Children with Special Needs, need Parents with Special Skills!
Back to School Update - August 2019

First Day of School Information! 

With so many different schools operating in DC, 
it isn't surprising that not all schools start on the same day!  

All DCPS schools will start on August 26th. 
The first day of prekindergarten will be Thursday, August 29th.  DCPS discontinued the extended school year locations, so all DCPS schools are starting on the same day now. The DCPS calendar for school year 2019/20 is available here as a one page document  and here in electronic form that you can add to your  calendar.

The  Public Charter School Board (PCSB) has a helpful chart of each charter school's first day of school and their back to school events.    For example, all Capital City schools start on September 3rd, all Center City and Friendships schools start on August 21st, and all DC Prep schools start on August 26th.  KIPP and EL Haynes both started in early August.

However, AJE knows that parents need to know a lot more then just when the first day of school is, and we are here to help! 
Transportation is often a challenge for families, especially the first two weeks of school.  We included additional information and resources in this update so you have them at your fingertips.

We also know balancing work and parenting can be hard, so we have a  new webinar  going up on September 12th just for parents.  KNOW YOUR RIGHTS IN THE WORKPLACE AS A PARENT OF A CHILD WITH A DISABILITY with guest Laura Brown, Executive Director,
First Shift Justice Project.

We have information about where to get vaccinations, and some chances to win gift cards by taking surveys too!

In case you missed it last month, the federal government determined that DC "needs assistance" in serving students with disabilities!   You can read more about that in our last newsletter and take a very quick survey about it here.

Finally, in case you think we never have any fun over here, we have a very cute dog picture for you, right after a quick DC Council update!  
Have questions about Special Education in DC?  Need help supporting a child with special health care needs?  Don't have time to go to a training?  AJE can still help!    

We know not everyone can make it to one of our trainings, so we have webinars you can watch anywhere, at any time!

We recently added great new webinars to the Special Education Thursday library, including three webinars that address important health care issues for families. As always, Special Education Thursday host, Molly Whalen, keeps it practical, parent-friendly and positive.


UNDERSTANDING HSCSN AND YOUR RIGHTS AS A FAMILY   Guests: Zenia Sanchez-Fuentes, Attorney, Terris, Pravlik & Millian, LLP 

We also have a webinar with a guest from the  Public Charter School Board, Patrick Pope.  Host and AJE board chair Molly, talked with Patrick about what happens when a parent calls the PCSB with a complaint or concern.

Finally, we have webinar that will post on September 12th about the rights of parents at work when their child has a disability.  That webinar features   Laura Brown, Executive Director, First Shift Justice Project and will be available here when it is done.    

We are talking about parents' rights at work because of feedback we received from DC parents!   So, if there is something you think we should cover, please let us know at 202-678-8060 or!
Transportation Update! 

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 this blog post gives families some suggestions to make back to school easier, and we share some good news about transportation in DC too!   Want a h int - there's an app for that!   

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!
Where to find free or reduced cost vaccinations

Remember that your child needs an up-to-date  Universal Health CertificateOral Health Assessment, and  immunizations in order to attend school. Be sure to bring  these forms to their doctor's appointment and then submit to your child's school. Have any questions about these requirements? Connect directly with your child's school.  Don't forget, AJE also has a webinar all about vaccines that might answer your questions.  

Don't have health insurance? Check out  DC Health Link, or the  DC Office of Healthcare Finance to apply for Medicaid programs.  Did you know that in DC Medicaid expansion covers: Adults without Dependent Children (ages 21-64), Children (0-18), Children aged 19-20, Parent/Caretaker Relatives and Pregnant Women?  You might be eligible for coverage and not realize it.  

All of DC's programs to connect uncovered families with health care can be found  here.
Be heard  - Share your story!

AJE wants to make sure all families have a chance to be heard; that is why we share surveys with you.  This time we have 3 opportunities for you, 2 online surveys and an opportunity to talk with a researcher looking at school choice!

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) is conducting a survey as part of the District of Columbia's Preschool Development Grant, Birth to Five so we can better understand the extent to which families of children age 5 and younger are aware of and access the programs and services that are available to help families make decisions about their child's health, early care and education.  

OSSE is asking YOU to tell us about your experiences by taking a 10-minute survey at The survey will ask about your experiences with different programs, services and benefits.

If you complete the survey, you can enter into a random drawing to win a $100 gift card! Winners of the gift card will be notified via email and call in September 2019.
Go to  to complete the survey by August 31st. If you prefer to complete a paper version of the survey, please visit your local library.


The Help Me Grow National Center Parent Survey

The purpose of this parent  survey is to help us better understand your current experiences in taking your child for routine visits with his or her child health provider (or pediatrician). 
As a parent/caregiver, you play an important role in understanding your child, his/her health and development, and areas where your family or your child may benefit from additional support. We are currently exploring possible ways to maximize your visit with the child health provider, such as by developing new questionnaires, visit planners, or by using technology to better support the visit. The results of this  survey will allow us to understand what parents want/need in this area and directly inform future work. 

A link to the  survey can be found here:

Save the date: Two upcoming Council Hearings!

The Committee of the Whole & Education is holding a Public Hearing on Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019  at 10:00 am at  Wilson Building Room 412   1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, DC, 20004.
  • B23-0199, the "Public School Transparency Amendment Act of 2019"
  • B23-0281, the "Public Charter School Closure Amendment Act of 2019"

The Committee of the Whole & Education is holding a Public Hearing on Wednesday, November 6th, 2019 at 10:00 am at Wilson Building Room 500 
  • B23-49, "Classroom Innovation Grant Program Act of 2019,"
  • B23-94, "Organ, Eye, and Tissue Donation Education Amendment Act of 2019,"
  • B23-150, "Dyslexia and Other Reading Disabilities Screening and Prevention Pilot Program Act of 2019,"
  • B23-196, "District of Columbia Public Schools Student Technology Equity Act of 2019"
Click on the links above for more information about how to sign up and to read the bills.  Of course, AJE is always willing to support parents who want to testify!  


Wait - Did you know that AJE has a blog, and we're on Twitter too?

We sure are!  And we promise that dog doesn't write any of our posts!  Following us on social media is a great way to get our latest news and make sure you don't miss a thing.  

Follow us on Twitter       Like us on Facebook    View on Instagram

Did you know that AJE recently filed a state complaint with OSSE about unstaffed special education classrooms in DCPS?  Or that the Washington Lawyer's Committee, and Ropes & Gray, filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of an AJE parent who was barred from her child's charter school, and missed kindergarten graduation as a result

We also let parents know about upcoming events in the community, Council hearings, important news and parent trainings.  Follow us today! 

Follow us on Twitter  Like us on Facebook  View on Instagram        

Don't forget to update our contact information!

Our email addresses, fax number & phone numbers remain the same at our  new address, 1200 G Street NW, Suite #725 Washington DC, 20005 .  We are near Metro Center.    
About AJE:
Advocates for Justice and Education is the federally designated  Parent Training and Information Center and the Health Information Center for DC. AJE seeks to empower families, youth, and the community to be effective advocates to ensure that children and youth, particularly those who have special needs, receive access to appropriate education and health services.
Our passion is empowering families by equipping parents and students with disabilities with the tools they need to be their own advocates.

Have questions?  We are here to educate, advocate and empower. Contact us today!
Advocates for Justice and Education, Inc.| (P) 202.678.8060  | (F) 202.678.8062 |

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