Frequently Asked Questions

Who can join the Dover Sherborn SEPAC?
Residents of Dover and Sherborn, and the parents or guardians of students who attend our schools, are welcome to participate in our meetings.

Is there a specific time commitment involved?
No. Our members participate when they can and to the extent that they are comfortable with.

Are there any fees or membership dues?

Will other people learn information about my child?
We all face the same challenges in meeting our children’s educational needs. We respect and understand our families’ individual challenges, and their right to privacy and confidentiality. There is no need to disclose your personal information. Members discuss what they wish to share at their discretion.

Why does my child qualify for Special Education Services?
Children qualify for Special Education services when they have a disability that adversely affects educational performance. Before qualifying, specific concerns may need to be addressed by a medical professional, information has to be gathered from the parents and teachers about the student, and specific testing needs to be completed by the school. This testing must include all areas related to the suspected disability. Qualifying for an Individualized Education Program (IEP) means that your child has a disability that prohibits them from accessing the general education curriculum.

What’s the difference between an IEP & a 504 Plan?
The fundamental difference between an Individualized Educational Program (IEP) and an Individual Educational Accommodation Plan (commonly referred to as a 504 Plan) is that an IEP provides special education services for students who require specially designed instruction, while a 504 Plan puts accommodations into place which allow students to gain equal access to programs and facilities. IEPs include a plan of action as well as a report on the amount of progress by the student. Accommodations are provided in 504 Plans, but no measurement of progress is put in place.

Individualized Education Program (IEP)
Under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), an IEP is the written statement that details the goals, services, accommodations, and modifications a student will be provided to ensure that he or she can make effective progress in school. IEPs end when the student graduates or when the student reaches age 22.

504 Plan
Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, students who have a handicap that substantially interferes with a major life activity are entitled to accommodations that allow them the same level of access to instruction and other school activities as non-disabled students. 504 plans continue after graduation and protect qualified individuals from discrimination based on their disability. Refer to the 504 Fact Sheet & the U.S. Department of Labor website for more information.

Who attends an IEP meeting?
The Dover Sherborn School District brings together a team consisting of parents, general educators, and special educators to collaborate in making important education decisions for students. Parents have an important perspective on their child’s learning style, strengths, and needs. The School makes every effort to ensure the parents feel comfortable communicating information about their child at these meetings. The combined knowledge and resources of all these individuals provides an opportunity for greater success.

What is the confidentiality of an IEP?
A student’s IEP must remain confidential and shall not be disclosed to any other individual not directly involved in the implementation of the IEP. All IEP copies must remain in a secured location on school grounds.

How can I learn more about the federal and state educational protections under the law?
The U.S. and Massachusetts Departments of Education protect all students’ educational rights generally. There are also laws that specifically protect the rights of students with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights protects against discrimination and ensures that students who have disabilities are granted equal access to the curriculum, programs, and facilities at school.

Refer to the Educational Rights section of our website for complete information.