General Education FAQs
1.What are top tips for advocating for my child at school?
As much as possible, put your communication to the school in writing, especially if you are requesting a meeting or services. Keep a copy of the letter, email, or note for your own records. This way, you have documentation of your requests and the responses you have received.
b) Keep your child’s education records in one place
This includes report cards, letters from the school, suspension notices, IEPs, evaluations, and other school-related documents. Create a folder in your email account to keep all school-related email communication together.
c) Schedule meetings with the school
The first step to resolving any conflicts with school staff is to schedule a meeting to talk through concerns. You should ask questions and take notes. As much as possible, try to stay calm and rational during the meeting.
d) Bring someone with you to important meetings
This person can be anyone who helps you to feel supported, such as a friend, relative, your student’s service provider, or advocate. Typically, there are several school employees present at meetings, and having someone to help you advocate may make you feel more comfortable and keep the meeting focused and productive.
e) Keep up to date with your child’s progress in school
Most school systems now have a website and/or smart phone app that allow you to see your child’s grades, attendance, and assignments. Check this resource regularly and follow up with your child’s teachers about your questions and/or concerns.
f) Get to know your child’s teachers
Teachers often know a lot about your child’s academic strengths and weaknesses. Thank them regularly for the work they do to help support your child!
2. Can I see my child’s school records?
The Student Press Law Center has a letter generator on their website that might be helpful for parents making requests for education records
Learn more about FERPA here
3. Are there any special protections available in school for children who are homeless?
For example, a child is considered homeless if the child is:
- Living in another person’s house after losing housing
- Living in a hotel, motel, trailer park, or campground because he/she has nowhere else to live
- Living in a shelter
- Abandoned in a hospital
- Awaiting foster care placement without a permanent place to stay; or
- Living in a car, park, public space, abandoned building, substandard housing, bus or train station, or something similar.
Schools must immediately enroll children who are homeless, even if the children do not have all their enrollment paperwork. Children who are homeless are allowed to stay in the school they attended before they became homeless for the entire time the student is homeless. Schools must provide transportation to that school. Also, every school district must have a staff member designated as a contact or liaison to children and families that are homeless. Please contact your child’s school to find out who has been assigned as the liaison.
The contact information for the McKinney-Vento Specialist for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is provided here:
4. My child attends CMS, and I have a question about school bus transportation. Where can I find out more information?
You can also call the main transportation office between 7 AM and 6 PM: (980) 343-6715
1. What is a charter school?
The NC Public Schools “Frequently Asked Questions for Charter School Parents” describes charter schools as “public schools serving public students with public dollars for the public benefit.” For more information, please see NC Public Schools Frequently Asked Questions for Charter School Parents
2. Who can attend a charter school?
3. Do charter schools have to serve children with disabilities?
If your child has an IEP from a previous school, the charter school must follow that IEP until the IEP team meets at the charter school and revises the IEP or develops a new IEP. Similarly, charter schools must also follow Section 504 plans.
More information on the educational rights of children with disabilities in charter schools can be found here
5. How can I find a charter school for my child?
For information on enrolling your child at a charter school, you should contact each individual school to ask about openings and the application process.
1. Who has the right to enroll in an NC public school?
- Is between the ages of 5 and 21
- Tries to enroll during the first 120 days of a school year
- Lives with a parent or legal guardian in that school’s school district
- Is not currently suspended or expelled from that school or another public school and
- Has not been convicted of a felony in adult criminal court.
2. Can an adult who is not the parent or legal guardian enroll a child in school?
- The child is not under suspension or expulsion form another school district
- The child has not been convicted of a felony, and
- The child is living with an adult, who is domiciled in the school district, for any of the following reasons:
- The death, serious illness, or incarceration of a parent/legal guardian
- The abandonment by a parent/legal guardian of the complete control of the child as evidenced by the failure to provide substantial financial support and parental guidance
- Abuse or neglect by the parent/legal guardian
- The physical or mental condition of the parent/legal guardian is such that he/she cannot provide adequate care and supervision of the child
- The loss or inhabitability of the child’s home as the result of a natural disaster, or
- The parent/legal guardian is on active military duty and deployed.
If these conditions are met, the school must allow the child to attend if the child’s parent or the adult taking care of the child fills out a special form (called an “affidavit”) explaining the circumstances. Ask you school to provide you the Affidavit.