As many DC families know from experience, the start of the school year is often challenging for students. Transportation is frequently one of the things that makes it challenging. We hope that with this blog post we can give families some suggestions to make back to school easier, and some good news about transportation in DC.
If your child has an individualized education plan (IEP), you may need to contact your child’s school or Local Education Agency (LEA) to ensure he or she is provided transportation services to and from school at the start of the 2019-2020 school year. When you and the rest of your child’s IEP team created or updated your child’s IEP, the IEP team determined whether or not your child requires transportation services to access the special education and related services he or she is entitled to.
If your child qualifies for transportation services, your child’s school or LEA must submit a Transportation Request Form (TRF) to the OSSE Department of Transportation (OSSE-DOT) so OSSE can include your child when they plan transportation routes for the upcoming school year. OSSE has not received TRFs for many students who are entitled to transportation services through their IEPs, and recently sent a letters to parents whose school or LEA has not submitted a TRF. If your child’s school does not submit a TRF to OSSE-DOT, your child will not have a bus routed to them!
We encourage you to read the letter and contact your Special Education Coordinator at the school your child will be attending this upcoming school year to ensure that a TRF has been submitted on your child’s behalf. If you don’t know who to contact at your child’s school, you can contact OSSE-DOT to find out who the contact is. By doing this you will ensure your child receives the transportation services outlined in their IEP by the first day of school. For further information please see the OSSE Transportation Handbook for Parents and Guardians of Special Education Students and Questions and Answers about Transportation regarding transportation services your child is entitled to under federal law.
Additionally, OSSE-DOT has been working to improve their services by incorporating parent and student feedback. This summer OSSE is piloting a “parent portal” which will serve as a one-stop shop for parents to directly access and update information regarding their child’s transportation. OSSE is also continuing to develop an app for parents, similar to UBER or NEXTBUS, which will allow them to track the location of their child’s bus in real time. Yes parents – there will finally be an app for that!
We encourage you to contact the OSSE-DOT Parent Resource Center for parents and guardians of students with disabilities at (202)-576-5000 if you have any concerns about your child’s transportation, and regularly check this site for future updates to make your child’s transportation to and from school as seamless as possible.
AJE would love to hear from DC families about your experiences with transportation! Please consider completing this very short google form and sharing your transportation story today! You can also share this post and link with other DC families!