Section 504 Plans
SECTION 504 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT OF 1973
What is a Section 504 Plan?
A Section 504 Plan is an accommodation plan that requires classroom teachers and other school staff to provide accommodations and/or services necessary for Section 504 eligible students to participate in and benefit from public education programs and activities. Accommodations may provide support for physical, instructional, or social/emotional nature. Section 504 is a civil rights law that protects the rights of individuals with disabilities. Section 504 is a responsibility of the general education program and requires participation from the general education staff and curriculum.
Differences Between Section 504 Plans and Special Education
|Americans with Disabilities Act (1990)||Individual with Disabilities Education Act (1975)|
Who qualifies for a Section 504 Plan?
A qualified individual with a disability is a student who:
- has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; and
- has a record of such an impairment or is regarded as having such an impairment.
- A physical impairment is any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory: including speech organs; cardiovascular, etc.
- A mental impairment is any mental or psychological disorder such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.
- A major life activity is defined as functions such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, reading, thinking, and concentrating.
How are students identified as being eligible for a Section 504 Plan?
- In many cases students are referred for review by a Student Success Team (SST), Coordinated Care Team (CCT), Positive Behavior Team (PBT) or Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team.
- Your Section 504 Coordinator will convene a team to determine eligibility.
- The school must complete the Section 504 Evaluation for Eligibility worksheet. Evaluation material can include: formal & informal test results, aptitude and achievement tests, observations and anecdotal records, attendance and behavior records, medical reports, grades/transcripts, teacher reports, and recommendations.
- A student meets the eligibility requirements under Section 504 if the site team determines that:
- there is evidence of a physical or mental impairment and can establish the basis for their determination; and
- there is evidence of a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits a major life activity.
What are the appropriate accommodations for a Section 504 Plan?
- An Accommodation should be an effective strategy provided as an alternative means to support a student's disability so that the student has the same opportunities to access assignments or activities as non disabled peers. An accommodation adjust how a student will learn.
- An accommodation should be specific to the classes/activities affected by the disability.
- An accommodation should not change the rigor or affect the grading of assignments for average engagement of the general population of students. Ask the students what the symptoms/triggers are for the physical/mental impairment so that you can try to prevent the symptoms/triggers from occurring.
- An accommodation should be reasonable:
- Accommodation maintains a safe learning environments for all participants
- Accommodation does not require alteration to the core curriculum or goals of the program
- Accommodation still enables program staff to perform their core functions
- Accommodation does not create an undue financial burden for the program that could impact operation.
- It is a provision of support ensure equitable access. Accommodation plans do not ensure passing grades. The accommodation adjust ho students learn and help build student independent thinking skills and become more capable of taking care of themselves.
Please contact your student’s school administrator for more information.
Assistant Director, Student Services
(925) 682-8000 x6282
(925) 682-8000 x4025