Student Services

Student Services

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act

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Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a civil rights law intended to protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination. Section 504 protects qualifying students by prohibiting these students from being excluded from public schools, or being denied the benefits of the public schools, because of their disability. For more information visit: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/504faq.html


What is considered a disability under Section 504?

To be considered a disability under Section 504, BOTH of the following criteria must be met:

  • The disability must be a physical or mental impairment.  The Department of Education describes “physical or mental impairment” as follows:

(a) 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; reproductive; digestive, genito-urinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or

(b) Any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, or specific learning disabilities.  34 CFR 104.3(j)(2)(i).

  • The disabling condition must substantially limit one or more major life activity; a “major life activity” includes (but is not limited to) learning, concentrating, thinking, communicating, reading, walking, seeing, breathing, eating, lifting, bending and major bodily functions/systems (neurological, immune, respiratory, etc.)

What is a 504 Accommodations Plan?

An Accommodations Plan is the primary mechanism used under 504 to provide equal access to educational services for students with a qualified disability. It is designed to make changes, as appropriate, to the classroom environment or the delivery of instruction to provide the student with equal access to the educational curriculum. This plan is individualized to the needs of the student.


Who should I contact if I suspect my child may have a qualified disability and is in need of a 504 Accommodations Plan?

Contact the designated 504 coordinator or school administrator at Arapahoe Charter School. 


If my child has a qualifying disability, will he/she automatically receive a 504 Accommodations Plan?

If your child’s qualifying disability substantially limits a major life activity related to learning or classroom performance (i.e., concentrating, learning, thinking), ACS procedures require that the 504 Committee, along with at least one of your child’s teachers and a parent, will determine if an Accommodations Plan is appropriate. The purpose of the 504 Accommodations Plan is to provide students with a qualifying disability equal access to his or her educational environment, materials, or program. Accommodations will be related to how the disability is currently impacting the student at school. 

Not all children with a disabling condition under 504 are in need of a 504 Plan – some disabilities that substantially limit a major life activity may not be impacting a student while at school, may be a condition in remission, or may be currently treated with medication or other health interventions outside of the school that improve the symptomology or manifestation of the disability while the child is at school, making a 504 Plan unnecessary.


Accommodations may be changes in the way a student accesses instruction and assessment such as: 

  • Specialized equipment and materials (ex: amplification, Braille, large print, assistive technology)

  • Changes in setting for assessments (small group)

  • Scheduling changes (extra time, more frequent breaks)

  • Changes in student response requirements (marks answers in test book, scribe)

  • Facilities accessibility (more frequent restroom use, elevator pass) 


How does a 504 Accommodations Plan work for testing?

Testing accommodations for a Section 504 student should be based on the student’s accommodations used during the identification and progress monitoring process. If a student needs a testing accommodation, the accommodation must be used every time a student is tested. In order for a testing accommodation to be used for district and state‐mandated tests, it must be considered routinely used in the classroom. To be considered as routinely used, the accommodation must be in place for at least 30 calendar days before the test window opens in order for the student to use the accommodation listed on the Section 504 plan.

Testing accommodations:

  • Should in no way alter the content of the assessment or interfere with the integrity of the test construct

  • CANNOT be implemented solely for district or state‐wide assessments

  • Are graded the same way as those completed without accommodations

  • Are meant to “level the playing field,” provide equal and ready access to the task at hand, and are not meant to provide an undue advantage for the student

How long will a 504 Accommodations Plan be in effect?

504 Accommodations Plans will be reviewed annually and must be reevaluated every three years to determine if the student continues to qualify as disabled under Section 504.

What are my rights as a parent under Section 504?

As a parent or legal guardian, you have the right to:

  • Receive notice regarding the identification, evaluation and/or placement of your child;

  • Examine relevant records pertaining to your child;

  • Request an impartial hearing with respect to the school’s actions regarding the identification evaluation, or placement of your child, with an opportunity for the parent/guardian to participate in the hearing, to have representation by an attorney, and have a review procedure;

  • File a complaint with your school Section 504 Coordinator, who will investigate the allegations regarding Section 504 matters other than your child’s identification, evaluation and placement.

  • File a complaint with the appropriate regional Office for Civil Rights. For additional information, contact:

U.S. Department of Education

Washington, D.C. 20202-1100
(800) 421-3481
www.ed.gov/ocr
E-mail: ocr@ed.gov


For further information see Handbook on Parents’ Rights

http://ec.ncpublicschools.gov/parent-resources/ecparenthandbook.pdf


McKinney–Vento Homeless Assistance Act

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Arapahoe Charter School shall provide an educational environment that treats all students with dignity and respect. Every student experiencing homelessness or transition shall have access to the same free and appropriate educational opportunities as students who are not homeless. This commitment to the educational rights of homeless children, youth, and unaccompanied youth, applies to all services, programs, and activities provided or made available.

A student may be considered eligible for services under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act if he or she is presently living:

  • In temporary shared housing, a shelter, or transitional living program;

  • At a bus station, park, car, or abandoned building; or

  • In temporary or transitional foster care placement.

According to the McKinney-Vento Act, eligible students have rights to:

  • Immediate Enrollment – documentation and immunization records cannot serve as a barrier to the enrollment in school;

  • Enrollment – eligible students have a right to select from the following schools:

    • The school he/she attended when permanently housed (School of Origin);

    • The school in which he/she was last enrolled (School of Origin);

    • The school of attendance in which the student currently resides (School of Residency);

  • Remain enrolled in his/her selected school for the duration of homelessness, or until the academic year upon which they are permanently housed;

  • Participate in programs for which they are eligible, including Title I tutoring programs, free lunch in schools with the National School Lunch Program, and Head Start & Even Start Preschool Programs;

  • Transportation Services – a McKinney-Vento eligible student attending his/her School of Origin has a right to transportation to and from the School of Origin;

  • Dispute Resolution – if you disagree with school officials about enrollment, transportation, or fair treatment of a homeless child or youth, you may file a complaint with the school. The school must respond and attempt to resolve it quickly. During the dispute, the student must be immediately enrolled in the school and provided transportation until the matter is resolved. The McKinney-Vento Liaison will assist you in making decisions, providing notice of any appeal process, and filling out dispute forms.

We are committed to meeting the needs of all children. If you have or know of a child who could benefit from such a program, please contact Arapahoe Charter School Homeless Liaison Sherry Reeves at sherry.reeves@arapahoecharter.org  for more information.

Parent Rights http://center.serve.org/hepnc/dl/prod/parent_poster.pdf

Student Rights http://center.serve.org/hepnc/dl/prod/youth_poster.pdf


NCDPI Federal Program Monitoring and Support: Homeless Program

http://www.ncpublicschools.org/program-monitoring/homeless/

CONTACT: Lisa Phillips, State Coordinator for Homeless Education

Lisa Phillips

State Coordinator

NC Homeless Education Program (http://center.serve.org/hepnc/)

PO Box 5367
Greensboro, NC 27435
Office: (336) 315-7491

For more information about the NC Homeless Program, please visit www.serve.org/hepnc/