School’s Back! Three Hot Topics Every Parent Should Know About

During our recent Live Chat with special education advocate Dr. Sarah Pelangka, BCBA-D and owner of  Know IEPs, she outlined three hot topics parents should know about before school starts. Also check out the five essentials parents should keep in mind as kids return to school! (If you missed the Live Chat or want to re-watch it, see the recording here!)


  Independent study

Governor Newsom has mandated that all schools offer independent study for students who are medically compromised or otherwise unable to return to in-person learning. 

  • This mandate does not apply to charter schools. 
  • Districts are required to offer parent-teacher conferences to discuss learning options 

Read more at the California Department of Education’s website.


  Compensatory education

During the pandemic, all children experienced similar barriers to education, but some children, such as English language learners, Black and Latinx students, and students with disabilities, reported less teacher interaction or participated in fewer live classes.

If you feel like your child was denied FAPE (a free, appropriate, public education), it may be beneficial to contact your district about receiving compensatory education due to the fact that aspects of your child’s IEP were not met. 



Most of the assessments done in the last year and a half were not valid due to circumstances caused by the pandemic. Safety precautions such as masks, plexiglass barriers, and virtual assessments may have interfered with their validity. 

To ensure your child has valid results in their file, you can request a reassessment for your child. Dr. Pelangka advises parents to let students re-acclimate to in-person learning for about 30 days before requesting another assessment. 

Did these tips help you feel more prepared? What did you find most helpful? Do you have any lingering anxiety? Let us know in the comments!

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