Procedure for Waiving Courses in the TOPS Curriculum for Disabled and Exceptional Children
STUDENT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE COMMISSION
TOPS BULLETIN NUMBER:
|August 4, 1999|
|DISTRIBUTION:||Louisiana High Schools, Department of Education and Louisiana Officials|
|TOPIC:||Procedure for Waiving Courses in the TOPS Curriculum for Disabled and Exceptional Children|
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Louisiana Revised Statute 17.3048.1.C.(2)(c)(iii) and (iv) provide for the waiver of courses in the TOPS curriculum for any student who is determined to be a Disabled Student or Exceptional Child, provided the reason for the failure to complete the course was due solely to the student’s disability or exceptionality. The statute does not permit the waiver of the grade point average or ACT score which is required to qualify for a TOPS award.
Rules of the Louisiana Student Financial Assistance Commission, (specifically, Louisiana Administrative Code Title 28, Part IV, Chapter 1, Section 301), define a Disabled Student as a student who has one or more learning, visual, hearing, or physical disabilities diagnosed by a person licensed or certified to diagnose such disability, when the diagnosis states the need for the student to be provided special accommodations relative to the curriculum requirement. An Exceptional Child is a student who has been determined to be exceptional as defined by Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:1943(2), excluding gifted and talented children.
As provided in Rule 703.A.5.b.ii., one or more courses in the TOPS curriculum may be waived for a Disabled Student or an Exceptional Child who has met the criteria set forth in Section 2115, which is quoted in its entirety below:
"Section 2115. Procedures
for Disabled Students and Exceptional Children
A. As provided in Section 703.A.5.b.ii., a core curriculum course shall be waived for a Disabled Student or Exceptional Child, as defined in Section 301, whose school certifies that it has the following documentation:
1. For a student claiming the status of a Disabled Student:
a. a written diagnosis from a person licensed or certified to diagnose the disability of the student, which diagnosis specifies the need for special accommodation by the student’s high school, and
b. a written statement from the principal of the high school that a plan of accommodation under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 ("504 Plan") has been established, and the high school was unable to provide the special accommodation, or if the special accommodation was provided by the high school, the failure to complete the specified core curriculum course was due solely to the student’s diagnosed disability.
2. For a student claiming the status of an Exceptional child:
a. a written Individual Education Program (IEP) in accordance with R.S. 17:1941 et seq. and Louisiana Department of Education Bulletin 1706,and
b. a written statement from the principal of the high school that the failure to complete the specified core curriculum course was due solely to the student’s exceptionality.
B. Disabled Students
graduating prior to 1999-2000 high school academic year and who are requesting
waiver of a core curriculum course based upon their status as a Disabled
Student, must provide the documentation provided in 2115 A.1., above, however,
those students need not establish the existence of a 504 plan.
C. A school official must obtain the consent from the student’s parent or legal guardian, as required by law, prior to the release of information concerning a student who is requesting a waiver of a core course by reason of that student being a Disabled Student or an Exceptional Child.
D. If a core curriculum course is waived based upon the determination that a student’s disability or exceptionality, then the grade achieved for that course will not be included in the determination of the student’s grade point average for purposes of qualifying for a TOPS award".
NOTE: The waiver of a course in the TOPS curriculum which is based upon the disability or exceptionality of a student must be certified by the high school and recorded in the "Exception Courses" column of the certification form completed by the school. The school must retain the documentation on which a course waiver is based and that documentation is subject to audit.