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I have a 504 or an IEP. Can I take IB classes?

I have a 504 or an IEP. Can I take IB classes?

Yes, absolutely! The IB encourages students to challenge themselves and SHS is committed to helping you achieve. We can ask the IB for testing accommodations on your behalf if you fill out this form and return it to your IB teacher by at least November 1 during the year that you test in your IB class. 

We have outlined the following Policy on Inclusive Education for our IB classes. Please click here for a printable copy.


Somers Central School District will ignite a passion in each student by engaging students at a personal level to ensure success in a global society.  

As part of our mission, vision and values, the Somers Central School District is committed to meeting the individual needs of each of our students with a focus on ensuring that all students graduate from our high school with the knowledge skills, and experiences they need to find success–in higher education, in the workforce, and in life.  

We embrace three over-arching goals targeted on the Whole Child, ensuring the development of students who are emotionally and physically healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. We believe the learning environment in our schools must sustain student learning in addition to supporting the other components–21st Century Skills, Social/Emotional/Physical Wellness, and Global Citizenship–in order to support the development of the Whole Child. We are committed to understanding the story of each and every child and providing a personalized learning experience for all.  

Infusing the global dimension in our curriculum means that links must be made among personal, local, and global issues. It also means that students should be afforded the following opportunities: 

  • To critically examine their own values and attitudes  
  • To appreciate the similarities among people everywhere and value diversity  
  • To understand the global context of their local lives 

Our Vision

The vision for SCSD encompasses three fundamental areas, each an important component of the Whole Child: 

  • 21st Century Knowledge and Skills 
  • Social-Emotional-Physical Wellness 
  • Global Citizenship 

Our Values

We desire to be a school district that  

  • Believes our schools are the center of our community—a safe place to be and grow.  
  • Leads by example and encourages students to follow their passions.  
  • Holds high expectations for student achievement and character.  
  • Develops a K-12 curriculum, instructional resources, and assessments intended to prepare students to thrive in a global community.  
  • Recognizes and celebrates the collective efforts and achievements of the Somers community and embraces a healthy balance of participation from all stakeholders.  
  • Values social/emotional/physical wellness as much as academic achievement.  
  • Believes the arts are vital to the core curriculum.  
  • Gives back to the community through service to others.  
  • Understands the law, the Constitution, and our civic, ethical, and personal responsibilities to each other.  
  • Develops relationships that are characterized by honesty, respect, and integrity. 
  • Learns from and works collaboratively with individuals from diverse cultures, religions, and lifestyles in a spirit of mutual respect and open dialogue.  
  • Supports and encourages professional collaboration, district-wide and with local organizations, to promote student learning.  
  • Is driven by a sense of continuous improvement. 

SHS Inclusive Education Policy Rationale

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that we continue to adhere to all national and state laws with regard to Special Education while providing the information, support, and guidance to enable students with special learning needs to access the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.  

To this end we will:  

  • Maintain a practice of “guided open enrollment” for all students in accessing the IB Diploma Programme or specific IB DP courses.  
  • Ensure that students receive guidance in selecting courses and understand the requirements of the programme and the supports that will be available.  
  • Identify a Special Education faculty member to serve as a liaison for students with special needs wishing to access the IB Diploma Programme.  
  • Provide information sessions for both students and parents to address specific questions related to the IB Diploma Programme and students with special learning needs.  
  • Ensure that existing support systems such as the Somers High School Success Center and the Somers High School Writing Center are equipped (staff and learning resources including technology) to meet the needs of all learners.  
  • Continue professional learning community experiences for all faculty and staff members to explore ways to differentiate instruction, personalize learning, and create opportunities for all students to find success. 

Guiding Bodies

We have several ruling bodies whose guidelines and regulations we must satisfy: New York State, the United States Federal Government, and—as an IB World School offering the Diploma Programme and in the authorization phase of the Middle Years Programme—the International Baccalaureate Organization. We are bound by and pleased to adhere to the regulations outlined below, designed for equity and access for all learners. 

