Special Education Schools Enrollment & Referral Process

As special education experts for more than 40 years, we understand the importance of family engagement when it comes to a child’s development and education. You are your child’s biggest advocate when it comes to helping him or her receive the best, most appropriate education possible to grow and achieve maximum potential.

Referral to Sheppard Pratt's Special Education Programs

With the exception of private payers, nearly all referrals to Sheppard Pratt special education programs are made as a result of an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Once an IEP is put in place, the local school system representative will contact our school program if they think a student may be a good fit and send a packet of information for our school’s admissions staff to review. Because we know how important your child’s education is to you, we do our best to respond within 72 hours of receipt of the referral to schedule a tour and a pre-enrollment meeting with both the parent/guardian and child. 

Private payers can call our schools’ offices directly and request to speak with the school’s education and/or program director or the admissions coordinator. Contact information for our schools can be found on their individual school pages. 

IEP Process

If you’re a parent who thinks their child may need access to a special education school, or if you just think your child may need an IEP to obtain the best education in his or her local school, we recommend reading “Understanding the Evaluation, Eligibility, and Individualized Education Program (IEP) Process in Maryland,” a guide for parents of students with disabilities written by the Maryland State Department of Education.

If you think your child may need an IEP, your first step is to contact your child’s principal or the local special education administrator in writing. In your note, it’s important to request an evaluation of your child, making sure to specify your reasoning as to why you believe an evaluation is necessary and any efforts that have been made thus far to help address the concerns.

Once a written request is submitted, an IEP team is formed. The team is comprised of the parent or guardian of the child with special needs, at least one regular education teacher if the child is currently enrolled in a regular education program, at least one special education teacher or provider, a representative of the local education agency, someone to interpret the evaluation results, as well as any other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child, as identified by the parent or agency. The team will work together to develop a plan of learning goals and objectives (IEP), based on your child’s current performance related to his or her disability, and will have the opportunity to make modifications and recommendations to your child’s current school environment to ensure these goals and objectives can be met successfully.