• Section 504 Referral Process, Timelines and Types of Meetings


    Section 504 Initial Referral Process 

    An initial referral to the Section 504/I&RS Team begins the Section 504 process for a student. Persons  who may refer students with suspected disabilities include parent(s)/guardian(s), any NHRHS staff member, or the student (for self-identification only).  NHRHS highly recommends that any parent referrals or student referrals be submitted in writing. All NHRHS staff must  submit their referral in writing using a Section 504 Staff Referral form. 

    Timeline: The Initial Evaluation Meeting is held within a reasonable time from the receipt of the initial referral, generally within 30 calendar days. 


    The Initial Evaluation Meeting  

    An initial evaluation meeting is the first full Section 504/I&RS Team meeting. At this time the Section 504/I&RS Team asks for the consent of the parent/guardian and obtains written consent by completing  the Section 504 Informed Consent for Initial Evaluation or Reevaluation form before the team begins the process. The Section 504 Eligibility form is used to document this permission.  Through the evaluation process, the team reviews all  relevant and pertinent data that may be used to draw conclusions as to whether a student has a  disability that meets Section 504 eligibility criteria. This may include a review of formal assessment(s), such as psychological report(s), but does not require it.  

    Timeline: The Initial Evaluation Meeting is held within a reasonable time from the receipt of the initial referral, generally within 30 calendar days.  


    The Eligibility Determination Meeting 

    An eligibility determination meeting is conducted when the Section 504/I&RS Team applies the student data to the Section 504 eligibility criteria in order to make a final determination as to whether a  student is a student with a qualified disability.

    Timeline: The Eligibility Determination Meeting is held within a reasonable time following the Initial Evaluation Meeting, generally within 60 calendar days. In most circumstances, evaluation and    eligibility meetings will occur during the same meeting. This 60-day window will likely be used when the Section 504/I&RS team  needs additional data.  


    The Section 504 Plan Development Meeting 

    At the Section 504 Plan development meeting the Section 504/I&RS Team determines what type(s) of  accommodations and/or related services the student requires. 

    Timeline: The Section 504 Plan Development Meeting is held within a reasonable  period of time following the Eligibility Determination Meeting, generally within  30 calendar days. Every effort should be made to schedule the eligibility and  Section 504 Plan development for the same meeting. 


    The Annual Review Meeting 

    Section 504 annual review meetings allow team members to review and discuss the Section 504  Plan and determine if any changes are needed for the new school year. 

    Timeline: A Section 504 Review Meeting must be held annually, generally within  one year of the date of the Eligibility Determination Meeting or last Annual  Review Meeting. Some annual review meetings may be done as an amendment agreement without a formal meeting.


    A Three (3) Year Reevaluation Meeting 

    Three-year reevaluation meetings are conducted to make a determination as to whether the  student remains eligible with a qualified disability and determine if any changes are necessary to  the Section 504 Plan.  Updated documentation will be required every 3 years.


    Meetings Held at Parent(s) Request 

    Section 504 meetings may be held to address a parent’s request that a Section 504 evaluation be  conducted when they feel their child may meet the law’s eligibility criteria. Section 504  meetings are also held at parent request to discuss any concerns parents have regarding any  aspect of their child’s Section 504 Plan. NHRHS staff may ask for specific clarification of the  parent’s concern before scheduling the Section 504/I&RS Team meeting. After speaking with the Section 504 Coordinator, the parent may simply want a parent teacher conference if the purpose is not Section 504 related. The parent has no obligation to clarify exactly what they want to address. If, after discussion, the parent reaffirms his/her desire for a  Section 504/I&RS Team meeting, the school must schedule the meeting.  

    Timeline: Meetings at parent request will be held within a reasonable period of  time, generally within 30 calendar days of receipt of the request. 


    A 504 Manifestation Determination Meeting 

    A manifestation determination meeting is required if the student commits a conduct violation and the recommended sanction is a suspension of more than 10 cumulative or consecutive school  days in a school year.  Manifestation meetings are exempt from  the 10-calendar day notice guideline. 

    Timeline: Section 504 Manifestation Meetings shall be scheduled as soon as  possible but no more than 10 school days after the conduct violation.  


    Required Notice 

    In addition to the above timelines, a school must provide a Section 504 Meeting Notice form to  the parent(s), generally 10 calendar days before a Section 504/I&RS Team meeting can be held. A manifestation determination meeting must be held within 10 school days of the incident that led  to suspension. If the school is unable to meet the timeline requirements of any Section 504/I&RS Team  meeting, the school’s Section 504 Coordinator may consult with the NHRHS Section 504 Coordinator. As part of the Section 504 Meeting Notice form, the parent is also provided a copy of the parental rights document, Notice of Procedural Safeguards Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. 


