Question: Does my child’s 504 plan have to be revisited at the start of each school year? Is there a legal requirement to review it annually?
No, unlike with IEPs, there’s no legal requirement to review a 504 plan each year. But it’s a good idea to have an annual 504 plan review meeting anyway. In fact, it’s hard to imagine a situation where you wouldn’t want to revisit the plan at the start of the year.
The new school year brings a lot of changes for your child—like new teachers, subjects, and classes. Kids starting middle school or high school may be in a new setting for the first time. There may also be changes in medication and new extracurricular activities, like sports and clubs. A 504 plan should adjust for these changes.
If possible, I suggest you reach out to your child’s school before the start of the year to ask about a 504 plan review. You’ll want to contact the staff person responsible for 504 plans. This person is sometimes called a 504 coordinator, but the title may vary by school. Once you get in contact, you can ask for a meeting.
There isn’t a required list of attendees for a 504 plan meeting. But it’s important for you to ask that key staff attend. At the very least, this includes your child’s teachers and the principal. During the meeting, you may want to go over your child’s needs, current services and accommodations, any changes in the new school year, and what’s working and what’s not.
Keep in mind that revisiting your child’s 504 plan isn’t the same as a 504 re-evaluation. A re-evaluation is more extensive. It may include testing and teacher observations.
The law doesn’t require an annual 504 plan re-evaluation. It only requires “periodic re-evaluation,” which is generally every three years or so. If there are significant changes in your child’s needs or placement in school, then you may want to consider asking for a re-evaluation, in addition to a review. For instance, the beginning of middle school or high school is a good time for a re-evaluation.
It’s important to stay on top of your child’s 504 plan. Revisiting it at the start of each school year can help you make sure the 504 plan is working for your child.