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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Home Education and ESE Services FAQ

This notice was just issued by the FLDOE today. The information will be archived at Learning is for Everyone's Homeschooling in Florida pages for future reference:

Dear Home Educators

The Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice has issued a new “Frequently Asked Questions” document relating to Home Education and ESE Services in Florida.  I have attached the document for your convenience.  This helpful FAQ will also be posted on the School Choice Web site at http://www.floridaschoolchoice.org/Information/FAQs.asp and http://www.floridaschoolchoice.org/information/home_education/. 

If you have any questions, let me know!  Thank you all for your hard work out there!

Christopher Fenton
Educational Policy Analyst
Office of Independent Education & Parental Choice
Florida Department of Education
School Choice Hotline: (800)447-1636
Fax: (850)245-9134


Home Education and Exceptional Student Education Services

Frequently Asked Questions
1. What should parents do if they suspect their child has a disability?

The parent should contact the exceptional student education office in the district in which they reside and request that the child be evaluated.

2. What is required of the parent as related to the evaluation process?

The requirements related to evaluation are described in State Board of Education (SBE) Rule 6A-6.0331, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C). Before an evaluation can be conducted, the school district must obtain informed consent in writing from the parent. The parent may be asked to provide information from the child’s portfolio or student records and may also be asked to complete checklists and/or informal observations. Parental consent must be obtained before any information regarding a home education student is shared with the school district.

Once the parent has provided written consent, the formal evaluation will begin. Specific evaluation procedures and eligibility criterion for each disability category are described in the respective SBE rules for that disability. For some disability categories (e.g., emotional/behavioral disabilities; specific learning disabilities), a key component of the evaluation and eligibility determination is analysis of the student’s response to well-delivered, scientific, research-based instruction and interventions. This requires that the parent work with the school district to ensure that this information is available.

3. How long does the school district have to complete the initial evaluation?

The school district must complete the initial evaluation within 60 school days that the student is in attendance after the school district’s receipt of parental consent. For PreK children, initial evaluations must be completed within sixty school days after the school district’s receipt of parental consent for evaluation. (6A-6.0331(3)(d), F.A.C.).

4. After the evaluation is conducted, what happens next?

The parents will be invited to attend a meeting in which the school district staff will review the outcome of their child’s evaluation. Following that review, a determination will be made regarding whether or not the child is considered an eligible child with a disability as defined by Florida State Board of Education Rules.

5. What is the school district’s obligation if the child is eligible for services?

The school district is not obligated to provide services to children in home education programs. If the parent of a child currently enrolled in a home education program chooses to enroll the child full time in a public school, the school district must ensure that a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) is made available to the child.

6. Can a district enroll and report a student part-time only for the ESE services that they provide?

Yes. The district may choose to enroll the child on a part-time basis for services provided through the public school and report the student for state funding through the Florida Education Funding Program (FEFP).

7. Whom should a parent contact if they have questions or need additional assistance?

For home education questions, contact your local district home education office which can be found at the following link:

Information pertaining to exceptional education and student services in your local district may be found at the following link:

Information related to parentally placed students in private schools can be found at the following link:

If further information is required, contact the Department of Education:

Laura Harrison – Director of Scholarship Programs, Private Schools and Home Education
Phone: (850) 245-0502