Seattle Public Schools

Services and Accommodations

Changing Schools, Rising, Exiting

Changing Schools or Exiting Services

As students progress through their education, they are likely to change schools at least once. Reasons include:

  • Rising – the natural shifts between preschool, elementary school, middle school, and high school
  • The student’s Placement/Primary Service type changes (this is an IEP team decision)
  • Family move
  • Family-elected change in enrollment (within Seattle Public Schools, to a private school, or to a home school)
  • Family School Choice request (within Seattle Public Schools)
  • Family assignment appeal (within Seattle Public Schools)

Through any of these shifts, a student’s IEP (Individualized Education Program) defines what services they receive.  Learn more about the assignment process.


“Rising” describes the natural movement from preschool, to elementary school, to middle and high school. In this process, every student is assigned to their designated attendance area school first. This school is based on the student’s home address. Most students will attend their attendance area school. In two situations, a student may be assigned to a different school:

  • Based on the student’s primary service type and grade level, a different school will offer support aligned with the student’s IEP. This is called a modified assignment.
  • The family applies to a preferred school using the School Choice process during open enrollment.

School Choice during Open Enrollment

Students with the primary service type of Resource who participate in open enrollment follow the standard Admissions Department process for School Choice.

Deaf/Hard of Hearing and Vision programs are in single locations that serve the entire District. For these students, School Choice is only available if the student is receiving itinerant services. Students receiving itinerant services would also follow the standard Admissions Department process for School Choice.

Students with the following primary service types may have modified assignment pathways if they participate in school choice, to ensure their IEP needs are met:

  • Access
  • Focus
  • Distinct
  • Social/Emotional
  • Medically Fragile

If participating in School Choice, families are responsible for:

  • Reviewing the Regional Assignment Supplement form with your Case Manager
  • Determining if the preferred school offers their student’s Primary Service by using the Linked Schools Chart
  • Indicating on the Admissions School Choice form that your student receives services

If you need assistance, please contact your Case Manager.

Family Guide to Change of School


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Open Enrollment & School Choice information (Seattle Public Schools Admissions Department)

Exiting from Services

Students may exit special education services in one of the following ways:

  • Through a reevaluation , the student is determined to no longer need special education services.
  • The student meets graduation requirements .
  • The student turns 21 . If the student’s 21st birthday is during the school year (after August 31st) they are eligible for services until the end of that school year.
  • The student’s parent/guardian revokes services in writing.

Every student who exits special education services receives a Summary of Performance (SoP) .

About the Summary of Performance (SoP) This is a summary of school achievement and functional performance. It is a tool to support the student’s transition from school to higher education, training, employment, and/or adult services. It includes:

  • Academic achievement for reading, math, and written language
  • Functional performance, such as attention, communication, and social skills
  • Recommendations for further education, employment, and independent living

Exiting by Reevaluation

The purpose of a reevaluation is to determine if the student’s service needs have changed since the initial evaluation, or a previous reevaluation. Reevaluations can also be done to determine if a student no longer needs special education services.

Exiting by Graduation

Seattle Public Schools strives to prepare every student for graduation and beyond, regardless of disability. Students receiving special education services may graduate with a diploma, the same as their general education peers, or have access to multiple pathways to graduation.

Starting with the Class of 2020, students will be able to access various graduation pathways to meet graduation requirements. In addition, students with IEPs in the Class of 2020 can continue to access the Certificate of Individual Achievement to meet this requirement. The Office of Superintendent of PublicInstruction’s (OSPI) provides detailed information about the multiple pathways to graduation.

Exiting by Age

A student whose 21st birthday falls after August 31 (but before the end of the school year) will still be eligible for services until the end of that school year.

Transition services are available to eligible students who have not graduated from high school. These services extend instructional opportunities with a focus on employment and life skills. To participate, a student must be between the ages of 18 and 21. Participation ends at the end of the school year during which the student turns 21.

Seattle Public Schools’ BRIDGES program is a transition program designed for young adults with disabilities ages 18–21 who continue to need special education services outside of a 9th–12th grade setting/curriculum in order to meet their own unique post-secondary transition goals.

Exiting by Parent/Guardian Revocation

A student’s parent/guardian may revoke a student’s services in writing.