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Ask an Expert: Finding the right Cherry Creek school

EdNews Parent editor Julie Poppen translates advice offered to this Aurora parent from Cherry Creek schools.

Q. I am looking for a Cherry Creek elementary school with a strong special education program for my first grade son with ADHD and autism. I am interested in any elementary schools that foster or allow a non-conventional learning environment within the classroom. I believe my son would greatly benefit from being able to stand to do his work, lay down to do it or sit on an exercise ball chair. The school he is currently at is not willing to deviate from the “norm” and it is hindering his growth drastically.

A. Thank you to Frances Woolery-Jones, director of Student Achievement Services in Cherry Creek School District, for taking a stab at this question.

Here is her response:

“When looking at our elementary schools in Cherry Creek to accommodate for a child with Autism and ADHD, the IEP (individualized education program) will dictate the kinds of services and accommodations needed. This includes various accommodations for the general education classroom (e.g. balls in lieu of chairs, allowances to stand at times of the day etc.).

We have a continuum of services at every elementary school, and all but a few of our elementary schools have ILC (individualized learning center) programs that serve students with various disabilities, including highly impacting disabilities. Prior to any movement, it would be best to complete an IEP review to determine accommodations and services needed.

Additionally, distinct from the IEP process, is the school of choice process. This would include application procedures for schools outside the typical attendance area or charter schools or magnet schools with unique qualifications and curriculum such as Challenge or Rocky Mountain  School of Expeditionary Learning.

The processes to access a school different from your school of residence. If you live in the district, the process is to submit an electronic School of Choice application between Jan. 1 and Feb. 1 for the following school year, or an electronic intra-district transfer request at other times throughout the year. In either of these processes, students can access another school on a space-available and current staffing allotment basis. However, in the case of parental choice, transportation is not available.

For those not living within the district, a non-resident application, is a request that must be renewed annually. Electronic non-resident applications are available each year from April 1  to Aug. 1 and the building principal has until Oct. 1  to make a decision for acceptance or denial based on space availability within the current programming and staffing.

To initiate any of these processes, please visit the district admissions website for Cherry Creek Schools.”

Thank you Cherry Creek. Parents who have gone through this process please add your insights by making a comment.

About our First Person series:

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