Frequently Asked Questions

kids outside activityWhere can I find updates related to the 2020-2021 school year?

Please refer to our School Year 2020-21 Updates section.

How do I find out if my child is eligible for special education services?
  • Must be a Cambridge resident.
  • Submit a written request via mail to Frank Alves at Office of Student Services, 135 Berkshire Street, Cambridge, MA 02141.
  • In the letter, be sure to include:
    Name of Child
    Child’s date of birth
    Child’s current school
    Child’s grade level
    List of parent concerns (i.e. why do you feel your child needs to be evaluated?)
    Parent contact information (e.g., name of parent/guardian, address, phone number, and email).
How do I register for school when my child has special needs?
The first step is to enroll with the Student Registration Center. Their website outlines all the documents needed to enroll in Cambridge Public Schools. You will also need to sign a release of records, and bring documentation (signed IEP, reports) of your child’s special education needs. 

Do I get to pick my child’s school?
You will be able to identify your top three school choices through the SRC registration process. If your child has an IEP, Ms. Singh will review the services outlined and make sure they can be met in the school, or recommend a school with a similar program to what is outlined in the signed IEP. Most students are able to have their needs met in a school parents have selected. 

What services can be provided at each school?
Based on student need, we have staff able to provide numerous services. Each school has access to special educators, occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech and language pathologists, school adjustment counselors/school social workers, assistive technology specialists, behavior specialists, and school psychologists/team chairs. Service provided to students are based on their specific needs, but each school is well staffed to meet those needs. 

What is an IEP?
IEP stands for Individualized Education Program. Once a student has been found eligible for special education services, an IEP must be developed. The IEP must address the unique needs of the student and, therefore, must be tailored to the individual student needs as determined through the evaluation process. The IEP is not intended to be a daily, weekly, or monthly lesson plan but should provide a clear picture of the student’s current abilities and needs and should identify key goals and objectives that provide a direction and focus for the student’s learning over the next IEP period. If carefully and thoughtfully written, the IEP will serve as a vehicle for improving the educational experience and results for a student with disabilities.
(cite, MA DESE, 2001)

What if I think my child has special needs but doesn’t have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan?
Please call or email Meghan Singh, Teacher-in-Charge of School Entry, to discuss your concerns. Ms. Singh will review your concerns and develop a plan with you to determine the best next steps. You can request an evaluation at any time. 

My child has advanced learning needs. Who can help?
Every school is assigned a math and literacy coach, who assist teachers and administrators in providing the most appropriate, data-driven supports for students. Using a team approach, these coaches work with administrators, classroom teachers, and the district’s lead teacher for advanced learning services, who can make recommendations and train educators in providing specialized services.

My child attends a private school, but I think they need special education services. Do I have to register to get an evaluation?
No, you don’t need to register to have an evaluation completed. Please email or write to Frank Alves, Director of Student Services, with the following information:
  • Your name, address, phone number and email,
  • Your child’s name, date of birth, and the current school your child attends,
  • A detailed explanation of your concerns in order to plan an appropriate evaluation or response.
Will my child get transportation?
Students with IEPs that specify door-to-door transportation as determined by their school-based team in a signed IEP will receive this service. Other questions about transportation can be answered via the transportation department

What do I do if my child’s bus doesn’t arrive?
  • If your child is receiving transportation for an in-district school, contact Tina Fisher Supervisor of Transportation at 617.349.6862.
  • If your child is receiving transportation for an out-of-district school, contact Frank Alves at 617.349.6702.
What can we do after school?
After school care can be found via the Department of Human Service Programs, the Youth Centers, or Find It Cambridge. The family liaison at your new school can be a good resource to find after school programming. After school programming is not typically overseen by the Office of Student Services. 

How do I make a request for my child’s records?
  • Your child’s school needs to issue the parent/guardian consent form to authorize the release of student records. Once the parent signs that form, someone from your office will fax it to the Office of Student Services, Attn: Desiree Campbell at 617.349.6504 or via email. Once our office is in receipt of the form we will make a copy of the records and mail it to the child’s school.
  • If a parent is moving, the parent may visit the Office of Student Services at 135 Berkshire Street, Cambridge, MA 02141. The parent/guardian must show proof of identification. Our office will make a copy of the record upon receipt of identification.

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