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Evergreen Middle School team wins big at National History Day event

For months, a team of eighth graders from Evergreen Middle School conducted extensive research on the Tuskegee Airmen. Their hard work paid off last week when their 10-minute documentary, “The Tuskegee Airmen: Courage Knows No Color,” was named National Champion in the Junior Group Documentary category of the National History Day competition.

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Section 504

Meeting the needs of disabled students under Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Section 504”) is a federal civil rights law. It is designed to eliminate disability discrimination in programs and activities that receive federal funds. Since all public school districts receive federal funds, all public school districts must comply with Section 504. Under Section 504, denying a disabled student a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”) constitutes disability discrimination.

Please see the following materials for more information about Section 504 and LWSD.

Additional Resources

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

FAQ now that you have a 504

This FAQ is intended for those families whose child already has Section 504 accommodations.

New School Year

A new school year is beginning, when do I find out who my child's 504 monitor is?

Principals are asked to identify the 504 monitor(s) in their building by the first Friday after school begins. Typically 504 monitors do not change frequently or from year to year, however due to staff transfers, leave of absences, resignations, or retirements there are times when new monitors are identified.

Once I know who the 504 monitor is, am I responsible for contacting them or do they contact me, and how soon after school starts does this occur?

Monitors are asked to notify the parent/guardians of the students whose 504 plans they monitor, within the first three weeks of school.

Who do I ask if I am not told who my child's 504 monitor is?

Principals are responsible for identifying the monitor(s) in their building, they are asked to make this information available to their building secretary or office manager.

Does my child's elementary/middle school talk with the middle/high school before the beginning of the school year about my child's accommodations?

While there is not a designated "promotion" day scheduled for 504 monitors from sending/receiving schools to meet, sending monitors are asked to provide information to receiving schools to identify students that receive 504 accommodations.

How do I encourage my child to transition toward self-advocacy and what is the right time to do this?

It is never too early to support your child in developing accountability for their education and the ability to advocate for what they need to experience success in school. It is very important for students to have strong self-advocacy skills developed when they are in high school, as this is critical in college. Section 504 requirements are different at the post-secondary level, there is no requirement for colleges and universities to provide FAPE, and what accommodations they do offer need to be requested by the student.

Responsibilities of the 504 Monitor

Do the 504 monitors receive training on disabilities, such as, ADHD, autism, dyslexia and intellectual developmental disabilities?

504 monitors attend a mandatory training each year at the beginning of the year. The training covers legal requirements of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504 which includes information on eligibility guidelines, disability, accommodations and the duties of the 504 monitor.

Are 504 monitors and general education teachers trained to understand what my child's specific accommodations mean?

All certificated staff receive an annual training on disabilities at the beginning of the year. As part of this training information on what accommodations are and how they can be delivered is provided. 504 monitors distribute student 504 plans to the general education teachers at the beginning of the year and provide assistance to teachers that may have questions about delivering accommodations.

How often should I meet with the 504 monitor? Who is responsible for setting up this meeting?

It is suggested that 504 plans be reviewed annually, although the law does not require formal annual 504 meetings, our district directs monitors to schedule annual reviews. The best time of year to do this is in the first 4-6 weeks of school. You may request a meeting at any time if you have questions about your student's plan or if you feel that accommodations may need to be added or removed.

Who attends the 504 reviews besides the parent and coordinator? Student? Teacher? Counselor? Principal?

The law requires that the meeting consist of "at least two people that are knowledgeable about the child." Best practice suggests, and the district encourages, monitors to include the student (when appropriate, and strongly recommended at high school) parents, general education teacher(s) and an administrator or designee at 504 plan review meetings.

What do I do if I believe my child needs to modify (delete, change or add) to their accommodations?

You may request a meeting to discuss your child's plan at any time by contacting the 504 monitor overseeing your child's plan.

My child has been evaluated by a non-school district professional who has recommended certain accommodations. Am I guaranteed these accommodations for my child?