    Conducting the Section 504 Annual Review Meeting 

    Based on a review of the data from teachers in the Section 504 Progress and  Accommodation Review Worksheets, the Section 504/I&RS Team determines if the student is using the  accommodations listed in his or her current Section 504 Plan and the effectiveness of each. The  Section 504/I&RS Team determines the following: 

    • What are the particular accommodations no longer utilized and why?  
    • Does the current Section 504 Plan remain appropriate?  

    The Section 504/I&RS Team uses the answers to the questions above to determine if the current  accommodations are providing the student with equal access to public education programs and  activities and if any additional accommodations or supports may be needed to ensure such  access. 

    All Section 504 Plan accommodations listed on a student’s Section 504 Plan must be designed to  meet the student’s current educational program. Any accommodations that are no longer  warranted are removed and not included in the revised Section 504 Plan. 

    It should be noted that in most cases, the “Physical or mental impairment as identified through  Section 504 eligibility criteria review” and “Major life activity substantially limited by the  identified impairment” remain the same as determined at the last eligibility determination Section 504 meeting. If there are new data to review in consideration of changes in either the  physical or mental impairment or major life activity determinations, the team should first review  the data by conducting a reevaluation and completing a new Section 504 Eligibility Determination form. It is important to remember that reevaluations are required every three  years; however, they can be held earlier, if necessary.  During reevaluations updated documentation will be required.


    Conducting the Section 504 Reevaluation Meeting  

    Three (3) Year Reevaluations are conducted to make a determination  as to whether the student remains eligible with a qualified disability and determine if any changes are necessary to the Section 504 Plan. The Reevaluation Meeting is held within three years from the previous Three Year Reevaluation Meeting. A Three Year Reevaluation Meeting will take the place of the current year’s required  Annual Review Meeting.  

    A reevaluation Section 504/I&RS Team meeting begins with a review of existing data. Each of the  student’s teachers must complete the Section 504 Progress and Accommodation Review  Worksheet and submit the completed form to the student’s Section 504 case manager prior to the  reevaluation meeting. When the purpose of the meeting is a reevaluation, the Section 504  Progress and Accommodation Review Worksheet will include questions on both the impact of  the disability and the process and accommodation review.  The Section 504/I&RS Team completes the Section 504 Eligibility Determination form. The Section 504 eligibility decision of the Section 504/I&RS Team is documented on the Section  504 Eligibility form by selecting one of the available conclusions listed on the form, in the  “Reevaluation Eligibility Decision” section. 


    Reevaluation Eligibility Determination  

    • Based upon re-evaluation data, the student continues to be a student with a disability under Section 504 because there is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a  major life activity. The Section 504 Plan will be reviewed/revised
    • Based upon re-evaluation data, the student no longer is a student with a disability under Section 504 because there is not a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a  major life activity. A Section 504 Plan is no longer needed. 

    After the completion of the Section 504 Evaluation Review Meeting and Eligibility  Determination form, if the student remains eligible for a Section 504 Plan, the student’s Section  504 Plan is revised, as appropriate. 


    Conducting an Interim Review of the Section 504 Plan 

    An interim progress review meeting may be held any time the Section 504/I&RS Team needs to  evaluate the appropriateness of services or accommodations currently provided in a student’s  Section 504 Plan. The student’s parent, the student, the case manager, or teacher(s) may request  such a meeting at any time. The Section 504/I&RS Team completes the Section 504 Plan form to  document the discussion and decisions of the Section 504/I&RS Team. If changes are needed to the student’s Section 504 Plan, create a new Section 504 Plan by carrying over all parts of the  document from the previous plan and make edits.  


    Removal of a Section 504 Plan 

    The Section 504/I&RS Team must conduct a reevaluation, as described above, before determining that a  student is no longer eligible under Section 504 and removing the Section 504 Plan. If the reevaluation determination is that the student’s physical or mental impairment does not  “substantially limit” a major life activity, then the student is no longer eligible for a Section 504  Plan.  

    If a student was referred to the IEP team and was found to be eligible, the Section 504 flag will  also need to be removed. Keep in mind that while the student is now eligible for an IEP, the  student is still protected under Section 504 and these protections are provided through the IEP.