Section 504 FAQ

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Section 504 FAQ

Post  Matthew on Sat Dec 22, 2007 12:13 pm

Q. What is a 504 plan?
A. A 504 plan is a legal document falling under the provisions of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It is designed to plan a program of instructional services to assist students with special needs who are in a regular education setting. A 504 plan is not an Individualized Education Program (IEP) as is required for special education students. However, a student moving from a special education to a regular education placement could be placed under a 504 plan.




Q. How is a student considered for a 504 plan?
A. A student with a physical or emotional disability, or who is recovering from a chemical dependency, or who has an impairment (i.e. Attention Deficit Disorder) that restricts one or more major life activities.




Q. What are examples of "major life activities"?
A. Major life activities include caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, working, and learning.




Q. What is the process for placing a student on a 504 plan?
A. There are essentially four steps:


Student is referred by teacher, support staff, parent/legal guardian, physician, or
therapist. On occasion, a student may initiate a self-referral.

A 504 plan meeting is held.

A plan for the student is developed.

A review date is set.

Q. Who is involved in the process?
A. The student, parent/legal guardian, teachers, principals, Pupil Services administrators, support staff (i.e. nurse, counselor, psychologist, language/speech pathologist) as well as the student's physician or therapist may be involved in the placement process including the 504 meeting




Q. What is the teacher(s) role/responsibility in the 504 placement process?
A. If you have a concern regarding a child's performance and/or behavior that you believe is caused by a disabling condition, you should initiate a referral after consultation with support staff and/or building administrators.

Also, you should participate in any meetings where a 504 plan may be developed. Further, you should be ready to supply pertinent data and documentation such as test scores, discipline referrals, and anecdotal information to assist in the writing of the plan.




Q. What accommodations might be included in the 504 plan?
A. Attached is a sample list of accommodations taken from the Pupil Services Handbook. Additional examples are presented below:

A child's seat assignment accommodates a disability.
A diabetic child may be permitted to eat in the classroom.
A child may be permitted to go to the office for the administration of medication.
A student's assignments or testing conditions may be adjusted (i.e. extensions of time, modification of test questions).
Note: This is a team process where all members of the team, not just the teacher, may have responsibilities in fulfilling the requirements of the 504 plan.




Q. What if I disagree with the 504 plan or any of its components? What are my rights?
A. If you disagree with the 504 plan you can:
Express your views at the meeting and suggest alternatives.
Refuse to sign the plan.
Contact your building steward if you believe the plan alters your terms and conditions of employment.




Q. Once the plan is approved, what are my responsibilities?
A. You are expected to reasonably follow the strategies written to implement the plan and to participate in the review process.


Q. Can a 504 plan be altered and can I request changes in the plan?

A. Yes. Make a written request to your building principal for a Pupil Services Team meeting. Send a copy to all who attended the meeting where the original plan was approved. In addition, be sure that there is a planned review date on the original 504 document so that the effectiveness of the plan can be evaluated and adjustments made, if needed, at that time.


Q. If I sign off on a 504 plan, what is my accountability?

A. You are legally responsible to implement your designated accommodation/strategies on the plan. You are advised to maintain regular and consistent documentation to display that you have attempted to implement the plan. For example: You may keep a file of student, work or write special notations in your gradebook, or maintain personal notes. Keep copies of any adjusted tests, assignments, behavior plans, and all notes to and from parents/legal guardians.
Again, if the plan isn't working for the student, ask in writing for the assistance of support staff (counselors, nurses, psychologists, etc.). Also, some degree of accountability rests with the parents/legal guardians in following through. Do not accept the burden alone. Again, keep copies of all pertinent documents.


Q. Can I call the union office with questions or concerns regarding individual students, placements, and 504 plans?
A. Yes. We will advise and support. Ultimately, the union office will pursue the matter if students are not being well-served or if violations of contract occur. If you have a problem, the initial contact should be through the union steward who will follow up with the building principal and appropriate staff.
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Matthew
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