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Old 06-02-2012, 12:05 AM
 
10 posts, read 53,324 times
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Hi all,
We will be moving to NOVA in July 2013. My daughter is high functioning autistic and will have just finished 9th grade when we move. Our services in NJ are wonderful and I have been very pleased from the day we moved here from SoCal.

She will have a set IEP from NJ which the NOVA school district we choose, as I understand it, will have to honor. I have been researching test scores, etc from different HS and my head is spinning. The numbers can be deceiving. What I am really looking for is a special ed staff at a HS that really cares for their students. You can't measure that on any test scores. Of course the scores are important, but it doesn't tell the whole story.

From what I can tell the HS are very populated. My daughter's HS has a total of 1400 kids....... a lot of the "best" HS in Fairfax CO (where we would like to be) have upwards of 2000 kids, although records show that most the class sizes are 18-20. Her sensory issues may be a concern with all the hustle bustle. She is too high functioning for a special needs private school. She is on the honor roll, and has in-class support, but not a personal aide.

Does anyone have first hand experience with a special needs child in HS in fairfax co? I really need some advise. I was thinking about hiring Judith Greenberg at School Finders LLC out of Maryland (she covers NOVA). When I called and asked how her services work, she said she interviews the student and family at length, looks at current IEP, and then researches and suggests the best fit for the child based on her experience and reports, etc. I tried googling reviews on her/the company, but I haven't found any listed.

i would really appreciate any thoughts. I know that High School situations are much different than a child entering pre-school/elementary school. Thanks so much in advance. I am anxious to pin-point a location so we know where to look for housing.
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Old 06-02-2012, 05:48 AM
 
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A good bet might be to talk with someone at the FCPS Office of Special Education Instruction (571-423-4100). They should be able to give you an idea of what sort of programs and services they can provide in your situation and provide information about where the most suitable programs are available. Their webpage is here. In general, FCPS is thought to have very good special ed programs.
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Old 06-02-2012, 06:04 AM
 
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I believe the smallest high school in Fairfax County is Marshall, in Falls Church. However, most high schools are broken up into subschools, so they are almost like schools within schools. That makes the school feel smaller to some students.


Your daughter's new school will honor her NJ IEP until a new one is written. The entire IEP team will meet and will write an IEP together. You and your daughter are part of that team.



Most schools provide special services on the following levels:

~ Monitor/Consult-- a special educator is not in classes with the student, but does monitor his/her progress and does consult with the child's teachers regarding accommodations, annual goals, etc.

~ Special ed services in a general education classroom on an intermittent basis.

~ Special ed services in a general education classroom on a regular basis. These are the "team-taught" settings.

~ Special ed services in a special education classroom on an intermittent basis.

~ Special ed services in a special education classroom on a regular basis.

~ Preschool special education services in a natural environment.
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Old 06-02-2012, 06:18 AM
 
69 posts, read 197,953 times
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I second Saganista's suggestion. I would also ask about parent support groups for Fairfax County. They could give you a contact list which in turn you could use to directly contact parents in your situation.

Parents that are involved in these groups are much more experienced and honest about what type of support you'll receive at particular schools.

Here are just a few for that county:

Parents Of Autistic Children, Northern Virginia Chapter

AUTISM SUPPORT GROUP - PARENTS/CAREGIVERS

http://asnv.org/images/uploads/defau...ginia.docx.pdf

Education & Information

Our son is in middle school in another county so I can't give opinions on specific schools but we have had an amazing experience with the autism program at our son's school. One thing of note, not all schools provide autism services. They may bus you to another school that does. We are 10 mins from our school which is not in our district, however some children I know ride a bus for nearly an hour to get their schools. Don't assume every HS provides those services. This could vary by county but I know that's the case in Prince William.

They do have to honor your existing IEP. However, they will do another meeting to address any changes you might like to make considering the environment. For example, since the school is new, bigger, could overstimulate, you may want to get a "buddy" or assistant to help walk her to classes for a while.

Good luck in your search!!
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Old 06-02-2012, 07:19 AM
 
56 posts, read 100,720 times
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As stated above George C Marshall is the smallest school in the county but also # 3 in the county and #55 in the US according to new rankings by U.S. News & World Report.

There are lots of beautiful areas in Vienna and Falls Church that feed into Marshall. My 3 daughters went there, 2 had IEP's and I found the team there very caring and responsive
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Old 06-02-2012, 07:33 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
8,556 posts, read 12,638,406 times
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I'm wondering if a smaller school district would suit you better? Falls Church City Schools has their own district, and I believe the high school is on the small side. I don't know anything about their special needs services, but overall, the school and the district have a good reputation. Falls Church City is a small area, though, so it might be hard to find the right housing. Just thought I'd throw it out there.

ETA: The high school is George Mason, and has about 800-900 students in grades 8-12, compared to about 1700 at Marshall High School (grades 9-12). A negative, however, would be that it may be harder to start in 9th grade, since the rest of the students started in 8th.
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Old 06-02-2012, 07:48 AM
 
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Just a few factual updates. Marshall has around 1600 students, not 1700, and it's no longer the smallest HS in the county in terms of enrollment, as Falls Church is now smaller. However, the enrollment at Marshall is projected to increase to over 1800 in a few years due to the growth in the Tysons region.

Doesn't change the substance of what other posters have been telling you. Good luck.
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Old 06-02-2012, 07:58 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
8,556 posts, read 12,638,406 times
Reputation: 8320
Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
Just a few factual updates. Marshall has around 1600 students, not 1700, and it's no longer the smallest HS in the county in terms of enrollment, as Falls Church is now smaller. However, the enrollment at Marshall is projected to increase to over 1800 in a few years due to the growth in the Tysons region.

Doesn't change the substance of what other posters have been telling you. Good luck.
Whoops, sorry, I added up the general ed., ELL, and special ED students, forgetting that there is overlap.

And, also, I just realized that you said your child is entering 10th grade, not 9th, so George Mason might not be significantly worse in that respect (not starting school at the entry point year).
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:13 AM
 
10 posts, read 53,324 times
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THanks so much everyone for your comments. Just read them quickly right now, but will get more time in the next couple of days to read more thoroughly and ask some follow-up questions. Thanks!
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