Admissions Process for the California School for the Blind
The Admissions Office at the California School for the Blind (CSB) is available to assist districts and families move through the many steps of CSB's admission process. We are committed to keeping the process flowing smoothly from step to step and to minimizing unnecessary delays through ongoing communication with referring teams. Each step in CSB's admission process is explained below, including what communication the referring team can expect from the CSB Admissions Office at each step. Referring teams are encouraged to contact the CSB Admissions Office by phone or email for updates along the way.
1. Referral Packet
If the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team determines that a referral to California School for the Blind (CSB) is appropriate, the first step is for the district to contact Carla Shah (email@example.com) to request a referral packet, which includes a district application, parent application, and a list of required supplementary documents (e.g., current IEP, assessment reports, ophthalmological report, etc.). Note: Parents cannot request the packet themselves, as referrals are required to come through the district. Referral packets are sent out electronically as email attachments. The application forms are digital and can be filled out electronically or printed and filled out by hand. The parent application is available in Spanish by request. Once the applications are completed and the required documents gathered, the district submits the completed referral packet to Carla Shah via email or US mail. Referral packets are reviewed upon receipt for completeness and any missing documents are requested via email.
The district and family can expect email communication acknowledging completeness of the referral packet and an anticipated review date by CSB's Admissions Committee.
2. Admissions Committee Review
CSB's Admissions Committee makes every effort to thoroughly review the content of completed referral packets within two weeks of receipt. The Admission Committee's referral packet review includes determining what additional information is needed, if any, to plan for an Assessment of Suitability for Placement (ASP) at CSB for each applicant. The Admissions Committee recommends next steps in the admission process for each applicant, such as observing the applicant in his or her current educational program, requesting additional records, scheduling follow-up conversations with the district and/or family, or moving forward with offering an Assessment of Suitability for Placement (ASP) at CSB.
Following the Admission Committee's review, the district and family can expect email communication informing them about the next steps in the admission process for their applicant.
3. Assessment of Suitability for Placement (ASP) Offer
For every applicant whose district submits a completed referral packet, CSB will plan and offer an Assessment of Suitability for Placement (ASP) at CSB to determine if the applicant meets admission criteria. Please refer to our Admission Criteria page [hyperlink] for detailed information about eligibility criteria to enroll at CSB. Consistent with other special education assessment timelines, the ASP lasts up to 60 days. The ASP offer may include temporary assignment to CSB, or the assessment may be conducted in the applicant's current placement. Temporary assignment to CSB for the duration of the ASP does not guarantee admission. For purpose of stay put, a temporary assignment to a State Special School shall not constitute the last agreed upon placement 5CCR 17660(e); 5 CCR 17664(e).
The district and family can expect an ASP offer, via email, that includes the recommended location of the ASP. For applicants offered temporary assignment at CSB for the duration of the ASP, the offer will include a description of the specific educational program at CSB to which the applicant will be temporarily assigned. Every effort is made to match applicants to the appropriate educational program for their ASP. Occasionally, an applicant will switch from one educational program at CSB to another during the ASP, if assessment data indicates a program change is warranted.
4. Medical Clearance
Because CSB is a residential school, all students attending CSB, even commuters and students attending temporarily, must be medically cleared by our Student Health Services, similar to the medical clearance required for "sleep away" camp. Medical clearance at CSB requires an up-to-date physical, tuberculosis (TB) test, immunization record, information about any prescription medications, and doctor's orders for certain medical conditions. Medical clearance is necessary for applicants offered a temporary assignment to CSB, and typically occurs before the Assessment of Suitability for Placement (ASP) at CSB begins.
Families of applicants offered temporary assignment to CSB can expect Carla Shah to send them a packet of medical forms, and directions for completing the medical packet, shortly after they receive the Assessment of Suitability for Placement offer. Medical packets are typically sent via email but can be sent via text message or US mail, depending on the family's preference. Medical forms to be filled out by parents are also available in Spanish.