New York State Requirements

Somers High School complies with and is bound by the Special Education and Inclusive Learning laws and practices outlined by New York State government as follows: 

  • Our physical buildings must allow access for any and all kinds of mobility and physical issues, outlined in Appendix E of the New York State Building Code, most recently updated in 2020. 
  • Students are referred for evaluation by either an educator or a parent, or sometimes by another interested party such as a doctor, a judge, or a judicial officer, as outlined in New York State's Special Education Guide. Students who are found eligible for special services and/or accommodations will have either an IEP (governed by the State) or a 504 (governed by the Federal Government), outlining the needs and plans for that student. This is determined by committee at a child’s Annual Review or Evaluation meeting, and is a legal and binding document. 

New York State’s parameters for an IEP, outlined in its Special Education Guide, are as follows: 


As well, New York State advocates in this Guide that students with IEPs be placed in what it calls the Least Restrictive Environment

Least Restrictive Environment

Federal Requirements

The US Department of Education outlines its practices regarding students with disabilities here.  

Assistive Technology Act (1998, updated 2004) requires and provides funding for providing assistive technology to those with disabilities needing assistance such as a screen magnifier, works in braille, or screen readers. More information can be found here

Every Child Succeeds (ESSA) ACT (2015, formerly NCLB) is a law that focuses on “the nationals national education law and longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students.” From its website

ESSA Highlights

President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act into law on December 10, 2015. 

ESSA includes provisions that will help to ensure success for students and schools. Below are just a few. The law: 

  • Advances equity by upholding critical protections for America's disadvantaged and high-need students. 
  • Requires—for the first time—that all students in America be taught to high academic standards that will prepare them to succeed in college and careers. 
  • Ensures that vital information is provided to educators, families, students, and communities through annual statewide assessments that measure students' progress toward those high standards. 
  • Helps to support and grow local innovations—including evidence-based and place-based interventions developed by local leaders and educators—consistent with our Investing in Innovation and Promise Neighborhoods 
  • Sustains and expands this administration's historic investments in increasing access to high-quality preschool
  • Maintains an expectation that there will be accountability and action to effect positive change in our lowest-performing schools, where groups of students are not making progress, and where graduation rates are low over extended periods of time. 

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 (most recently amended in 2008) are federal laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. The full text of the ADA is available here

Title II is an amendment to these acts, which clarifies the role of state and local governments in ensuring equal access and addresses the regulations implementing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to which all public schools in the United States must adhere. The full text of the law is available here, and Somers High School is in full compliance. 

Section 504 is a further amendment to this law, which addresses public elementary and secondary education. The US Department of Education’s guide defines the role of Section 504 this way: 

How does this determine student-eligibility for services? 

  • Students with disabilities, as determined by the 504 committee (comprised of …) who conduct an “appropriate evaluation” (see Section 17), must be provided with “appropriate educational services designed to meet the individual needs of such students to the same extent as the needs of students without disabilities are met.  
  • An appropriate education for a student with a disability under the Section 504 regulations could consist of education in regular classrooms, education in regular classes with supplementary services, and/or special education and related services.” These supplementary services include extended time or separate location for assessments, directions read aloud, refocusing and redirection, etc. 

For how long do 504 Accommodations last? 

  • Students in elementary and secondary school must receive “a free and appropriate education” that “consists of regular and special education and related aids and services designed to meet the individual education al needs of students with disabilities as adequately as the needs of students without disabilities are met.” This remains true until the postsecondary level, at which point students must be provided with “appropriate academic adjustments and auxiliary aids and services that are necessary to afford an individual with a disability an equal opportunity to participate in a school’s program” but “are not required to make adjustments or provide aids or services that would result in a fundamental alteration of a recipient’s program or impose an undue burden.” 
  • The law requires that “periodic evaluation” happen (see Section 28) at least every three years, “or more frequently if conditions warrant.” 

How is a 504 plan different from a disability referenced in the IDEA? 

