It is good practice to have your independent assessor include a classroom observation as part of an assessment. Otherwise, your expert will be subject to attack by the district for giving an opinion from a clinical perspective that is not relevant to what happens in the classroom. If an observation is too expensive or time consuming, the assessor should at least communicate with teachers and other service providers to support the conclusions and/or recommendations of the independent assessment.
If the school district observed the child as part of its assessment or if the district’s assessment procedures make in-class observation permissible, an independent evaluator has the same right to observe a child in his current or proposed educational placement whether or not the independent assessment is conducted at public or private expense. This right exists whether or not a due process hearing has been requested. [Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56329(b) & (c).]
If the school district refuses to permit the independent evaluator to visit a site as part of an independent assessment, you could file a compliance complaint with the Department of Education (CDE) or a motion with the Office of Administrative Hearings to enforce this right. See Chapter 6, Information on Due Process Hearings/Compliance Procedures.
The right to observe a proposed placement also applies to school districts. If a parent is proposing that a school pay, or reimburse the parent, for the costs of a private school placement, the district is entitled to observe that proposed private school and/or to observe the student in the proposed private school if the parent has already placed the child there. [Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56329(d).]