IEP/504 in the Alameda School District

Parent Q&A

  • I requested a special education assessment for my 2nd grader from Alameda Unified and they set up a student study team meeting. We explained all of his many complicated challenges including several specific learning disabilities, and how they impacted his learning in school last year and now are worse with zoom. They kept asking if we had tried X Y Z to help, which we had, and then at the end didn’t even offer to actually assess him. When I insisted, citing IDEA, they responded that during COVID they are doing “robust record review” and “academic tests” instead of actually assessing children. They would not even agree to let my child miss more than 5 minute breaks of the 3 hour long large group zoom sessions, even when we told them he was screaming and crying and biting his own wrists when we tried to get him to participate. I was prepared to advocate for him and for push back, but this is beyond awful. Has anyone had success in getting meaningful assessment done during COVID or any other wisdom to share? I am consulting DREDF’s website and have the DRC guide as well. Thank you. 

    You obviously know that what they are doing is illegal, as you cited IDEA. The LAW HAS NOT CHANGED. You are 100% within your rights to get a thorough assessment of ANY ans ALL suspected disabilities. If the district refuses, you can get one and they will be required to pay for it. I'm glad you have DREDF and DRC information. As an additional resource, go to wrightslaw.com. We all know Covid 19 and distancing is hard on everyone, but your child deserves appropriate accommodations to access their education. Like I said, the laws have not changed!

    I recommend calling education lawyer Deborah Jacobson (https://www.jacobsoneducationlaw.com/). I paid for a couple of hours of her time, and it was the best money I spent throughout the entire saga of trying to get appropriate treatment and education services for my daughter. Her staff may be able to give you some pointers during an initial phone call, and would likely give you an honest assessment of whether it would be worth your while to hire the firm. Can't recommend her enough.

    No advice but replying as I'd like to get other responses too. I have a second grader who we were trying to get assessed via OUSD last year, first his first grade teacher had a heart attack (now recovered, thankfully, but we had 3 months of subs) then the pandemic. We keep getting punted back to SSTs but insisted on at least a 504 this year. The school has done the 504 but says they can't do Special Ed assessment during COVID. I've heard rumors (including on an NPR story) that some EB districts *are* doing assessments but can't figure out how to make this happen nor how pushy to be. Luckily or unluckily we aren't in the same situation in OUSD with the level of requirements you seem to have in AUSD in that my son can dip in and out as he needs to to attendance hasn't been a problem. Happy to connect offline directly as well.