School districts must offer a continuum of alternative placements. [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.115.] These placements could include:
- Instruction in a regular classroom;
- Related services (in California, these are called “designated instruction and services”) necessary to help your child benefit from special education (See Chapter 5, Information on Related Services);
- Resource specialist services, in which a school resource specialist provides specialized instruction and services to students who spend more than half their day in a regular classroom;
- Special classes that serve students with similar and more intensive educational needs;
- State special schools, such as the California School for the Deaf and California School for the Blind;
- Home instruction; instruction in hospitals or institutions, such as medical facilities, state hospitals and developmental centers, and juvenile schools;
- Placement in appropriate nonpublic, non-sectarian schools when no appropriate public-school placement is available; and
- Out-of-home residential placement, including non-medical care and room and board when educationally appropriate or when the only appropriate school is too far away from your home;
- Itinerant instruction in classrooms, resource rooms, and settings other than classrooms where specially-designed instruction may occur;
- Instruction using telecommunication; and
- Instruction in settings other than classrooms where specially designed instruction may occur.
Students may be enrolled in special classes only when the nature or severity of the disability of the student is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services, including curriculum modification and behavioral support, cannot be achieved satisfactorily. This requirement also applies to separate schooling, or other settings outside the regular education environment. For more specific information on individual types of placements, see Cal. Ed. Code sections 56362 (resource specialist program), 56364.1 (special day class), 56367 (state special schools), 56365 (non-public schools), 56167 (medical institutions), 56850 (state developmental centers and hospitals), 56150 (juvenile schools), and 56156 (out-of-home residential placement). See also, 34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.302 (out-of-home residential placements). See Chapter 9, Information on Inter-Agency Responsibility for Related Services.
The continuum of placements must permit students to receive an education to the maximum extent appropriate with children who do not have disabilities. [34 C.F.R. Secs. 300.114, 300.115, & 300.116.] See Chapter 7, Information on Least Restrictive Environment.