Sherry Culves offered practical tips in Special Ed Connection on how school districts can navigate Section 504 meetings with parents, where they discuss a school's plan to support a disabled student.
"Remember that these meetings can be frightening to those individuals that don't work in this space day in and day out," Sherry said. "These things really come down to human interaction and treating others like you would want to be treated."
Sherry recommended demystifying the 504 process for parents, including by explaining acronyms and jargon. Team members should also explain the reasoning behind their recommendations, especially if parents disagree with the decision.
"We need to, to the extent possible, try to build buy-in with transparency, explanations of what has happened to date, what was tried, and what our rationale is for doing things," Sherry said. "All of those things will go a long way toward forming consensus."
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Special Ed Connection is a go-to resource for more than 2,500 school districts.