Your team agreed your child needs an outplacement. Perhaps your child’s needs can not be met in her current placement? Private day schools and collaboratives can unfortunately terminate a student for no reason with 30 days notice. They can also initiate an “emergency termination”.
Now what happens? An outplacement is usually a blessing, but it is work to get in place, unless your school district has already worked with one school and they have agreed that school is appropriate (and you have, too).
Districts send referral packets to private day schools and collaboratives they think might be appropriate based on the student’s needs. Parents and collaterals often participate in that process of determining potentially appropriate schools.
What is in that packet? Anything agreed can be sent. Typically, the IEP, progress reports and the last school evaluations as well as independent evaluations submitted to the school are sent so receiving schools get a sense of a student’s needs. Behavior plans and incident reports could be sent. Parents sign off on that release. Whether the separating is amicable or not, the outgoing school will usually not involve itself in the school search process, except to with consent speak to the potential school to ensure a smooth transition and before that to ensure the potential receiving school have up to date information and proper historical background.
A private school/collaborative who receives a referral packet then decides if it might be a fit. If so, it invites parents in for tour, sometimes with kids, and sometimes kids do visit after. The purpose is to then give the school information to bring to their admissions board/team to see if there will be acceptance offered, or not. That is usually done 1x per week. Advocates work closely with private day schools and collaboratives, as well as with your district, to ensure the process moves as expeditiously as possible.
Private day schools and collaboratives then say “yes” or “no”. They are under no obligation to accept any student, the obligation (arguably) is on the district to agree to fund any of the schools they send packets to who accept the student. The schools do not have to give reasons. They don’t even have to send letters saying “yes” or “no” to the parents. It’s like the college admissions process, without the benefit of a denial being written and sent often (ie: “At this time, we do not feel Joey is appropriate for our program”.
Whatever school parents choose, they should feel free to always consult a special education attorney and address issues with their school and home teams. Always have a “Plan B”. Educational consultants do an extraordinary amount of work talking to collaterals to give them information or work with them to describe the barriers and problem solve, if needed. You can not FORCE a school which has said “no” to say “yes”. It makes families appear very negative/pushy to the private day school. These schools have many candidates for limited slots and they are trying to choose who they feel is the most appropriate fit at this time. It is not like a public school where the service delivery grid travels with the student automatically. Often, private day schools who initially deny admission suggest a student re-apply the following year or two if they feel the fit is not right currently.