SEPAC deals with students in Special Education, that is the primary focus. We are not restricted in any form from dealing with other students, and those on a 504 plan or a DCAP have some similar issues. Here are the definitions.
IEP – Individualized Education Plan
An IEP is written for a student who has been found eligible for Special Education. Special Education is defined in the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) as follows (emphasis mine):
Regulations: Part 300 / A / 300.39
Sec. 300.39 Special education.
(1) Special education means specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability, including–
(i) Instruction conducted in the classroom, in the home, in hospitals and institutions, and in other settings; and
(ii) Instruction in physical education.
Here is the key to it all …
Regulations: Part 300 / A / 300.39 / b / 3
(3) Specially designed instruction means adapting, as appropriate to the needs of an eligible child under this part, the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction—
(i) To address the unique needs of the child that result from the child’s disability; and
(ii) To ensure access of the child to the general curriculum, so that the child can meet the educational standards within the jurisdiction of the public agency that apply to all children.
The purposes of IDEA include ensuring that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education (FAPE) that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living. [34 CFR 300.1(a)] [20 U.S.C. 1400(d)(1)(A)]
So a student gets an IEP if, and only if, the student needs the content or method of teaching modified in order to be able to access the information in the general curriculum. Much more information here.
The 504 Plan is a plan developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives accommodations that will ensure their academic success and access to the learning environment.
Not all students who have disabilities require specialized instruction. For students with disabilities who do require specialized instruction, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) controls the procedural requirements, and an IEP is developed. The IDEA process is more involved than that of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and requires documentation of measurable growth. For students with disabilities who do not require specialized instruction but need the assurance that they will receive equal access to public education and services, a document is created to outline their specific accessibility requirements. Students with 504 Plans do not require specialized instruction, but, like the IEP, a 504 Plan should be updated annually to ensure that the student is receiving the most effective accommodations for his/her specific circumstances.
DCAP – District Curriculum Accommodation Plan
A school district shall adopt and implement a curriculum accommodation plan to assist principals in ensuring that all efforts have been made to meet students’ needs in regular education. The plan shall be designed to assist the regular classroom teacher in analyzing and accommodating diverse learning styles of all children in the regular classroom and in providing appropriate services and support within the regular education program including, but not limited to, direct and systematic instruction in reading and provision of services to address the needs of children whose behavior may interfere with learning, or who do not qualify for special education services under chapter 71B. The curriculum accommodation plan shall include provisions encouraging teacher mentoring and collaboration and parental involvement.