Skip To Main Content

Referral For Services

How does an IEP differ from a 504 Plan?

A 504 Plan is for students who have a disability, have a record of a disability, and/or are treated as having a disability but do not qualify for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). It is important to realize that eligibility under Section 504 is not automatic for students who do not qualify for special education services under IDEA. Before deciding whether a student is eligible for this type of plan, the child must be assessed. The school team must agree that the child has a substantial and pervasive impairment, and that it substantially limits his/her ability in a major life area, (ie. learning) in order to be eligible for reasonable accommodations under this federal law. The purpose of a 504 Plan is to level the playing field and allow a child to get the accommodations needed to access the curriculum at the same level as his or her peers.

Special Education Services

If intervention strategies are deemed ineffective as noted above, and a referral is made to the district Child Study Team, a Planning Meeting takes place to determine if further evaluations are necessary. A Planning Meeting does not imply or guarantee the school will determine formal evaluations are necessary to decide if a special education classification is warranted. If the district determines that further evaluation is not warranted, more intervention strategies are typically recommended. If the district determines that further diagnostic evaluations are necessary, a testing plan will be established. Requests for evaluations can be made if a student is suspected of having a disability that substantially impacts the student’s educational performance and mainstream interventions have been tried through either I and RS and/or the students’ school counselor. The exception to this would be a true emergency. Requests must be made in writing with a parental signature, addressed to the Supervisor of Special Services in the school district in which the family is residing or, for foster children, the district in which the child is attending school.

Process and Timeline for Special Services

Once a request for a Planning Meeting is received, a meeting will be held within twenty days. The participants of the meeting include the parent(s), a classroom teacher, and some or all of the Child Study Team members. The Child Study Team consists of a learning disability teacher-consultant, school psychologist, speech therapist and school social worker. A “temporary” case manager is assigned and an evaluation plan is considered. If further diagnostic evaluations are determined to be necessary, the evaluation process may take as long as ninety days, involving the collection of data, test results, observations, interviews, and any other pertinent information that was agreed upon in the evaluation plan. The process concludes with an eligibility determination meeting and, if eligibility criteria has been met, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is developed with the IEP Team Members.

Special Services Programs

The special services staff includes specialists in psychology, social work, learning disabilities, speech therapy, occupational and physical therapy, special education, reading, and supplementary instruction. Special Education programs and services are individualized to meet the needs of each student.


Please use the links below to access the appropriate documents needed for your request.

Handbook on Parent's Rights