FDLRS offers training, family support,Learning Resource integration of assistive technology andSystem (FDLRS) classroom consultation.Florida Inclusion http://www.flordainclusi FIN provides learning opportunities,Network consultation, information and support to educators, families and community membersIndependence Project http://tip/ TIP assist young people with emotional(TIP) and/or behavioral difficulties in making a successful transition to adulthoodKnowHow2GoFlorida http://knowhow2goflori This site provides resources for children in foster care wanting to go to college. Provides information for foster youth from a peer perspective.Legal Center for Foster and Education ducationNational Center for The Center provides research,Homeless Education che resources and information enabling communities to address the educational needs of children and youth experiencing homelessness. The organization also has information and trainings on the Mckinney-Vinto Act.Orange County http://www.orangecoun Orange County Government websiteGovernment, Florida provides a comprehensive list of blications.aspx government resources available to the community.Orange County Public www.ocps.netSchoolsOCPS Career and Technical training at OCPS offers aTechnical Training wide range of programs for adults and secondary students including career training, continuing education and personal enrichment classes.Parenting www.connectingwithkid s.comThe School District of http://www.osceola.k12Osceola County Community VCC provides support services toCollege (VCC)- students with disabilities in meetingOffice for Students with course and/or program requirements.Disabilities 69
  • Funding for tutoringThe foundation for foster children can provide funding through the fostering successgrant. These grants provide for in-home tutoring, unmet medical needs,enrichment and normalcy opportunities such as summer camps, class pictures,athletic program fees and uniforms, music and dance lessons among other activitiesthat give foster youth the self esteem they need to succeed. The foundation paysthe service providers directly and receives the assessments back. Tutoring is thebackbone of this program as we all know how critical education is to success.Contact your case manager to ask about this possible tutoring opportunity. Call407-422-4615 or for any additional questions.SEDNETCounty public school systems contract with private agencies to provide additionalsupport services to students who are struggling with social, emotional, behavioraland educational issues. The different private agencies provide counseling, casemanagement and behavioral support. If a child is in need of these services theparent and/or guardian should contact the school to discuss service needs. Theschool will then complete a referral form and connect to one of the school-basedproviders. The provider will then contact the parent and/or guardian to set upservices.Contact for SEDNETOrange, OsceolaTracy Pellegrino, MSWProject Manager550 S. Eola DrOrlando, FL 32801ph: 407-897-6440 ext.<> 70
  • Orange County Public Schools 2010-2011 School CalendarMonday-Friday August 16, 17, 19, 20 Pre PlanningWednesday August 18 Staff Development DayMonday August 23 First Day of SchoolMonday September 6 HolidayFriday October 15 Statewide Professional Day Student Holiday Teacher Non WorkdayThursday October 28 End of 1st Marking Period (47 days)Friday October 29 Student Holiday Teacher WorkdayMonday November 1 Begin 2nd Marking PeriodMonday November 22 Student Holiday/Teacher Non WorkdayTuesday November 23 HolidayWednesday-Friday November 24-26 Thanksgiving BreakTwo Weeks December 20-31 Winter BreakMonday January 17 HolidayThursday January 20 End of 2nd Marking Period (43 days)Friday January 21 Student Holiday Teacher WorkdayMonday January 24 1st day, 2nd semesterMonday February 21 HolidayThursday March 24 End of 3rd Marking Period (43 days)Friday March 25 Student Holiday Teacher WorkdayMonday-Friday March 28-April 1 Spring BreakMonday April 4 Begin 4th Marking PeriodMonday May 30 Student/Teacher HolidayWednesday June 8 Last day of school End of 4th Marking Period (47 days)Thursday-Friday June 9-10 Post Planning1st Semester: 90 Days (47/43)2nd Semester: 90 Days (43/47)Paid Holidays for 10-month Instructors: Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, New Year‟sDay, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Fall Holiday, Memorial Day 71
  • Exceptional Student Education Acronyms and DefinitionsAssistive Technology Evaluation and Management (ATEAM): A teamdesigned to assist ESE students, staff members and parents with assistivetechnology and services. For example, evaluation and/ on consultation; training;coordinating interventions; and technical assistance.Attention Deficit /Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): A disorder where theessential feature is a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity.Child Study Team (CST): A team of professionals at each school who implementinterventions and make recommendations for students referred to learning and/orbehavioral problems.Emotional Behavior Disorder (EBD): An emotional and behavioral disorder is anemotional disability characterized by the following: Withdrawal or anxiety, depression, problems with mood, or feelings of self- worth; Disordered thought processes with unusual behavior patterns and atypical communication styles; or Aggression, hyperactivity, or impulsivityA child with EBD is a child who exhibits one or more of the above emotionally basedcharacteristics of sufficient duration, frequency and intensity that interferessignificantly with educational performance to the degree that provision of specialeducational service is necessary. EBD is an emotional disorder characterized byexcesses, deficits or disturbances of behavior. The childs difficulty is emotionallybased and cannot be adequately explained by intellectual, cultural, sensory generalhealth factors, or other additional exclusionary factorsEducable Mentally Handicapped (EMH): One who is mildly impaired inintellectual and adaptive behavior and whose development reflects and reducedrate and learning.Emotionally Handicapped (EH): An emotional handicap is defined as a conditionresulting in persistent and consistent maladaptive behavior, which exists to amarked degree, which interferes with the students learning process and which mayinclude but is not limited to any of the following characteristics: An inability to achieve adequate academic progress, which cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems. 73