No, an outside provider's recommendations about accommodations do not guarantee or mandate that they will be provided. An outside provider's evaluation can be shared with the school through the Guidance Team process. If the team suspects that a disability exists and is substantially limiting or impacting a child's ability to access their education they can evaluate the need for a 504 plan, if the student is found eligible the team can consider an outside provider's recommendations in the development of the initial 504 plan.

Who do I talk to if the 504 monitor takes away accommodations, changes them or does not agree to add accommodations?

If you are concerned with issues related to the 504 plan or actions of the 504 monitor, you should speak with the building principal about your concerns. If more support is needed by the principal in addressing your concerns, the Associate Director of Special Services for the Learning Community should be contacted to assist.

What is the difference between an accommodation and a modification?

An accommodation assists a student in "accessing" their general education curriculum or program, a modification "alters, modifies or changes" either the curriculum itself or how it is delivered. An example would be as follows:

  • Extended time to complete assignment-Accommodation
  • Assignment altered to reduce or change requirements of assignment-Modification

Who do I contact if I have any issues with the 504 monitor?

You would contact your building principal as a first step. The next level of support would be the Associate Director of Special Services for your Learning Community.

Responsibilities of the General Education teachers

When are the teachers given the list of my child's accommodations?

Teachers should receive copies of their student’s 504 plans from the 504 monitor within the first 3 weeks of school.

How do I know my teachers have the list?

504 monitors are asked to contact parent/guardians within the first 3 weeks of school, this would be a time for them to confirm that your child’s teacher(s) has received a copy of the plan.

Is there a legal requirement that the teacher follows the accommodations or are they permitted to ignore those that are too burdensome?

Teachers are expected to offer the accommodations listed in a student's 504 plan.

Can I speak with the general education teacher about my child's accommodations?

Yes.

Can I request additional accommodations mid-year if my child discovers something that will relieve his struggles in a particular class?

You can request a 504 plan review at any time to discuss your child’s needs. The team can consider the addition of reasonable accommodations to support your student.

Do students have to ask for their accommodations to be implemented, or is it the general education teacher’s responsibility to ask my child if they want to use an accommodation, for example, extended time on a test?

Students should not have to ask for their accommodations, teachers should offer the accommodations listed in a student’s 504 plan. However, if a student refuses or states that they do not need the accommodation (as sometimes happens with older students) teachers are not required to “force” the accommodation on the student.

How do I know if my child's general education teacher is providing my child with accommodations?

Part of the duties of the building 504 monitor(s) is to check in to assure that accommodations are being provided.

Who do I contact if I have a problem with the general education teacher providing my child with accommodations?

Your first call should be to the building 504 monitor. The next level of support would be the building principal or a building administrator.

Who do I talk to if these FAQs do not answer my specific question?

If you have additional questions contact your building 504 monitor.

FAQ now that you are in high school

This FAQ has been created for you, the student. You are now in high school and your high school would like to help you learn how to advocate for yourself regarding your Section 504 accommodations. Did you know that when you go to college or start a job, no one will ask you what accommodations you need? This is because the law forbids them from asking. So, if you don't tell them, they will never know. But they don't want you to just tell them what accommodation you need, they want you to explain how it helps you.

To help you begin understanding how to advocate for yourself, these FAQs are meant to guide you toward taking ownership for your own education.

New School Year/My 504 Coordinator

A new school year is beginning, when do I find out who my 504 monitor is?

You can ask your counselor who your assigned 504 monitor is, however 504 monitors are asked to make contact with student/parents within the first 3 weeks of school.

Who do I ask if I do not know who my 504 monitor is?

Ask your counselor or building administrator.

Why do I care who my 504 monitor is?

Your 504 monitor can serve as your advocate if you have questions about your accommodations, or if you feel that you are not receiving the accommodations as outlined in your plan.

How often should I meet with the 504 coordinator?

