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How to Access a Bilingual Special Education Program

October 20, 2021
Special Education

Bilingual Special Education (BSE) is a specialized program for students who require a language of instruction other than English on their IEP.

Step 1: Individualized Education Program (IEP) Document

  • The IEP provides recommendations on special education programs and services.
  • The IEP section titled “Recommended Special Education Programs and Services” must recommend an Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) or Special Class (SC) program with a language of instruction other than English. The language should be recommended in the “Service Delivery Recommendations.”


  • If a family submits a request to the Central BSE program teams, the family will receive an email from the Central BSE programs teams acknowledging the request.
  • The Central BSE programs team will notify the child’s school or District Committee on Special Education to let them know that the family is interested in BSE programs for the student.

Step 2: Initial Review

  • The school IEP team or the family needs to contact the Central BSE programs team at to submit the inquiry.
  • The Central BSE Programs Team will review the student’s IEP to: 1. Confirm that it recommends an Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) or Special Class (SC), and 2. Identify the Dual Language/Transitional Bilingual Education program with available seats that is closest to the student’s home.

Step 3: School Placement

  • If a student is eligible, but the Central BSE programs team is not able to offer a placement in a BSE program, the student should be supported by a Bilingual Alternate Placement Professional in a Monolingual (English) ICT or SC. The Central BSE team will continue to look for an available Bilingual Special Education Program. 
  • If a student is eligible, but the Central BSE programs team is able to offer a placement in a BSE program, the family will receive a School Location Letter providing an identified school with an available seat in the BSE program.
  • There is not a defined timeline for getting placed in BSE programs.

Step 4: Visiting and Admission

  • The School Location Letter (SLL) will contain the name of the contact person and the address of the school with a BSE program.
  • The family should call the school to make an appointment for a visit.
  • After the school visit, the family must contact the IEP team at the school to inform whether they are accepting or declining the BSE program offer. 

Step 5: ​Registering at a New School

If the family  accepts the BSE placement offer, they must take the School Location Letter (SLL) along with a copy of the child’s birth certificate and two forms of proof of their address to register the student at the BSE Program school.

Additional Recommendations

  • The family of a student identified as an ELL should be invited to watch a Parent Orientation Video at the child’s school that describes the ELL identification, assessment process and outlines in detail various available program options. 
  • BSE is a specialized program because it is not offered in every district 1-32 school.
  • A student may need to transfer schools to receive their IEP recommended BSE program. If the school is not near the family’s home, the child is entitled to transportation.
  • Families and schools may contact the Central BSE programs team at any time during the year to submit an inquiry or ask a question by emailing