  • Deaf or Hard - of- Hearing (DHH): One who has hearing impairment aided orunaided, that interferes in processing linguistic information and which adverselyaffects communication, developmental skills, academic achievement, vocational –career skills, or social emotional adjustment.Intelligence Quotient (IQ): A score obtained from an intelligence test that isadministered to measure a student‟s potential for learning.Physically Impaired (PI): The term physically impaired includes students whoare orthopedically impaired, students who are other health impaired and studentswith traumatic brain injury.Profoundly Mentally Handicapped (PMH): One who is profoundly impaired inintellectual and adaptive behavior and whose development reflects a reduced rateof learning.Resource Compliance Specialist (RCS): An employee responsible for conductingplacement and IEP meetings for ESE students, assisting school personnel inscheduling, completing ESE paperwork and complying with laws and rules in servingESE students.Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD): One who has a disorder of theheterogeneous group of psychological processing disorders manifested bysignificant difficulties in the acquisition and use of language, reading, writing, ormathematics.Speech and Language Impaired (SLI): One whose impairments are defined asdisorders of language, articulation, fluency, or voice which interfere withcommunication, preacademics or academic learning, vocational training, or socialadjustment.Trainable Mentally Handicapped (TMH): One who moderately or severelyimpaired in intellectual and adaptive behavior and whose development reflects areduced rate of learning.Varying Exceptionalities (VE): A class consisting of more than oneexceptionality.Education Liaison ContactsOrange County Osceola CountyPh: (407)331-8002 ext. 144 Cell:(407)286-9518 Ph: (407)790-1461Ph: (407)931-2911 ext. 127 Cell:(407)754-8691DIRECTIONS : Th is form s h ou ld b e com p leted b y th e ch ild w elfa re p la ce m e n t w ork er. Th is form isto b e com p lete d for a ll ch ild re n en terin g ca re a n d b ein g p la ced in a lice n s ed ou t of h om e fos ter 74
  • h om e , a ls o for a ll ch ild re n a lre a d y in ca re w h o a re m ovin g to a n ew licen s e d fos ter h om e. Th e form s h ou ld b e com p leted , w ith th e cou rt ord er a tta ch ed a n d p rovid ed to th e fos ter p a re n t w ith in 2 4 h ou rs of th e ch ild e n te rin g th e h om e. Th is form w ill a llow a ch ild to b e en rolled in s ch ool w ith ou t ANY d e la y . Please have court orders attached. Date: Student Last Name: Student First Name: Student Date of Birth: Student School ID: Sex: Current Grade: Previous School:FAST PASS County of Previous School: School Child will Attend: Foster Parent Name: Foster Parent Address: Foster Parent Phone #: Case Manager Name: Office Phone #: Mobile Phone: Supervisor’s Name: Sup. Phone #: Comments: Special Needs: ESE ELL 504 Plan Have parental rights been terminated? Yes (attach court order) No Is there a court order prohibiting/limiting natural parent or other person from contact with the student? Yes (attach court order) No Comments: Persons authorized to sign non-ESE school consent forms (Code of Student Conduct, Permission for Field Trips, etc.) include all representatives listed below: 1. 2. 3. Persons listed below are authorized to pick up this child from school: Print name and title of person completing this form: 75
  • ORANGE COUNTY SCHOOL REGISTRATION FORM for Children in Licensed Out of Home CareDIRECTIONS: This form should be completed by the child welfare agency for all children entering care and placedin a licensed out of home foster home and for all children already in care who are moving to a new licensed fosterhome. The form must be completed and the court order attached and provided to the foster parent within 24 hoursof the child entering the home OR must be completed and dropped off at the child’s school. This form will allow achild to be enrolled in school without ANY delay and should automatically enroll the child into free/reduced lunch.Date: Student ID#: ___________________________Student First Name:_____________________________ Student Last Name:______________________DOB: Sex:________________Assigned School based on placement:Previous School: County:_______________ Withdrawn Y/NName of Foster Parent: If no, contact previous school and get childFoster Parent Address: withdrawn immediatelyFoster Parent Phone #: (work)______________ (home)_______________ (cell)__________________Case Manager Name: Phone #:Supervisor’s Name: Phone #:Special Needs: ESE(Exceptional Student Education) ESOL(English Speakers of Other Languages) SOCIAL MEDICAL EMOTIONAL OTHER(describe below)___________________________________________________________________________________Surrogate Parent Assigned? NO YESIf yes Name and Phone:_______________________________________________________________Have parental rights been terminated? NO YESIs there a court order prohibiting/limiting birth parentor other person(s) to have contact with student? NO YES (If yes, provide copy of order.)Persons authorized to sign non-ESE school consent forms (Code of Conduct, permission for field trips, etc.)Include all Family Service of Metro Orlando and contracted agency representatives and the foster parent listedabove.1. _____________________________________________________2. _____________________________________________________3. _____________________________________________________Persons listed below are authorized to pick up this child.1. _____________________________________________________2. _____________________________________________________3. _____________________________________________________Name of Person Completing Form:_______________________________________ Date:______________Title:__________________________ Agency______________:_____________ Phone:____________If child remains at same school but information changes about the court order, case manager and/or fosterparent, fax revised form to Maggie Reynolds at 407-836-7494 within 72 hours. May, 2010