Have you recently received a Section 504 diagnosis for a learning difference, such as Dyslexia, and attend public school? I’ve shared with you the importance of preparing a binder that you will use to keep up with documentation, grades, work samples, notes, etc. Now, it is time to plan for success and there is no better way to do that, than with a meeting.
Request a Success Plan Meeting
It is all about lingo, baby. Or at least this is what I am finding. After two school years of regular parent/teacher conferences, I had no idea that nothing in these conference was set in stone accommodation or modification wise. In other words, if modifications for our son were agreed upon in a parent/teacher conference, even though it was documented on the parent/teacher conference paperwork, teacher nor the school where held accountable when these requests did not take place unless these specific accommodation/modification were listed in his 504 Committee Report and Accommodation Plan.
Not one professional told me this. I had to figure it our for myself when I filed a grievance with the Office of Civil Rights and their first question was What is stated in your child’s 504 Accommodation Plan?
Me: What? But I have all of these parent teacher conferences where we stated this and that.
OCR: It must be clearly outlined in his 504 Accommodation Plan.
To avoid this, you need to schedule what I call a Success Plan Meeting. I believe it is ideal to have a Success Plan Meeting at the beginning of each school year, while continuing to have parent teacher conferences, check in with the teacher via phone calls/email, as well as face to face contact through out the school year.
Who Will Attend the Success Plan Meeting
Request in writing, either email or a letter, that the following people attend:
- Your student’s homeroom teacher– for obvious reasons. She is the constant contact person who knows just about everything going on with your child.
- Dyslexia teacher– she is or will be instructing him with his dyslexia training.
- Your student’s reading teacher– this is only if they change classes for reading. At our school they begin changing classes for Math, Science, Reading, etc., in third grade.
- Title One reading teacher– if your child attends a school that is deemed Title One, there is additional funding given to your school for extra resources in specific areas such as reading. This teacher offers help for any student, as deemed appropriate by staff and parent. This extra training can be done by this teacher during the school day or after school in a tutoring type setting.
- School Counselor– you will soon find the school counselor is heavily involved in situations such as these. I see her very much as a liaison handling a great deal of the paperwork processing and coordinating from the very beginning of the testing/diagnosis process.
- Administrative Representative– this can be the principal or an assistant principal.
Whew, that is a lot of people in one room, hua?
If this leaves you feeling like there are many people stacked against you, remember this- you are your child’s voice. You are there for your child to get him all the help you can. I have sat in a room by myself with many of these people. If you feel intimidated, don’t! YOU ARE YOUR CHILD’S VOICE. Take your husband, if he is available. Take a friend or another parent who has been through this type of meeting if you need the support. Do you know a retired teacher? See if they would be interested in sitting with you. You can also hire an attorney to go with you, but I know for many this is financially not an option.
What to Discuss in a Success Plan Meeting
- you will attend the meeting with your binder so you can take notes and you readily have available any document you need from previous meetings. You can show samples of previous school work that support your reason for requesting accommodations. You will have his report cards at hand to support your concerns of struggle, etc.
- If everyone you invited attends this meeting, you have everyone in place that can meet and become familiar with you and see you are serious about getting your child the assistance he deserves. You can exchange email and contact phone numbers with each of these people. Each of these people, including yourself, play an intricate role in your child’s education.
- In this meeting you are going to ask for the accommodations and modifications you have researched and deem appropriate for your child.
- Expect this meeting to take a while. I have sat through meetings for 1-2 hours.
- At the end of the meeting, you are going to specifically state that you want these modification and accommodation requests reviewed by the 504 Committee.
- Now the committee will meet and review your requests. This committee is generally made up of many of the people you just met with in your Success Plan Meeting: school administrator, counselor, homeroom teacher and dyslexia specialist, etc.
Within a a few weeks you will have results from this meeting. For us, every single accommodation I asked for was given to Anthony, and more. Know that you do not have to sign any of the paperwork given to you unless you agree with everything outlined.
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I will tell you this school year has been Anthony’s most successful in his elementary career! The progress has been amazing when compared to some of his previous school years.
Please, share your thoughts. I would love to know your experience with dyslexia. I would love to know how you requested modifications or accommodations for your child and how that played out. If you have any resources or solutions you can add, please do! Please also share what state you are in as thing can be very different depending on where people live.
Upcoming Dyslexia topics include: reading/writing applications for your iTouch/iPad that your struggling student might find helpful, a guest post from a Crystal & Co., reader who has an amazing resource for Dyslexic students that I am so happy to share with you guys, websites to check out as well as some additional resources I’m finding as readers are sharing so much with me. One includes a potential site for finding an advocate.