It is suggested that 504 plans be reviewed annually, although the law does not require formal annual 504 meetings, our district directs monitors to schedule annual reviews. The best time of year to do this is in the first 4-6 weeks of school. Typically high school 504 monitors should check in with you at least monthly. If you feel that you need to meet more frequently you can discuss this with your monitor. Who is responsible for setting up this meeting? The 504 monitor is responsible for setting up the annual review meeting. If you would like to meet more frequently with your 504 monitor you should discuss this with them.

Did the middle school 504 monitor talk with the high school 504 monitor before the beginning of the school year about my accommodations?

There is not a designated time that sending and receiving monitors meet, however typically 504 monitors at the middle school level send information to the high school through the counselors at each school.

Will the 504 monitors understand my disability if I tell them I have ADHD, autism, dyslexia or intellectual developmental disabilities?

504 monitors receive training each year that includes information on disability and accommodations. They also have support from school psychologists and Special Services School support personnel should they need additional information or questions answered.

Do the 504 monitors and my teachers get training to understand what my accommodations mean?

Training is provided each year to 504 monitors and teachers regarding accommodations provided in the general education setting.

Who do I talk to if the 504 monitor takes away accommodations, changes them or does not agree to add accommodations?

Any changes to a 504 plan should be done through the 504 meeting process. If you feel you have not been included or that changes have been made you can speak with your building administrator.

Who do I talk to if I have a problem with my 504 monitor?

If you have a problem with your 504 monitor, you should discuss this with the building administrator.

Accommodations in the classroom

My teacher is not giving me my accommodations, what do I do?

Let your 504 monitor know that you are not being offered your accommodations.

I don't use all my accommodations all the time, does that matter?

You can choose not to use your accommodations, but it is important that you communicate with your teacher, monitor, and parent if you:

  1. Want to see how you do without the accommodation or
  2. Don’t feel that the accommodation is necessary.

Often times accommodations that may have been helpful in elementary or middle school you may find are not helpful or necessary when you are in high school.

When are my teachers given the list of my accommodations?

We ask that 504 monitors provide copies of students’ 504 plans to their teachers within the first 3 weeks of school.

Is there a legal requirement that the teacher follows the accommodations or are they permitted to ignore those that are too burdensome?

Teachers are expected to offer the accommodations listed in a student's 504 plan.

When should I talk to my teacher about my accommodations?

You can talk to you teacher at any time about your accommodations, but it is recommended that you do so either before or after class or schedule a time to talk with them.

What skills should I be working on if I'm interested in going to college?

Self-advocacy ("I need this accommodation and here's why"); Articulation skills (illustrating how the accommodation helps); self-management (in college no one will wake you up for classes); and, Self-assessment (you need to know when to ask for help and who to ask, no one will be watching over you in college).

Who do I talk to if this FAQ does not answer my specific question?

If you have additional questions you can contact your 504 monitor or the District’s 504 Coordinator.

FAQ when getting ready for college

This FAQ has been created for you, the student.

You have now been at your high school for a while and it’s time to prepare for taking the PSAT in 10th grade. For questions about accommodations on the PSAT/ACT/SAT tests please review the summary and charts created by the LWPTSA Council Special Needs Group. The document is titled “Getting ready for college on an IEP or 504 - When and how to ask for ACT and PSAT/SAT/AP accommodations.” It is available at www.lwptsa.net/special-needs.

These FAQs answer some basic questions about what to look for in a college; and what to expect once you get to college. All of the advice given to any high school student applies to you too! Here are some additional things to know about.

What to look for in a college to find a good match for my learning style

Should I tell the college about my disability in my application?

Yes! You want to find out before you go if the college cannot accommodate your needs.

How do I disclose my disability to the college?

Colleges cannot legally ask you about your disability. But applications usually have something called an "additional information" prompt. This is where you can tell your story about your disability and how it affects you, what accommodations you have and how they work for you and how you have responded to your challenge.

