Adopted by Committee on Instruction - June 9, 2015
Accommodations, commonly part of a plan for a student who has a permanent or temporary disability, are outlined in a formal individual education plan (IEP) or 504 plan. Accommodations level the playing field, allowing students full access to the curriculum without changing it.
Students seeking accommodations in honors-level courses (a) must meet departmental qualifications and (b) must be capable of working with content material at a faster pace and in greater depth than would be expected in the non-honors level equivalent courses. For students with disabilities, teachers will adhere to the accommodations stated in the IEP or 504 plan with the exception that classwork and homework expectations in honors-level courses will not be modified with respect to volume, pace and rigor.
Modifications are course changes, outlined in an IEP, that substantially reduce the curriculum in terms of volume, pace, and/or rigor. While accommodations level the playing field, modifications substantively change the playing field. For example, if a student with a print disability needs all texts available in electronic form, this would be an accommodation. If a student needs texts available at a lower reading level, this would be a modification. Modifications may lead to course individualization.
Individualizations involve such significant reductions to a course’s curriculum, volume, pace, and/or rigor that the student’s academic experience and learning are fundamentally different from their classmates and, as such, require a relabeling of the course. Courses may be individualized for the following reasons:
- A course may be individualized for a student on an IEP if the Special Education learning specialist, in consultation with the teacher, determines that this change is in the best interest of the student.
- A course may be individualized for a student who has had a sudden, severe, and/or traumatic experience; course individualization will be determined by a team that must include the teacher, the student's counselor, and an administrator.
- A course may be individualized for a student who is suffering from a medically or psychologically diagnosed and documented condition that chronically interferes with the student’s regular participation in the course; course individualization will be determined by a team that must include the teacher, the student's counselor, and an administrator.
If the decision is made to individualize a course, the student may stay in that class, but the course title will be relabeled as individualized on report cards and transcripts. An honors course that needs to be individualized
will also be relabeled as individualized and will no longer be designated as an honors course on report cards or transcripts.
Further explanation for what constitutes an “individualized” course will be provided in the school profile.
Stages of Intervention
For students receiving special assistance through an IEP, the curriculum may be adjusted in non-honors courses if the adjustment is developed cooperatively by the learning specialist, parent, and classroom teacher and is included in the student’s IEP. An IEP meeting may be called as a student’s needs change.
For students on a 504 Plan or in the Dresden Plan, requests for adjusting courses are subject to the following protocol:
- Students on a 504 plan should be using the appropriate accommodations set forth in the student’s 504 Plan.
- If the student is not successful in the class, the student will be required to use available resources such as resource centers, supervised study, and tutors, and may receive an academic schedule-up.
For students who are outside our Special Education, 504, and Dresden programs and are determined to be struggling to meet basic course expectations, these incremental steps should be followed:
Please note: The failure to do homework in a course is not a reason to move, change, or modify a course.
- Students should avail themselves of regular education resources (e.g., x periods, resource centers, supervised study, etc.).
- Students who continue to struggle academically despite availing themselves of these regular education resources should move to the next lower level in the same subject, i.e. Biology to General Biology.
- Students may also be assigned to a Dresden Plan course in the same subject area, to be designated on the transcript as such (e.g. Dresden Plan Biology).
- Students with a long-standing (e.g. 6 months) history of difficulty or inability to do course work should be referred to 504 or Special Education.