Inclusive Education Policy

Mechanicsville High School, in conjunction with Hanover County Public Schools, is committed to providing a “free appropriate public education” to all students. Using the State of Virginia’s policy and legislation as its framework, we follow the steps of identification and referral, evaluation, determination of eligibility, development of an Individualized Education Program (IEP) with appropriate services, and re-evaluation. As a public high school, we adhere to the guidelines and processes outlined in the “Parent’s Guide to Special Education,” published by the Department of Education. This document is the de facto policy governing special education at Mechanicsville High School.

Services at Mechanicsville High School are provided based upon the individual needs of the student as outlined in the IEP, regardless of a student’s placement in the International Baccalaureate Program. Therefore, all special education students who enroll in IB classes or in the IB Diploma Program are afforded the same levels of support as all special education students attending Lee-Davis High School. The following are illustrative examples of services that students may access depending upon their own IEP.

  • Adapted instructional materials and/or presentation (large print, audio assistance, etc.)

  • Modified assessments

  • Additional time

  • Additional support for study skills, social skills, or academic achievement through the Resource Classes

  • Transition goals and related services to ensure that students are equipped for higher education and employment opportunities, as well as other types of community engagement post-high school

Mechanicsville High School provides for the needs of special education students through the intense cooperation of faculty. Students identified as needing special services are assigned a case manager who ensures that the student’s IEP is understood and followed by all classroom teachers. This case manager is also responsible for following all of the necessary steps in creating, implementing, and revising a student’s IEP so that the document continues to outline appropriate goals, services, and accommodations for the student.

Mechanicsville High School and Inclusive Arrangement with the IB program

The Diploma Program at Mechanicsville High School is open access and students are encouraged to take IB classes. An IB student with special assessment needs is one who requires special arrangements in assessment conditions to demonstrate his or her level of attainment. These needs may be individual learning challenges whether physical or psychological. The IB Coordinator in conjunction with the Special Education Senior Teacher, the Principal, and the IB teachers involved will review cases to ensure that reasonable accommodations can be made for both teaching and assessment to ensure completion of the IB course assessments and requirements. The IB Coordinator will ensure that a “grade awarded to a candidate in any subject is not a misleading description of that candidate’s level of attainment, so the same standards of assessment are applied to all candidates, regardless of whether or not they have special needs” (Candidates with Special Assessment Access Requirements, p. 4).

Candidates with special assessment needs such as those who have IEP’s (Individualized Education Plan) and 504 plans with legal documentation will be given the legally adopted accommodations as permitted in examinations without prior authorization from IB specified below and taken from the IB Candidates with Assessment Access Requirements (2009 - updated 2014):

  • “3.1 A candidate is permitted to take an examination in a separate room if it is in the best interests of the candidate or other candidates in the group. For example, lighting may be a particular consideration for a candidate with a visual impairment, or a room with an echo may be difficult for a candidate with autism. Furthermore, a candidate’s condition or the nature of the inclusive assessment arrangement (for example, a scribe, a computer) may disturb other candidates, in which case a separate examination room is justified. If the examination is taken in a separate room, all regulations governing the conduct of IB examinations must be observed. The candidate must be kept under the constant supervision of an invigilator.

  • 3.2 The coordinator may arrange for appropriate seating to meet the needs of individual candidates (for example, sitting near the front may be appropriate for a candidate with vision or hearing difficulties).

  • 3.3 An assistant, if necessary a nurse, may be in attendance if this is necessary for the welfare or safety of a candidate. The assistant must not be another candidate or a relative of the candidate.

  • 3.4 A candidate who normally uses an aid (for example, a coloured overlay, a Braille slate, a sound amplification device, a radio aid, a hearing aid, a low vision aid, a magnifying aid, coloured filter lenses) is allowed to use the aid in examinations. Note: It is in breach of regulations if candidates are found in possession of any other mobile devices in the examination room.

  • 3.5 A candidate with a hearing condition may receive instructions from a communicator. This arrangement must be confined to explaining the conduct of the examination and the instructions in an examination paper. The communicator must not convey information about any aspect of a question in the paper without prior authorization from IB Assessment centre.

