· Can my child’s IEP be implemented at this site? Does the school offer the class type/ratio listed on your child’s IEP? Can the school offer the related services your child is mandated for (number of sessions per week, correct length of sessions, group vs individual sessions, push-in vs pull-out)? Can the school serve all the health and physical management needs listed on your child’s IEP?
· Is the staffing appropriate? Is the staff trained to accommodate your child’s communication, health, behavior, and safety needs? If there is more than one teacher, are both teachers there all day? What role do classroom paras play? Is there special education support during ‘specials,’ like music or art? Who will be with your child during lunch and recess, for bathroom trips, to and from the bus, and between classes?
· Is the peer group appropriate? Enrollment obviously changes a little from year to year, but based on the current peer group: What are the behavior management needs in the classroom and how are they managed? What is the age range? Where is the class academically in terms of math and reading? How many students have IEPs? How many students total? What classifications do children in the class have? How many children are verbal? What behavioral or social expectations will your child have to meet to be successful in this class? Will your child have access to other kids who make sense as learning peers?
· Is the physical classroom space appropriate? Is the classroom large enough to accommodate the students and children comfortably and safely? Is there light? Is there a sensory break space? Are there appropriate seating and work spaces for your child? Where is the bathroom in relation to the classroom? What kinds of toys, books, puzzles, and other materials are in the classroom and do they make sense for your child’s level of functioning? What physical modifications are made for children with adaptive, sensory, and physical differences? If 1:1 related services are provided in the classroom, where does that take place?
· What other settings will my child be educated in? If related services are pull-out, are those rooms appropriate (noise, equipment, etc.)? Will your child be able to get adaptive physical education or regular PE outdoors or in a gymnasium, and how many other children will be using that space when your child is there? If your child moves between classrooms for different subjects, where are those rooms in the building and does someone accompany your child? Will your child be using elevators and stairwells? How many students are in the halls between classes?
· What methodology and modifications are used in the classroom? Is there a specific methodology the teacher uses? How does the teacher modify curriculum or organize the classroom to support the students?
· What common spaces will my child use and how? How big is the school? How many students are in the building in total? What is the age range of the students in the building? Where will your child eat snacks and meals, how will they get there, and who will supervise them? If there is a cafeteria, how many other students eat at the same time? Where is bus line-up and how is that managed? Where is recess, how is it supervised, and how many other students will have recess with your child?
· Are there safety concerns? What is the school’s safety record (injuries, elopement, etc.)? How many exits does the building have and how are they secured? How are halls, stairwells, closets, elevators, windows, etc. supervised and secured? How are allergies managed?
· Is the school accessible? Can your child physically navigate this environment as independently as they are capable of?
· What are the inclusion opportunities? For self-contained placements, what opportunities are there for your child to interact with mainstreamed peers? Will your child participate in all school functions, extra-curricular opportunities, and school trips?
· How far from my home is the school and how long will it take my child to get here?
After you have toured, you will need to decide if you want to accept the district’s placement offer. If you decide to reject it, you should consult with your attorney or advocate about your next steps.