Section 504 Coordinators Institute

If you are a school district Section 504 coordinator or otherwise have an interest in Section 504 and the ADA, consider this two-day option that is available at a reduced price. The topics and presenters include:

Thursday AM

Exploring Differences between Section 504/ADA and the IDEA: The Basics and the Nuances


Dr. Perry Zirkel (University Professor Emeritus of Education and Law, Lehigh University), presenter

In the context of K–12 students, this session will provide a systematic and comprehensive comparison among Section 504, the ADA, and the IDEA in terms of the respectively applicable legislation, regulations, and case law. The comparison addresses successive student-specific issues, such as eligibility, services, procedural safeguards, discipline, enforcement, and litigation. Section 504 questions that are often the subject of confusion and that will be addressed directly in the context of this comparison include, for example, the following: 1) Does Section 504 and/or the ADA require school districts to provide evaluation or other services for students enrolled in private, including parochial, schools? 2) Does child find apply to 504-only students? 3) Does the ADA provide more stringent requirements than does the IDEA for (a) hearing impaired students and/or (b) service animals? Does Section 504 have any requirements for expulsion of 504-only students that differ from the IDEA requirements for expelling students on IEPs?

Thursday PM

Beyond the Basics: Top Current Issues under Section 504 and the ADA

Julie Weatherly (Alabama school attorney), presenter

Tanya Alvarado (Pennsylvania parent attorney), reactor

In recent years, tough student issues under Section 504/ADA have been noticeably on the rise.  From eligibility determinations to disciplinary actions, this session will provide a practical review of the “hottest” current 504/ADA issues with defensible answers for effective practice.  For instance, what is a school’s responsibility to consider a private physician’s diagnosis of ADHD and accompanying “prescription” for a 504 Plan?  What about a “prescription” for a service dog or miniature horse?  Should a school develop a rubric for determining what constitutes a “substantial limitation” of a major life activity? What are the school nurse’s obligations under Section 504/ADA with respect to students who have individual health plans?  What must the football coach do when the parents insist that their child’s 504 Plan requires participation on the varsity football team? Two seasoned special education attorneys will provide district and parent perspectives on resolution of these questions, along with a lively culminating case for group discussion.


Friday AM

Section 504 Nuts and Bolts: Getting Down to Brass Tacks


Lisa Hardcastle (Section 504 coordinator, Clear Creek Independent School District, Texas), presenter

This session will address practical issues for both new and experienced 504 coordinators. It will provide useful procedures, forms, and strategies for effectively implementing Section 504 in compliance with the applicable Section 504 and ADA regulations. We will do so via real-life scenarios which illustrate the application of this practical information. The issues include Section 504 grievance procedures and procedural safeguards notices; child find obligations; eligibility evaluations and determinations; 504 plans and FAPE requirements; discipline issues; and dealing with OCR complaints. Come join us to share best practice across a wide variety of jurisdictions. 

Friday PM

Pulling Together the Strands of Section 504 Implementation: An Informal Discussion with Colleagues

Lisa Hardcastle, moderator

Has your school district implemented a process that holds promise for increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of your district’s compliance with Section 504 and the ADA? Conversely, are there challenges that you face in your daily work with Section 504 that would benefit from learning promising practices from other school districts? This interactive session will provide a comfortable, direct opportunity for Section 504 coordinators to share positive experiences as well as concerns with each other. The culminating session will also be a forum to raise and answer any questions relevant to Section 504 that arose during the Thursday and earlier Friday sessions.


Next step: If you are interested in registering for the Section 504 Coordinators Institute component (Thursday/Friday) or for the entire week, including the Section 504 Coordinators Institute, please Register. This “Special Education Symposium” registration page provides an option for the two-day Section 504 Coordinators Institute, as well as week-long, or daily symposium attendance. Registrants experiencing difficulty in registering for multiple days, please email for assistance.