Failing To Offer Academic Assistance

By Onida Perkel

I had heard so many great things about the BASIS schools, such as them having a high-achieving curriculum and being some of the best schools in the nation. I wanted my daughter to get the best education possible, so I enrolled her first at BASIS Central Phoenix and then BASIS Scottsdale Primary School.

She started the 2015-2016 school year as a fourth grader. Within a few weeks, she began struggling with math. She had a 504 plan, which outlines how the school will address the individual needs of my child. Under the plan, my daughter’s teacher was supposed to give her extra time and assistance with her math assignments. By December, she was far behind and was failing math. I talked to the school about developing an Individualized Education Program (IEP), which is a plan that describes the programs and special services that a student requires to be successful in school. A meeting was set for March 3.

During the meeting, we came up with a plan to meet my daughter’s needs. The school brought an attorney to the meeting, which I found to be intimidating. We decided that a special education teacher would help her with math. We also agreed she would get help developing her organizational skills. However, the school never informed me that I needed to sign a consent form so that my daughter could begin receiving these services. It wasn’t until May 13, which was the last day of instruction, that the school finally informed me about the consent form. By then, it was too late into the school year for my daughter to begin getting her IEP services.

That same day, I filed a complaint with the Arizona Department of Education. The complaint investigator concluded that although the school tried to get me to sign the consent form on multiple occasions, the school failed to fully inform me of the activity for which the consent was being sought. I agreed with this conclusion. School staff members approached me several times, but they were never clear about why they needed my signature. As a result, my daughter missed out on 900 minutes of math instruction and 450 minutes of organization skills instruction.

The next school year, I enrolled my daughter at a district school, which provided my daughter the services that BASIS Scottsdale Primary School failed to provide. I walked away from the BASIS school feeling disappointed. I thought my daughter was going to get a great education given how prestigious BASIS schools are said to be. Instead, the school managed us out by not providing her the services she needed, and I feel it’s all because my daughter didn’t meet their standards.

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