Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a Section 504? How do I get one and who is the contact at school?
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) is one of several federal and state laws that protect students with disabilities. Section 504 is a federal civil rights statute prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Contact the 504 Liaison at your child’s school. Every Broward County Public School has a Section 504 designee.
- What is an IEP? What is the process and length of time?
An IEP is an individualized plan for a student identified with a disability which outlines what the student is currently able to do, what the goals are for the student over the next 364 days, what services and accommodations will be delivered to enable the student to work toward and meet the goals, what placement (setting) those services will be delivered in, as well as what state and district testing the student will participate in and the accommodations for that testing. The IEP team, to include the parent of the student (and anyone the parent chooses to bring to participate), the student when appropriate, an LEA representative, a general education teacher of the student, the ESE service providers of the student, and an evaluation specialist, meet annually in order to write a new plan. The amount of time needed for an IEP team to develop an IEP can vary widely depending on the individual student and the length of the discussion needed to capture all necessary information and reach consensus on the plan. Parents will receive notice of the scheduled meeting date and time at least ten days prior to the meeting and are given the opportunity to agree to the proposed date and time or to contact the school’s ESE Specialist in order to select a mutually agreeable alternate date and time for the meeting. In the event that a parent is unable to attend in person, parents are able to participate via phone conference. Parents will receive a draft of the proposed present level of performance and goals at least five days prior to the date of the annual IEP meeting in order to ensure that parents can meaningfully and actively participate in the development of the IEP and provide input.
- What is Evergreen? How does it take effect?
- What is IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act)
As stated on the US Department of Education’s website, “The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.” More information regarding IDEA can be found at http://idea.ed.gov/.
- How long do the services last?
Once an IEP team finalizes an annual IEP, those services are in place for 364 days or until they are revised through an IEP Amendment, Interim IEP, a new IEP is developed, or the student is reevaluated and found to no longer be a student with a disability in need of services and the services. As long as a student remains identified as a student with a disability who is in need of services, the student will continue to have a current IEP with services in place.
- What’s the first step for a parent if they have questions regarding getting started?
Parents with questions regarding the process for finding their student eligible as a student with a disability should contact the ESE Specialist at the school where their child attends. If the student is not yet school aged, parents with questions can contact the district’s Pre-school Services Office/Child Find at 754-321-7200. Parents of students attending private schools should contact the district’s Private School Services Office at 754-321-3400.
- Is it ever too late in age, grade or time of year?
Parents can bring concerns to the ESE Specialist at their child’s school at any time of the school year, regardless of their child’s age or grade.
- Does every school have ESE/504 specialist.
Every school has either a part time or full time ESE Specialist depending on the school’s caseload size. Every school also has a person designated as the 504 liaison.
- Where can I find more information about the McKay Scholarship?
- Where can I find the Code of Conduct manual?
- Does my child have to be failing in order to receive an evaluation/consideration for services?
No, any time that school staff or a parent feels that a student is struggling and is not responding to the interventions that the school has put in place, the team can meet and request that an evaluation be conducted.
- Are my child’s rights the same in a charter school?
Yes. Charter Schools are Broward County public schools. Each charter school has a part time or full time ESE Specialist and is expected to put interventions in place, evaluate students suspected of a disability, write IEPs, provide ESE services to students, develop reevaluation plans, etc. Depending on the charter contract that a specific charter school has with the district, there are varying levels of ESE services that a given charter may be able to provide. In cases where a charter school is not able to meet the needs of a specific ESE student, the school district and the charter school will work closely together with the parent to ensure that the student is placed in a school that can meet the student’s needs.
- I am concerned that my child is struggling academically/behaviorally, who do I go to?
The first place that a parent should turn to with concerns regarding their child is their child’s current school. A parent can request a parent-teacher conference or a conference with the school’s guidance counselor or administration at any time.
- Do I have to wait for the RTI Process to be completed before an evaluation can be requested?
A parent has the right at any point within the RtI process to request that an evaluation be conducted. The parent should put this request in writing and address it to the ESE Specialist at the school who will then schedule a meeting with the parent and the team.
- Can a school refuse to provide an evaluation?
In the event that the school district has already conducted an evaluation within a year, the school can refuse to evaluate again. Also, if the school has sufficient data/evidence that the student is making progress and is responding positively to interventions that have been put in place, it is possible for the school to refuse to conduct an evaluation. If a school refuses to conduct an evaluation, the parent will receive written notice outlining the reason(s) for refusal. The parent has a right to review the data that the school has collected to make the decision to refuse to conduct an evaluation.
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