• What Parents and Caregivers Should Know About Special Education in CMSD

    My child is enrolled in CMSD, and I believe they may have a disability. What do I do?

    First, write to your child’s principal expressing your concerns. Within 30 days of receiving this letter, the school will convene a meeting to review available data and information about your child. You will be invited to participate in this meeting.  This team is called the Student Support Team (SST).

    The team reviews all data and answers the following question: Is there evidence to suspect that a disability may exist that impacts the child’s academic performance?

    If YES, the School Psychologist will ask for your consent to conduct a multi-factored evaluation of your child. In 60 days, the team will meet again to review the Evaluation Team Report (ETR).

    If NO, you will be notified in writing of this determination. The school may make a plan for your child to receive interventions in the classroom. 


    My child has an IEP. I have a concern about their services. What do I do?

    You have the right to ask for a meeting of your child’s IEP team at any time if you do not feel that your child is receiving the appropriate supports and services to meet goals.

    Step 1: Speak with your child’s case manager or special education teacher.
    ➢ If you cannot resolve the concern through a conversation, try Step 2.

    Step 2: Ask the case manager for an IEP team meeting to address the concern.
    ➢ If there is no response, try Step 3.

    Step 3: Speak with your child’s Principal.
    ➢ If the concern is still not addressed, try Step 4.

    Step 4: Call the Special Education Department at (216) 838-7733. Your concern will be referred to one of our seven Special Education Program Managers who work directly with schools and families.


    What should I expect to happen before, during, and after an IEP meeting? 

    • You should be invited to an annual IEP review each year, and more often if needed. It is best to attend in person or video conference, but you may also participate by phone.
    • You should receive an invitation to your child’s meeting well in advance of the date. 
    • You should be asked to participate in the development of IEP goals. 
    • You should receive a draft of the IEP before the meeting takes place. 
    • At the meeting, you should be asked about your future plans for your child.
    • At the meeting, you should be able to review any data collected about your child. 
    • At the meeting, you should receive a copy of your Procedural Safeguards. 
    • After the meeting, you should have the opportunity to sign the IEP.  This may happen electronically (through DocuSign).
    • After the meeting, you should receive a signed final copy of the IEP and a Prior Written Notice (PR-01) summarizing the meeting.  The PR-01 should note any of your concerns that were addressed in the meeting.


    Documents that Parents and Caregivers Should Request and Keep

    • Signed Evaluation Team Reports (ETRs)
    • Signed IEPs
    • Prior Written Notices
    • IEP Progress Reports (8 per year)
    • Discipline Documentation
    • Work Samples
    • Notes from Teachers
    • Ohio Procedural Safeguards


    Need help understanding the IEP process? Want to learn how to advocate for your child?

    Call a Parent Mentor!


    Vision Statement

    The vision of the Parent Mentor Program is to help parents of children with disabilities effectively navigate the educational system through a partnership with districts to support the child in reaching their maximum potential.

    Mission Statement

    The Mission of the Parent Mentor Program is to encourage effective implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 2004) and other federal and state statutes. The mission will be accomplished by providing information and support to families and by creating a mechanism to convey the family perspective back to the system.

    Students are provided special education programs and services based upon:

    • Results of a Multi-factored Evaluation
    • Meeting eligibility requirements

    As the District strives to provide quality services to the students with special needs, teachers and administrators continue to view parent participation as a critical element in creating productive educational environments. Consistent with this mindset, the Department of Special Education and Intervention Services expands its services to enhance communication among families, teachers, and the community, via the Parent Mentor Program. Parent Mentors assist parents in understanding their rights, and the services available through the Division of Special Education.

    Parent Mentors

    • Serve as advocates for parents of special needs children.
    • Assist parents in preparing to be significant contributors at Individualized Education Program (IEP) Conferences.
    • Participate in IEP Conferences, upon request.
    • Describe and explain rules and policies of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District as they relate to Special Education.
    • Ensure that parents are aware of the types of Special Education programs available to students.

    Contact Us:

    Raychelle Fair
    Parent Mentor

    Saundra Jordan
    Parent Mentor