A National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center

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School Program

School Program at City of Hope
School is an important part of life for children, teens, and young adults. The School Program at City of Hope helps patients to continue life through socialization and continued academic progress during treatment and recovery.
City of Hope’s School Program helps children, teens, and young adults:
  • Remain normal by keeping pace with their peers
  • Increase self-esteem through opportunities for achievement
  • Provide motivation to stay socially and mentally engaged
  • Reduce depression and anxiety associated with treatment
  • Smooth transitions back to school after treatment
The School Program provides services for all phases of education, including:


  • Preschool
  • Elementary school
  • Middle/High school
  • College
  • Vocational studies
The School Program helps to coordinate:


  • Hospital tutoring
  • Home instruction
  • School re-entry
  • Student and parent advocacy
  • Special accommodations
  • Neuropsychological testing
  • Community resources and referrals
All students at City of Hope are encouraged to participate in our School Program. Please contact our School Program or ask any member of your medical team for more information. We are here to help.

Hospital Tutoring

Hospital tutoring is available to inpatients in K-12th grade during the school year. City of Hope’s School Program works in collaboration with the Duarte Unified School District to provide patients with tailored, one-on-one tutoring to meet patients’ educational needs. In one-hour daily, private tutoring sessions, certified Hospital Tutors help patients continue their education while at City of Hope. Hospital Tutors work with the patient’s local school to create a plan of study and provide the necessary text books if home text books are unavailable. Daily progress logs and a student progress report are provided to local school districts when patients return to their home schools.

The Hospital Tutors that work with City of Hope are California certified teachers hired by the Duarte Unified School District. They also teach at Duarte Unified School District schools and have many years of standard teaching and hospital tutoring experience.

There are several reasons to consider hospital tutoring. Hospital tutoring benefits patients by promoting:
  • Normalcy
  • Emotional Support
  • Positive adjustment to the hospital setting
  • Motivation to continue learning
  • Opportunities for students to catch up or get ahead in their school work
  • Distraction through focus on academic success

For more information, please contact Kayla Fulginiti, MSW, School Program Coordinator at 626-256-4673, ext. 62282.

What is hospital tutoring?

All inpatients grades K-12th who are eligible for hospital tutoring during the school year. Hospital tutors from the Duarte Unified School District tutor each of our K-12th grade patients privately, one hour a day, Monday-Friday on school days. Hospital tutoring provides patients with normalcy and a distraction from hospital life. Additionally, tutoring by veteran teachers helps patients continue to develop mentally and catch up, stay on track, and sometimes even get ahead in their studies. Hospital tutoring makes the transition to home instruction and/or school after hospital discharge a more enjoyable and smoother process for patients.

Who provides hospital instruction?

City of Hope's School Program Coordinator coordinates tutoring for students in K-12th grade. Hospital tutors are certified teachers hired by the Duarte Unified School District. Hospital Tutors at City of Hope have many, many years of school teaching and hospital tutoring experience.

When is a good time to start hospital instruction?

City of Hope believes that children, teens, and young adults adjust better to the hospital setting by starting hospital instruction as soon as possible. Our School Program Coordinator meets with patient and parents in the first few days of admission to assess for educational needs and to arrange tutoring. Tutoring is coordinated to meet the patient's medical, emotional, and educational needs. Tutoring sessions provide patients with daily routine and educational activities that complement their primary focus on treatment while hospitalized.

How can I prepare for hospital tutoring?

We suggest bringing all text books with you to the hospital. Tutors can work with your local school's curriculum to help you stay on track and make returning to your local school as smooth as possible. If you are unable to bring text books, Hospital Tutors will provide text books from the Duarte Unified School District.

Is hospital tutoring too much for pediatric patients?

We believe that patients do better at the hospital when they are able to make their lives as normal as possible. Hospital Tutors help patients increase their spirits and provide patients opportunities for accomplishments and increased self-esteem. Hospital Tutors at City of Hope are experienced professionals and understand how to help patients balance their school work in the hospital setting.

Home Instruction

Many patients at City of Hope use home instruction before returning to school. K-12th grade students who are unable to attend school can receive alternative education in their homes through their local school districts. City of Hope’s School Program helps patients and parents coordinate home instruction through their local school district and assists families to advocate for special accommodations if necessary.

We strongly suggest that families consider home instruction for the time between discharge and returning to school.

Home instruction is a critical way to provide K-12th graders with:
  • Hope
  • Increased normalcy
  • Continued intellectual growth
  • Smoother transitions back into school after treatment

For more information, please contact Kayla Fulginiti, MSW, School Program Coordinator at 626-256-4673, ext. 62282.

What is home instruction?

Home instruction is for children, teens, and young adults eligible for K-12 education who are unable to attend school. Different school districts offer different forms of alternative education, many including home instruction. Often times, school districts provide one-on-one tutoring in the home or independent study options for students unable to attend school.

Who provides home instruction?

Your local school district is responsible to provide alternative education by California Certified Teachers for K-12th grade students unable to attend school. City of Hope's School Program Coordinator can help get you in contact with the right personnel in your local district to begin home instruction.

How do I start home instruction?

Contact our School Program Coordinator to start the process. Each school district is different, but most students will need to enroll in their local district and also have a medical letter written by their City of Hope doctor describing the medical need for home instruction. Our School Program Coordinator is glad to arrange for these letters and send the paper work to your local school district. Give us a call and we'll help you get started.

