What is Section 504?
Section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act allows for the creation of formalized supports for students with disabilities who attend schools that receive Federal financial assistance. This covers most (if not all) public schools, including Aragon High School.
Who is protected under Section 504?
To be protected under Section 504, students must be found 'eligible'. The eligibility process requires that the student be determined to:
- Have a physical or mental impairment (by diagnosis of impairment, prior determination of impairment, or appearance of impairment)
- The impairment must impact one or more major life activity
- The major life activity must be 'substantially limited' by the physical or mental impairment.
Examples of major life activities include the following: learning, walking, seeing, speaking, hearing, thinking, breathing, concentrating, working, reading, caring for oneself, and performing manual tasks.
How do students request services at Aragon High School?
Parents, guardians, or students interested in working through the Section 504 eligibility process at AHS should begin the process with a conversation with their student's School Counselor. Our School Counselors are adept at discussing the process and assisting parents with understanding the requirements of determining if their student's disability or impairment is considered 'substantially limiting' of a major life skill.
Generally speaking, the following is a brief overview of the eligibility process at AHS:
- Conversation between Parent/Guardian with School Counselor (students may also self-identify)
- Parent/Guardian will submit a formal 'Request for Support' through our online survey. The School Counselor will send this information to the parent only after discussing the different supports we offer students on campus.
- Request is reviewed by the Student Intervention Team (SIT). This team meets weekly to review all Requests for Support. The SIT team will make the determination of whether all on-campus and district-level interventions have been exhausted prior to moving forward with an approval of an eligibility determination meeting. We do our utmost to ensure that we have exhausted all of our Tier 1 and Tier 2 resources to meet students' needs prior to formalizing individualized student support plans. Possible SIT recommendations include (but are not limited) to the following:
- Additional Tier 1 interventions are put into place to support student
- Additional Tier 2 interventions are put into place to support student
- SST meeting is scheduled to determine appropriateness of a formal individualized student support plan.
What's the purpose of an SST Meeting?
Student Study Team (SST) meetings are scheduled to delve a little deeper into the issues a student may be experiencing that is 'getting in the way' of their ability to work at the same level of their peers. SST meetings are recommended by the Student Intervention Team (SIT).
If your student has been scheduled for an SST meeting, this is what you can expect:
- A formal invitation: While parents are not required to attend SST meeting, we value your input and will always invite you to a meeting about your student. This invitation will come in the form of an email or letter through the USPS.
- A request for information: Along with an invitation, we will also send you a form to complete about your student's personal and academic strengths and struggles. There is also a form included for your student to complete - their voice is important in this process, too, since we will focus our attention on them! Please bring these feedback forms with you to the SST meeting - we will review that information and any other documents you would like to share with us at the actual SST meeting (including medical reports and outside academic or psychoeducational evaluations you've had completed).
- Meeting participants:
- Assistant Principal
- School Counselor
- School Psychologist (in the event that it appears that we may recommend an assessment for services through Special Education).
- Meeting Agenda: This may help you understand the ebb and flow of the meeting (which will run for about 45 minutes):
- Introductions of meeting participants
- Identify the primary area(s) of concern (why the student was referred for an SST meeting)
- Review a summary of formal performance data (current grades, transcripts, CAASPP results, etc.)
- Review a summary of behavioral data (attendance/truancy issues, behavior issues, disciplinary actions and consequences, etc.)
- Discussion of parent/guardian report/comments (health history, interventions attempted in past, school history, outside supports already in place, information from medical professionals, and a review of the student's strengths - things they are good at and positive personality attributes). We will review your feedback form at this time.
- Discuss of student report/comments (we will ask your student to offer their perspective at multiple points in the meeting).
- Review a summary of staff reports and commentary (we solicit feedback from all of your student's teachers prior to the meeting and will share their feedback in the meeting).
- Determine the outcome and next steps.
Our SST meetings are an involved process with the express purpose of getting a solid understanding of the issues your student is working through and making collective decisions on how best to support them in the school environment moving forward.
For more information on Section 504, please refer to our SMUHSD District 504 page or the 504 FAQ section of the U.S. Department of Education website.