5. Intake Meeting and Registration
For applicants offered an Assessment of Suitability for Placement (ASP) with temporary assignment at CSB, the ASP begins with an intake meeting. The intake meeting is an in-person meeting at CSB, attended by the applicant and at least one parent or guardian. District representation at the intake meeting is optional. During the intake meeting, the applicant and family members will meet the classroom teacher and other members of the applicant's assessment team. Contact information for all team members will be shared. The assessment plan will be reviewed and presented to the holder of the applicant's educational rights (typically the parent) for signature. Important aspects of the assessment plan will include a commitment to follow the applicant's current, district Individualized Education Program (IEP) during the ASP, and any exceptions to this commitment. Registration paperwork is due at the intake meeting, and the applicant officially starts the ASP with temporary assignment to CSB on the day after the intake meeting.
For applicants temporarily assigned to CSB as residential students, intake meetings will be extended to include an orientation to the dorms and moving into the dorm; confirming weekly transportation arrangements; and delivering medications in their original, prescription bottles to Student Health Services.
The district and family can expect email communication with a scheduled date and time for the intake meeting. The date may be listed as tentative, pending medical clearance. Families can expect to receive a packet of registration forms from Carla Shah with instructions to fill out and either return these forms electronically prior to the intake meeting or bring them to the intake meeting. Registration packets are typically sent via email but can be sent via text message or US mail, depending on the family's preference. Registration forms to be filled out by parents are also available in Spanish. For applicants temporarily assigned to CSB as residential students, families will also receive a packing list for the dorms.
6. Assessment of Suitability for Placement (ASP) and Weekly Progress Reports
Once the assessment plan is signed, the Assessment of Suitability for Placement (ASP) at CSB can begin. When the ASP includes temporary assignment at CSB, the applicant typically starts the ASP on the day after the intake meeting. An assessment that takes place while an applicant is temporarily assigned to an educational program at CSB is an immersive experience for the applicant. The applicant participates fully in all activities and school events and is eligible to join sports teams and clubs. While the applicant is participating in the educational program at CSB, the applicant's assessment team will assess the applicant's present levels of functioning in the skill areas selected on the assessment plan. The classroom teacher will prepare weekly reports to keep the family and district informed about the applicant's progress at CSB, as well as to communicate any areas of concern. For applicants staying in the dorms during the ASP, the dorm counselor will also prepare a weekly progress report.
The district and family can expect to receive progress reports as email attachments on a weekly basis during the ASP, beginning the second week of the ASP. Weekly reports are translated, when necessary, into the family's native language, with every effort made to provide translated reports in a timely fashion. Families can also expect to hear from assessment team members with questions and requests to participate, typically by phone, in the assessment. Assessment team members may also ask parents to fill out questionnaires as part of the assessment. The assessment team welcomes any questions or concerns from the district or parents about the weekly reports or the assessment.
7. End of Assessment for Suitability of Placement (ASP) Meeting
Toward the end of the 60-day timeline, or sooner if warranted, the assessment team meets with the referring district and family to share the results of the Assessment of Suitability for Placement (ASP) at CSB. When the ASP includes temporary assignment at CSB, the end of ASP meeting is an in-person meeting at CSB, attended by at least one parent or guardian. District representation at the end of ASP meeting is required. The referring district representative is welcome to attend the end of ASP meeting either in person or remotely, via videoconference or phone.
Assessment results include the assessment team's determination regarding the applicant's eligibility to enroll at CSB. If the assessment team offers the applicant enrollment at CSB and the referring district and family accept the offer, a new Individual Education Program (IEP) is immediately written to reflect the new placement, goals, and services. If enrollment at CSB is not offered, the applicant's temporary assignment at CSB ends. The applicant returns home at the conclusion of the meeting and resumes attending the district program according to the current IEP. Note: California Education Code 56367(b) states that referrals for further assessment to the Schools for the Deaf and Blind shall not constitute a placement in the State Special Schools.
The district and family can expect to receive email communication from Carla Shah to confirm a date, time, and location for the end of Assessment of Suitability of Placement (ASP) Meeting. The district and family can also expect copies of any available assessment reports, typically sent as email attachments, prior to the meeting. Assessment reports are translated, when necessary, into the family's native language.
8. Enrollment at CSB
Once an applicant officially enrolls as a CSB student, the referring district retains responsibility for the student's placement.
The district and family can expect to be invited to review the student's goal progress, services, and placement at CSB on at least an annual basis.
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