You may have to transfer your child from one school to another within the Maryland Public School System. The transfer may occur at any time during the school year, and families have certain rights when it comes to this issue.
If your child has had expulsions, suspensions, or certain other problems, the transfer may be harder. Problems may also arise if the courses your child took at the old school do not match up with any courses at the new school. Contact the new school to see whether these issues will affect your child's transfer.
What Should I Do First?
To start the transfer process, schools require the Maryland School Transfer Form for transferring students. This form notifies a school of your child's upcoming transfer, and gives them the basic information they need to begin processing your child's records. Each school has these forms and is required to fill them out for the students. Just contact your child's guidance counselor at the old school and explain that your child is transferring to a different school. Let them know what your child's last day at the school will be. Request the Maryland Transfer Form, and ask when you can pick it up. Once you know what school your child will be attending, call them and set up an appointment. Take the completed form to the appointment.
A good step to take if you have any questions on the requirements and difficulties of school transfers is to contact the Pupil Personnel Worker for the school your child is transferring to. You can contact the local Pupil Personnel Worker (PPW) by contacting your local Board of Education. They will be able to tell you who the PPW for your school system is. Use the Department of Education's website to find your local Education Agency. The PPW will be able to give you more detailed information on what specific steps you need to do to make the transfer as problem-free as possible.
What Else Should I Provide to My Child's New School?
Schools in Maryland may ask for several things to finalize your child's transfer. Below is a list of what you may be asked to provide, although you should call the school and ask what specific documents they require.
- Proof of custody/guardianship. This lets the school know who is responsible for the child, and who makes educational decisions for the child. This can be a birth certificate, a Divorce Decree, or a Court Order. This may not be an absolute requirement. If the child actually lives with one parent but there is no custody order, or if the child lives with an informal kinship care provider, that adult should be allowed to enroll the child and make educational decisions. Read the Law: Md. Code Ann. Education 4-122.1
- Proof of Residency. A student's right to attend a Maryland Public school requires that the parents, legal guardian, legal custodian, or informal kinship care provider of the student are residents of Maryland. Read the Law: Md. Code Ann. Education 7-101
- Immunization Records. All students are required to have up-to-date immunization records to be able to enroll in and attend school. If your child requires updates on his or her immunizations, you may temporarily enroll them for 20 days to allow them to attend school pending the immunization updates. (There is an exception for homeless children who do not have the records.)
Does it Matter When During the Year My Child Transfers Schools?
In some situations, your child may have to transfer schools in the middle of a semester. This is generally not a problem. A student may transfer at anytime during the school year, and be able to retain any credit for work done during the course of that semester.
Difficulties may arise when sometimes, in extreme situations, a child may be transferring schools towards the end of a semester, when all that is left are a few days of class or just exams. The principals of the old and new schools have the discretion with what to do for such situations. The student may be allowed to not take the exam and be given credits for the work done at the prior school, the student may be required to take the exams at his or her old school, or the student may be allowed to take exams at the new school.
If this situation occurs with your child, make sure you contact the both the student's former school and the school she or he is transferring to and explain your situation. Ask the principal what your child will be required to do to ensure that he or she receives credits for the semester.
What If The School Denies The Transfer?
If transfer is denied, you should be aware that there may be legal reasons on which you could challenge the denial. Also, you may be entitled to a hearing about the denial. You may need legal assistance if a transfer is denied. Read the Law: Md. Code Ann. Education 4-205 (c)(3)