Q. You may be wondering: Is there a standard form or template schools follow for 504 plans? Does the school have to put the 504 plan in writing?
A. The short answer to these questions is no. These are some of the differences between 504 plans and Individualized Education Programs (IEPs).
IEP forms are based on a federal model. States usually use that exact form or adapt it to create one of their own. That’s because federal law says there are certain elements that all IEPs need to address.
With 504 plans, however, each school district develops its own plans. There is no standard form. In fact, there isn’t even a requirement that the plan be written.
Unlike with IEPs, schools aren’t required to involve parents when developing a 504 plan. But parents do have specific rights in all public schools and some private schools under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. As a parent, you have the right to:
- Receive notice regarding the identification, evaluation, and/or placement of your child.
- Examine records regarding your child.
If you disagree with the district’s decisions regarding Section 504, you have the right to:
- Request and participate in an impartial hearing.
- File a complaint with your school district’s Section 504 coordinator.
- File a complaint with the regional Office for Civil Rights.
While it’s not required, most schools do use a written form for a 504 plan. Most also include parents in the 504 process. And plans usually include a list of your child’s .
If your child does end up with a written plan, make sure to ask the school’s 504 coordinator to show it to you. (You should always be able to speak with the coordinator about your child. If you don’t know who the coordinator is, you can start by reaching out to the principal or assistant principal.)
If you’re going to your child’s 504 plan meeting, make sure you’re prepared and ready to participate. It can help to create your own unofficial written 504 plan to take with you. That way you can make sure all the right elements go into the official plan from the school.
About the author
About the author
Bob Cunningham, EdM has been part of Understood since its founding. He’s also been the chief administrator for several independent schools and a school leader in general and special education.