  • 3.6 If a candidate has difficulties in reading or attention, test directions may be clarified by the invigilator or a designated reader. This arrangement must be strictly confined only to clarifying the directions and the instructions and not the content of the questions.

  • 3.7 Magnifying devices to enlarge and read print may be used by candidates with vision issues. These may include magnifying glasses and line magnifiers.

  • 3.8 For a candidate who has colour blindness, the coordinator (or invigilator) is permitted to name colours in an examination paper (for example, on a map in a geography examination). However, no other form of assistance may be given without authorization from the IB Assessment centre.

  • 3.9 A candidate who is hypersensitive to sound is permitted the use of noise buffers such as headsets, earplugs and individual workstations with acoustic screens. If an individual workstation is employed, all regulations governing the conduct of IB examinations must be observed. The candidate must be kept under the constant supervision of an invigilator.

  • 3.10 A candidate may be permitted rest breaks if required to do so due to medical, physical, psychological or other conditions. The amount of time permitted for rest breaks is not counted towards the duration of the candidate’s examination. Rest breaks must be supervised to ensure that the security of the examination is maintained. There must be no communication with, or disturbance to, other candidates. The amount of rest time and number of breaks permitted must be pre-determined and will depend upon the candidate’s circumstances, although 10-minutes per hour is the general recommendation. During a rest break, the candidate is not permitted to read, respond to the examination paper or write notes of any kind. Candidates may be allowed to leave the room for all or part of the rest periods. For example, a candidate with diabetes may be provided rest breaks to check blood sugar levels and take medication. If a candidate’s personal examination timetable is such that, with rest periods and additional time more than six and a half hours of examinations would take place in one day, rescheduling should be requested.

  • 3.11 A candidate may be permitted the use of a prompter due to attention issues, psychological or neurological conditions. A prompter would ensure that a candidate pays attention to the examination. The use of the prompter should not disturb other candidates. The coordinator or invigilator may act as a prompter, but the examination must be conducted according to IB regulations. In all cases, the prompter may only prompt the candidate and not provide any form of assistance. The prompt may be a gentle tap on the candidate’s arm or desk/table but should not be given verbally. The prompter must not draw the candidate’s attention to any part of the examination paper or script. The prompter should be familiar with the candidate’s behaviour so that he/she knows when the candidate is off-task. The candidate should be familiar with the kind of prompt that he/she would likely receive from the prompter. The prompter should be in a position that provides a view of the candidate’s disposition rather than his/her work. The candidate should not feel as though he/she is under pressure or scrutiny.

  • 3.12 At the discretion of the coordinator, a candidate may be given additional time to complete assignments during the two-year programme (for example, the extended essay, the theory of knowledge (TOK) essay) without authorization from the IB. However, if an extension to the deadline for the submission of work for assessment is required, the coordinator must contact IB Answers (See section 4.8 Access to extensions and exemptions).”

For accommodations that are not covered above, such as cases of lack of proficiency in language, or medical conditions that develop later in a school year, the IB Coordinator will submit the necessary paperwork through IBIS to request approval for any inclusive assessment arrangements as outline in Chapter 4 of IB Candidates with Assessment Access Requirements (2009) . The IB Coordinator will provide to IB information on both the candidate’s usual method of working in the classroom and under assessment conditions. With parental and student consent, supporting documentation of medical and psychological conditions will be submitted to IB Cardiff through IBIS along with the following information:

  • a summary of the candidate’s condition, updating, clarifying and drawing attention to any relevant details in the attached documentation

  • details of special arrangements made by the school for class assignments, homework and examinations

  • which special arrangements are being requested

  • identify whether the same or similar arrangements have previously been authorized for the candidate by the IB or another examination board.

Policy Review and Communication

This policy will be under review with input from the IB Coordinator, the Special Education Senior Teacher and a Mechanicsville High School Administrator. It will incorporate all new IB revisions as they occur, or at least every three years.

The policy will be communicated to the school community at the beginning of each new school year through our IB faculty meeting. It will also be posted on the school’s website.

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