  • “The school district must determine whether the student has an impairment which substantially limits his or her ability to learn or another major life activity and, if so, make an individualized determination of the child’s educational needs for regular or special education or related aids or services.”  
  • Additionally, this “impairment” may be permanent or temporary and, if temporary (such as a physical injury), “the issue of whether a temporary impairment is substantial enough to be a disability must be resolved on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration both eh duration—or expected duration—of the impairment and the extent to which it actually limits a major life activity of the affected individual” (See Sections 32 and 33). 

Communication of 504 and IEP Accommodations with Classroom Teachers

Sharing Information with teachers: Our Learning Management System is called Infinite Campus. In the Student Summary section, teachers will see whether there is a flag, the presence of which indicates either an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 Document. Teachers are able to click the Document link, which confers full access to the student’s document, which describes the nature of the disability and the required accommodations.  

Available for Students with Learning Disabilities
(From Least to Most Restrictive Environment)

Consultant Teacher Indirect: The student has a case manager who will touch base with both the student and their teachers to ensure that all of the student’s needs are being met in academic classes. 

Consultant Teacher Direct: The student meets with a special education teacher for a minimum of 2 hours per week to address needs in study skills, executive functioning, access to materials, and/or test accommodations. 

Learning Center (Resource Room):  The student is assigned to a daily class for one period to meet with that teacher to review the daily goals and objectives outlined in the student’s IEP to ensure alignment with the ongoing work in all of the student’s classes.  

Integrated Co-Taught: Two teachers, one special education and one general education, collaborate and share the responsibilities for all of the students assigned to their content-specific class, incorporating modifications and accommodations for students with disabilities in the daily lessons, classwork, and assessment. Special education students in this scenario also attend a Skills Class to reinforce content and skills. 

Special Class: A teacher and a teaching assistant work with students in a smaller staff to student ratio (typically 12:1:1) when students need different curriculum in order to meet grade level benchmarks. 

GOAL (Growth Oriented Accessible Learning): Self-Contained integrated program designed for students whose academic and social needs require more intervention, while still having appropriate access to the general academic programs. These students typically remain with us until the year they turn 21.

Available for All students

ASC: The Academic Support Center is staffed by a full-time teacher and a teaching assistant. In addition, subject teachers are scheduled to assist students here as a duty period. Students who are identified as needing extra assistance, whether due to STAR testing results or grades in their classes, attend ASC as part of their daily schedule for help with organization, skills, and strategies, or with a specific subject. 

Writing Center: A member of the English department runs a college-style Writing Center, which provides drop-in appointments for students to work on their work at any stage of the writing process, from brainstorming and planning to writing to editing and revision. As well, the English teacher who runs the Writing Center pushes into classes when they are working on writing or research, whether an IA for an IB course or a research paper in an underclassmen course, etc. 

Library Media Specialist: A full-time library media specialist is available to meet with both individual students and classes to provide research and media literacy instruction and support. Lessons are tailored to the specific need and ability to each course and student group. Resources are also curated to meet the needs of our diverse student body, in multiple formats.  

Extra Help: Teachers regularly meet with individual students or smaller groups for extra assistance with their work. This occurs during lunch, study halls or other free periods, and after school. 

Students with Temporary Needs

TSP: The Transitional Support Program utilizes a full-time school psychologist and teaching assistant to assist students who experience a temporary disruption to their academic progress due to social/emotional challenges that negatively impact their ability to thrive in the classroom. This safe and supportive environment promotes learning emotional regulation and distress tolerance skills through the use of evidence-based strategies that will facilitate a return to the traditional school setting. 

D-1 Requests for IB Students: Monitor the student body for and remind teachers to notify the coordinator of any arising circumstance (such as an illness, accident, mental health difficulties, bereavement, quarantine, or other unforeseen event) that might arise in the need to fill out a D-1 form for students, and acquire and submit the required documentation for proof of this last-minute need in a timely fashion. Somers High School recognizes the modifications to the Adverse Circumstances Policy followed by the IB, including the removal of the special consideration component. 

