News & Resources


Best Practices for Virtual Schools with Students with Disabilities as Suggested by the OSERS

  • August 22, 2016

August 22, 2016

In a recent Dear Colleague letter, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education (Department) reminded the California Department of Education, other state educational agencies, and local educational agencies (LEAs) that students with disabilities in virtual schools, including charter schools, are protected under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) and entitled to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE) all the same.  The Department advises LEAs that have authorized charter schools to operate virtual programs as schools of their district to carefully review their policies and procedures compliance with the IDEA at virtual schools.  It recognizes challenges, for example, discharge of child find duties without reliance solely on parent referrals, but otherwise lacks specificity or guidance as to how to hand unique issues in providing FAPE to students who have chosen to attend virtual public schools.

Please contact a DWK attorney, should you have any questions about implementing this guidance.

  • Students and Special Education
  • Charter Schools