When should we start home instruction?

Treatment and healing are different for each patient. Our School Program Coordinator will consult with your City of Hope medical team to help you to determine the best timing for you and your family. We have found most patients do best when they start home instruction sooner rather than later because it provides patients with motivation and creates opportunities for accomplishment, normalcy, and increased self esteem. Home instruction is also a critical component to successfully returning to school when ready.

School Re-entry

Re-entering the classroom is an important and exciting milestone for many children, teens and young adults who take a medical leave of absence from school. Our program helps patients adjust more quickly to the classroom upon returning to school. Patients often find this experience to be positive, energizing and self-esteem building. The classroom is a critical outlet for patients to socialize and re-establish their identity as a student with their peers.

Your medical team and School Program Coordinator can work with you to determine the best time to re-enter school and make it a smooth transition.

Some services offered by our School Program to families re-entering the school system include:
  • Coordinating re-entry services between the hospital, school and family
  • Providing medical letters to schools
  • Educating school faculty about potential medical and psychological effects of treatment and recovery
  • Educating fellow students about cancer and other medical conditions through school presentations
  • Facilitating and attending special accommodation meetings at schools with family and school staff

For more information, please contact Kayla Fulginiti, MSW, School Program Coordinator at 626-256-4673, ext. 62282.

What do I need to do in order to return to school?

Our School Program Coordinator can help you start this process. Often times, patients need to reenroll in their local school. If you have previously been in hospital tutoring or home instruction, the School Program Coordinator can help you and your family walk through the steps to return to your local school. Often times many students choose to inform their school administration of their previous medical treatment and how it currently impacts their school experience. If any special accommodations are needed, we can help advocate for these services as well.

When should I go back to school?

Treatment and healing are different for each patient. Our School Program Coordinator will consult with your City of Hope medical team to help you and your family decide when is best for you to return to school. We have found that most patients do best with a gradual, but prompt return to their local school, because it provides patients with socialization, normalcy, accomplishment, and increased self-esteem.

Special Accommodations

For some patients, treatments for cancer and other blood disorders can cause short-term or long-term side effects. These changes can make school more difficult for some patients. The School Program can help students secure the special services they need to promote their educational success.
Some side effects of treatment that can make school re-entry challenging include:
  • Becoming tired more easily
  • Physical activity limitations
  • Lowered immune function
  • Difficulty remembering, concentrating and learning new material
  • Depression, anxiety and isolation
The School Program can help patients and their families address some of these concerns through:
  • Attending school meetings as a hospital representative and advocate
  • Advocating for Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and 504 Plans that legally protect special accommodations for students
  • Educational counseling and case management services
  • Educational referrals for community resources
  • Coordinating referrals for neuropsychological testing
For more information, please contact Kayla Fulginiti, MSW, School Program Coordinator at 626-256-4673, ext. 62282.




Continuing education can be expensive! But many organizations and foundations give scholarships to students in treatment and recovery for cancer and other blood disorders.
Cancer-specific scholarshiplistings include:
Finaid.org - Information about scholarships, including ones specifically for cancer patients, cancer survivors, children of a patient or survivor, and others touched by cancer or pursuing a career in cancer treatment.
Scholarships.com - Information on college scholarships
StupidCancer.org - A support organization for the young adults who have, or have had, cancer.
Bleeding disorder scholarship listings include:
Don’t forget non-cancer related scholarships. Many scholarships out there can help reduce the cost of school. Resources include:
FinAid.org - A broad guide to student financial aid.
FAFSA.gov - Free Application for Federal Student Aid, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education.
Please note that scholarship availability can change at the discretion of each organization and listing. Please double check with these organizations before finalizing your educational plan. Additionally, please contact our School Program if you have any questions or additional leads for scholarship information. We are always on the look out for additional scholarship resources!



For Educators

Coordinated involvement of teachers and school administrators is critical for the educational success of students undergoing medical treatment and recovery. Our pediatric medical and supportive care team at City of Hope strongly believes that patients benefit immensely from the continued education and socialization that the school system provides. We look forward to working with you to help these students move forward in their education and development.

Contact our School Program Coordinator with any questions you may have regarding a student undergoing medical treatment or recovery.

City of Hope’s School Program provides the following services to help your students continue in educational success:
  • Re-entry service coordination between the hospital, school and family
  • Medical letters from physicians
  • Educational materials and information for school faculty and staff about the medical and psychological effects of treatment and recovery
  • On-site school presentations for fellow students
  • IEP and 504 recommendation assistance and hospital staff representation during on-site school planning meetings
Please let us know how we can be of assistance. It is our goal to help your students thrive academically and developmentally throughout their treatment and recovery.




For more information, please contact Kayla Fulginiti, MSW, School Program Coordinator at 626-256-4673, ext. 62282.
City of Hope Campus
City of Hope
1500 East Duarte Road
Duarte, CA 91010-3000
626-256-HOPE (4673)
800-826-HOPE (4673)
Supportive Care Calendar
The Positive Image Center is where licensed cosmetologists support and assist patients with building and maintaining self-confidence in their appearance. Services are free and provide a forum in which patients can access wig fittings and stylings and discuss cosmetic techniques.
City of Hope’s School Program helps children, teen, and young adult patients continue their education while undergoing treatment. For more information, please contact Kayla Fulginiti, M.S.W., School Program Coordinator at 626-256-4673, ext. 62282.
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