Assessment and Students with 504 and IEP Plans

Classroom Assessments: All students follow the testing accommodations listed in their IEP or 504. We have created a designated “Testing Center” staffed by a teaching assistant that allows students to begin or finish exams and other assessments in a separate location, in order to receive any approved specific testing accommodation as per the IEP or 504 requirements.  

State and Local Final Examinations: Students with testing accommodations and modifications take local finals in a separate location, staffed and supervised by Special Education faculty members and teaching assistants. The Special Education department leader works closely with administration to determine the schedule, location, and delivery of exams and their accompanying accommodations, as well as helping to determine which proctors are able to provide and be responsible for ensuring appropriate modifications and accommodations. Students with corresponding needs (for example 1.5 time) are grouped together.  

SAT/ACT Testing: The administrative assistant in our Counseling Center is responsible for collecting relevant documentation from IEP/504 documents, as well as anecdotal evidence from teachers, and submitting these to the companies to apply for the testing accommodations the student normally uses and is entitled to for state and local examinations. This administrative assistant also helps students and families who which to appeal the decision of the College Board or the American College Test.

AP Exams: Students apply for their testing accommodations via the College Board’s registration platform, AP Classroom. 

IB Assessments: SHS has created a position called the Inclusive Education Liaison to the IB Programme, who works with the DP coordinator to encourage students with learning disabilities to participate in IB classes and, by extension, IB assessments.  

  • Late September: The DP Coordinator identifies students registered in IB courses who have IEP or 504 Accommodations and shares this list with the Inclusive Education Liaison to the IB Programme, who gathers accommodation information from IEP-Direct, our online platform for collecting student information. 
  • Early October: The students are asked, in their IB classes, to bring home and together with their parents/guardians fill out this form, which outlines the procedures for requesting testing accommodations for an IB assessment, as well as collects permission to upload supporting documentation on a student’s behalf.  
  • Late October/early November: The DP Coordinator and the Inclusive Education to the IB Programme upload requests for students, notify families of approval or of any issues, and re-apply if more supporting documentation is needed. 
  • April: The Diploma Programme Coordinator and the Inclusive Education Liaison to the IB Programme work with relevant administrators to appropriately assign rooms and examination times—always abiding by the IB’s examination schedule—to ensure that testing modifications as well as IB’s invigilation and examination requirements are honored and adhered to. As well, the DPC and the Inclusive Education Liaison to the IB Programme train invigilators according to IB’s requirements, whether they will be invigilating students with testing accommodations or not, together. 
  • May: The DPC and the Inclusive Education Liaison to the IB Programme ensure that all students, in whatever room they test in and whether or not they have testing accommodations, have access to a clock, to a clear posting of the Conduct of Examination Notes to Candidates, and to properly-trained invigilators. 
  • September through May: Monitor the student body for and remind teachers to notify the coordinator of any arising circumstance (such as an illness, accident, mental health difficulties, bereavement, quarantine, or other unforeseen event) that might arise in the need to fill out a D-1 form for students, and acquire and submit the required documentation for proof of this last-minute need in a timely fashion. Somers High School recognizes the modifications to the Adverse Circumstances Policy followed by the IB, including the removal of the special consideration component.  

Responsibilities of Stakeholders

The school shall 

  • Embody and promote the philosophy that all students can learn 
  • Commit to an open enrollment policy for IB courses and diploma candidacy 
  • Provide appropriate professional development for faculty and staff to help all students 
  • Seek implement innovative supports and interventions 
  • Sufficiently fund initiatives 
  • Promote and uphold RTI 
  • Communicate resources available to students and families 
  • Ensure awareness of compliance with IEP and 504 directives 
  • Support counselors in their work with students to ensure appropriate choices in their course selections 
  • Maintain a Whole Child Study Team (WCST) that regularly meets to discuss students having difficulty in order to ensure full access to available supports. 
  • Support the Committee on Special Education (CSE) chairperson in the work to identify and support students with learning needs and provide teachers with all IEP and 504 documentation, as well as ensure implementation of accommodations 
  • Support the school psychologist, social workers, and transitional support staff in their work to make curriculum accessible to all learners regardless of their cognitive and/or social emotional needs. 

