Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are civil rights laws that guarantee that “no otherwise qualified person shall be excluded solely on the basis of a disability.” This means schools must identify students who have disabilities and provide supports and services to ensure these students have the same opportunity to access all programs and activities at the school they are qualified for despite the disabilities.
To qualify for a 504 plan, there are two requirements:
- A child has any disability, which can include many learning or attention issues.
- The disability must interfere with the child’s ability to learn in a general education classroom. Section 504 has a broader definition of a disability than IDEA. That’s why a child who doesn’t qualify for an IEP might still be eligible for a 504 plan.
Examples of disabilities which are addressed by 504 plans include ADHD, diabetes, asthma, depression and health-related issues.
Speak to your child’s Teacher, Guidance Counselor or the Student Assistance Team to ask about an evaluation for ADA/504.
If you would like a copy of your Parent Rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and California Education Code, please contact your school administrator. You may also contact the district.
If you and your child's school have tried a variety of changes in general education and they have not ben effective, the Student Assistance Team will make a referral for special education assessment. Parents can also request an assessment at any time. You should submit your request in writing, date it and note all areas of concern. Return the request to the school administrator or counselor. Special education is guided by legislation called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Within 15 days of your request, you will receive either:
- An Assessment Plan noting areas in which your child will be assessed; or
- A notice that the district declines to assess, with reasons given. You have the right to appeal this decision.
If you receive the Assessment Plan, you must sign it and return to the school.
Within 60 days of receipt of the signed Assessment Plan, all assessments will be completed and an Individual Education Program (IEP) meeting will be held to discuss your child’s eligibility. If your child is eligible, an IEP will be developed. An IEP will include specific goals to address your child’s needs, and services to support those goals.
There are numerous options in general education for addressing your child’s needs. Some of these might include:
- Peer tutoring
- Subject specific intervention
- School based counseling
- Intervention class
All California core curricular materials and textbooks have a variety of differentiation strategies to address different learning styles. Talk to your child’s teacher or counselor about possible strategies or supports.
In addition, each of our schools has a problem-solving team of educators who meet regularly to discuss strategies for their students who continue to struggle. This is called the Student Assistance Team (SAT). Teachers also meet regularly in a Professional Learning Community(PLC). These teams assist teachers and counselors by analyzing student performance data and planning needed intervention services for students.
Ask your child’s teacher or counselor about a referral to the school’s Student Assistance Team.
The following can help support your child's success:
- Make sure that your child comes to school well rested, on time, well fed and ready to learn. Eligible families can access free or reduced lunch services by applying at the school.
- Talk with your child’s teacher. Be sure to talk about your child’s strengths as well as any concerns and special needs.
- Review and assist with homework. Make sure there is a special time and place for your child to do homework.
- Ask for regular progress reports. Make sure you seek access to SchoolLoop or the Infinite Campus parent portal for electronic progress checks.
- Celebrate your child’s small successes.
- Participate in conferences and other meetings about your child.
- Make a list of specific questions to ask during conferences. For example, ask how your child learns best and what additional help may your child need.
- Ask how long extra help is being provided. By whom? How often? How long? Ask how you can support the school’s efforts at home.
- Offer to volunteer at your child’s school, if you can.