Section 504 Process
The Section 504 Process consists of four steps: (1) Referral; (2) Evaluation; (3) Eligibility Determination; and (4) the Section 504 Plan. For eligible students with a plan, the district must also provide regular reviews of the plan, reviews to support changes in program and/or transitions across grade levels, and conduct re-determination evaluations.
A student who, because of a suspected mental or physical impairment, is believed to be in need of accommodations or educational services under Section 504, may be formally referred by a parent, teacher, other certified school employee(s), or the adult aged student himself/herself. The referral process involves proper documentation of the presenting concerns, notice to parents, consent, and notice of procedural safeguards. Parents are to be provided with copies of referral and consent forms and given the opportunity for clarification of terms, timelines, and procedural safeguards. If you believe that your child should be considered for a Section 504 Plan, please complete the referral form attached and return to the school, attn: Rachel Dorf-Caine. If you plan on referring a child, please also download and read the Notice of Parental Rights below.
A determination of Section 504 eligibility (i.e., a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity within the school environment) must be based on a multi-source evaluation. The nature and extent of the information needed to make a Section 504 eligibility decision is determined on a case-by-case basis by a group of persons knowledgeable about the student and the meaning of evaluation data. The following sources of information may be considered as appropriate evaluation methods:
- Observations of the student
- Standardized tests or other assessments by school staff
- Parent/Student/Teacher interviews
- Behavior rating scales or other checklists
- Pertinent medical information
- Information provided by the parent
The eligibility determination should be made by a group of persons knowledgeable about the student, the meaning of the evaluation data and placement options. The school forms a team to conduct the evaluation, determine eligibility, and develop a plan for the eligible student. Appropriate team members may include the classroom teacher, instructional resource teachers and appropriate related services staff, if needed.
Section 504 Plan
Where a student is found to be eligible, a Section 504 Plan will be developed. The building Section 504 Team, which includes the parents, will be responsible for determining the special accommodations and services that are needed to ensure that the student receives a free appropriate education. The Plan will specify how services will be provided and by whom.
So, What's the difference between a 504 Plan and Exceptional Children Services (Individualized Education Program)?
This chart has the answer.
504 Coordinator: Rachel Dorf-Caine, school counselor, (910) 849-0888 ext. 202