Who do I talk to at the college about accommodations?

You will have to start with the Disability Office (name may vary). In college the burden is on the student to explain what accommodations are needed and why. Once the Disability Office agrees to your accommodations, then they will let you know how to inform your professors (i.e., presenting a document in person or by email).

When is the best time to talk to the college?

Email and/or speak with the disability coordinator via Skype to prepare ahead of time for your meeting with them when you visit the campus.

Are some colleges better than others at handling accommodations?

Most colleges today are quite good at handling accommodations, but they can vary greatly in the level of accommodation support offered. Additionally, some professors may need to learn more about why you need your accommodations in order to understand how to grant them.

You need to decide what your own learning style is (do you like sitting in a lecture hall? Are you more of a hands-on type learner?) Where do you want to live for the next 4+ years? What can you afford? Do you want to live in a big or small city? All the questions any other high school student must answer also apply to you.

Do I have to have a reevaluation of my disability before I can get accommodations in college?

No, as colleges are not bound by IDEA they will have different requirements for what they require in considering provision of accommodations. Typically a copy of your 504 plan from high school, and or copy of your most recent provider’s report will suffice. But again, each institution is different and you should inquire as to what colleges that you are interested in require.

What to expect once I get to college

How do my professors know I need accommodations?

The only way your professors will know you need accommodations is if you tell them. You need to describe your accommodation and explain why you need it. You do not have to disclose what your disability is.

Do my professors have to grant me my accommodations?

No. One strategy to consider (carefully though!) is to sign up for more classes than you intend to take and drop the ones where the professor is not a good match. Decide within the first week or you fall behind. And drop the class within the timeline your school gives.

Examples of accommodations that may be available. The list below only provides examples; the 504 team can create accommodations that they agree will best provide the student FAPE.

Aids/Assistance:
  • Calculator/manipulatives
  • Graphic organizers/visual aids
  • Multiple edits and guided edits
  • Task broken down into smaller components
  • Timeline for component parts
  • Other
Format:
  • Braille or large print
  • Opportunity to computer-generate or hand-write
  • Voice or text
  • Other
Other:
  • P - making progress on goals and objectives for elementary students
  • P - passing grade for secondary students
  • S - satisfactory grade for secondary students
  • School/home communication system
Presentation:
  • Audio versions of text
  • Books on tape
  • Braille, large print, or low vision devices
  • Check for understanding
  • Directions read orally
  • Eye focusing strip
  • Isolate portions of the assignments to focus (mask)
  • Isolate portions of the text
  • Mnemonic devices
  • Note-taker
  • Orally-presented directions may need to be reworded (with simplified vocabulary and/or sentence structure), visually represented, or physically demonstrated
  • Prompts/tests read orally to students
  • Provide appropriate models of articulation and/or grammatical errors
  • Task broken down into smaller steps
  • Text to speech software
Response:
  • Allow additional processing time
  • Calculator/manipulatives
  • Computer-generated response
  • Graphic organizers/visual aids
  • Mnemonic devices
  • Multiple edits/guided edits
  • Note-taker
  • Opportunity to computer generate or handwrite
  • Physical supports (easel, arm stabilizer)
  • Speech to text software
  • Use of spelling/grammar devices
  • Other
Scheduling/timeline:
  • Alternate times of day offered
  • Extended time beyond length of course (e.g. across semester)
  • Fewer courses per semester - more years to graduate
  • Reduced length of assignments
  • Regulated breaks/physical movement
  • Other
Settings:
  • Adult proximity
  • Allow noise buffers/headsets
  • Allow the use of sensory items, such as fidgets, wiggle seats, etc.
  • Alternative setting: individual or small group
  • Freedom for student to move or stand as needed
  • Isolated area provided
  • Physical supports (easel, magnifier, arm stabilizer)
  • Preferential seating
  • Work on assignments in special education setting
  • Other