Teachers shall 

  • Foster inclusivity 
  • Participate in PD 
  • Encourage students to reflect on their own learning 
  • Identify struggling learners and follow the appropriate RTI process 
  • Comply with and adhere to 504 and IEP requirements 
  • Maintain discretion and confidentiality when working with students who require special needs 

The IB Diploma Programme Coordinator shall work with the Inclusive Education Liaison to 

  • Help to identify and organize appropriate PD 
  • Disseminate information about IB’s requirements for Inclusive Learning and Accommodations to teachers, students, and families 
  • Gain permission from students and families to share confidential information with IB 
  • Apply for testing accommodations with relevant paperwork on the IBIS website 
  • Maintain confidentiality at all times 
  • Adhere to deadlines 
  • Communicate accommodation approval and denial to students and families 
  • Ensure that the assessment invigilators and students adhere to all rules and approved accommodations appropriately 
  • Assist students with IEP and 504 documentation in deciding which IB courses they should enroll in, particularly regarding assisting Diploma Candidate in assessing which Groups 1-6 Subjects would best fit their needs. 

The Inclusive Education Liaison shall 

  • Work with Special Education administrators and teachers to identify students who may be candidates for the IB programme or individual IB classes 
  • Collaborate with IB classroom teachers to support the educational needs of students 
  • Keep up to date with IB and Inclusion and attend workshops and trainings which are relevant to IB and students with educational needs 
  • Work with the IB Coordinator to ensure that all modifications for students taking IB exams are met for both classroom work and for IB assessments and papers 
  • Maintain an open line of communication with parents of special education students. Provide tips for studying, and planning, and for overall success in the IB program 
  • Attend an interest meeting with the IB coordinator and parents to review and discuss program expectations and expectations of IB students 
  • Work with IB students and/or IB teachers one-on-one to monitor the progress of individual students in the IB programme 
  • Attend annual review meetings as necessary 
  • Attend IB specific faculty meetings on a monthly basis or as needed at the building level 
  • Maintain knowledge of Approaches to Teaching and Learning in IB, Theory of Knowledge, Extended Essay and CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service) 
  • Create action plans – including program supports – to ensure that students find success in IB courses and, if applicable, in attaining an IB Diploma 
  • Work with the IB Coordinator and HS Administrators and Faculty to review and revise as needed this Special Educational Needs Policy  

Parents/Guardians shall 

  • Take an active role in their child’s education 
  • Promote self-advocacy to their child 
  • Supply appropriate paperwork and documentation to the IB Coordinator while adhering to deadlines 
  • Communicate to the school any changes in their child’s special education needs, including ones that require an adverse circumstance request 

Students shall 

  • Demonstrate self-advocacy 
  • Communicate clearly with their teachers, supervisors, coordinators, and the DP coordinator 
  • Adhere to deadlines and academic honesty 
  • Ask for information and support when they need clarification or assistance 
  • Take an active role is using the accommodations and modifications afforded to them 
  • Work toward developing the traits in the Learner Profile 

Review: This policy will be reviewed annually and updated when needed, in the context of state, federal, or district law or policy changes. 


  • IB DP Coordinator, Alison Scanlon 
  • IB MYP Coordinator, Erin Stewart 
  • IB Inclusive Education Liaison, Colleen DeRenzis 
  • IB Counseling Liaison, John Fleck 
  • Library Media Specialist, Christine Drysdale 
  • Director of Counseling and Student Support Services, Phil Kavanagh 
  • Director of Special Education, Stacey Elconin 
  • Assistant Principal: Peter Rodrigues 
  • Special Education Teachers: Barbara Bird, Joan Cass, Christine Martin, Tammar Merav, Sara Norton, Jed Varricchio, Laura Vegliante