Special Programs

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Our Mission

All identified students are free from discrimination and are provided with the accommodations, related services and development of strategies necessary to support their success. The Section 504 office will provide ongoing monitoring of, and support and training to school-based teams to ensure compliance with the federal mandate.

What is Section 504?

Section 504 is a broad civil rights law protecting the rights of individuals in programs and activities that receive federal funding from the U.S. Department of Education. The law protects all school-age children who qualify as "handicapped" according to the definitions described in the regulations. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states:

No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States … shall solely by reason of his or her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance …” 29 U.S.C. § 794 (“Section 504”)

Each school district is required to designate an employee who will be responsible for ensuring compliance with Section 504 regulations. At Nevada Virtual Academy, each counselor serves as the 504 Coordinator for their student cohort.

Identification of Section 504 Coordinator(s)

Each Nevada Virtual Academy district is required to designate an employee who will be responsible for ensuring compliance with Section 504 regulations. At Nevada Virtual Academy, each counselor serves as the 504 Coordinator for their student cohort.

MS Counselor 6th grade & 8th L-Z
Mrs. Crystal Shay
cshay@nvvacademy.org
702.407.1825 ext. 4271

MS Counselor 7th grade & 8th A-K
Mrs. Michelle Berger
mberger@nvvacademy.org
702.407.1825 ext. 7237

9th Grade Counselor
Ms. Somara Netherly
snetherly@nvvacademy.org
702.407.1825 ext. 4605

10th Grade Counselor
Ms. Dion Duckett
dduckett@nvvacademy.org
702.407.1825 ext. 7018

11th Grade Counselor
Mrs. Sasha Scott
sscott@nvvacademy.org
702.407.1825 ext. 4304

12th Grade Counselor
Ms. Kara Lavoie
klavoie@nvvacademy.org
702.407.1825 ext. 7152

Special Programs

Identification of American with Disabilities (ADA) Compliance Act Coordinator/Special Programs Manager

Tabitha Nettles
Special Programs Director
tnettles@nvvacademy.org
(702) 407.1825 x 7164

Request for Parent/Guardian Interpreter Services or Disability Accommodations

Professional interpreter services may be requested at any time for parents/guardians of students with disabilities by contacting Tabitha Nettles at tnettles@nvvacadmy.org

Additionally, if any parent/guardian has a disability or other limitation that would impact their ability to participate fully in their child’s educational planning process, Nevada Virtual Academy would be happy to discuss accommodations that may be available in order to maximize the parent/guardian’s participation. Individuals seeking to discuss accommodations for this reason may contact Tabitha Nettles at tnettles@nvvacadmy.org

Procedural Safeguards

In accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requirement that all educational agencies provide parents of students with disabilities notice containing a full explanation of the procedural safeguards available under the IDEA and U.S. Department of Education regulations.

Annual Public Notice of Special Services & Programs

In accordance with federal and state regulations, Nevada Virtual Academy will provide an annual public notice to families informing them of Nevada Virtual Academy ‘s Child Find responsibilities, procedures involved in the identification of educational disabilities and determination of students’ service and support needs.

Families are encouraged to review the following information that describes these regulations. Information regarding Nevada Virtual Academy’s internal practices to comply with these will be available in the Nevada Virtual Academy’s Special Programs Manuals and Handbooks.

Child Find/Response to Intervention

In compliance with state and federal law, Notice is hereby given by Nevada Virtual Academy that it will conduct ongoing identification activities for the purpose of identifying students who may be in need of special education and related services. Prior to any referral of a student for evaluation, Nevada Virtual Academy utilizes one or more of the following methods to identify possible exceptional students.

  1. Annual survey of exceptional children.
  2. Analysis of school district achievement test / state assessment results.
  3. Parent/guardian or guardian-initiated referral.
  4. Referrals to and from other public and private agencies.
  5. School staff referral.

If a parent/guardian believes that their school-age child may be in need of special education services and related programs, screening and evaluation processes designed to assess the needs of the child and his/her eligibility are available at no cost to the parent/guardian upon written request.

Nevada Virtual Academy provides for the development and continual analysis of student portfolios. Such portfolios may include written work by students; other demonstrations or performances by students related to specific student performance standards; examinations developed by teachers to assess specific student performance standards; diagnostic assessments; and other measures, as appropriate, which may include standardized tests. Portfolios are available to parent/guardian at conferences or by appointment.

Students with disabilities will participate in statewide assessments one of the three ways as determined by the IEP team:

  • Without accommodations
  • With accommodations - accommodations provided must be allowable by test given and be used by the students as part his/her educational routine.
  • Alternate assessments if required by the State Department of Education.

The results of assessments shall be made available to the professional staff so that they may better understand the strengths and weaknesses of their particular students. If a child is identified by Nevada Virtual Academy as possibly in need of special education and related services, the parent/guardian will be notified of applicable procedures. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (I.D.E.A.) intends to provide greater access of children with disabilities to the general curriculum. It is the belief of Nevada Virtual Academy, that the majority of children identified as eligible for special education and related services are capable of participating in the general curriculum to varying degrees with some adaptations and modifications.

Consent

Nevada Virtual Academy cannot proceed with an evaluation, or with the initial provision of special education and related services, without the written consent of a student’s parents/legal guardians. For additional information related to consent, please refer to the Procedural Safeguards Notice which can be found through the Nevada Department of Education:

English Version

Spanish Version

Once written parental/guardian consent is obtained, Nevada Virtual Academy will proceed with the evaluation process. If the parent disagrees with the evaluation results, the parent can request an independent education evaluation at public expense.

Special Education (IEP) or Service Agreements (504 Plans)

Once the evaluation process is completed, a team of qualified school personnel, parents/guardians, and other relevant service providers hold an evaluation determination meeting to come to agreement on whether the student meets eligibility for one of the disability categories under IDEA. If the student is eligible and requires specially designed instruction, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) will be coordinated; during which the IEP team will review and finalize the proposed details of an appropriate educational program to meet the student’s documented needs.

For students confirmed to present with special education needs, once the IEP team agrees on the IEP and the student’s educational placement, a Prior Written Notice (PWN) will sent to the parent/guardian for signature. Some students are found to present with one or more disability, but do not meet the eligibility criteria outlined under IDEA (special education); however their disability may still require Nevada Virtual Academy to develop a 504 Service Agreement (504 Plan) to outline the special provisions a student may require for adaptations and/or accommodations in school-based instruction, facilities, and/or activities.

Students may be eligible to certain accommodations or services if they have a mental or physical disability that substantially limits or prohibits participation in or access to an aspect of the school program and otherwise qualify under the applicable laws. Nevada Virtual Academy will ensure that qualified students with disabilities have equal opportunity to participate in the school program and activities to the maximum extent appropriate for each individual student. In compliance with applicable state and federal laws, Nevada Virtual Academy will provide students with disabilities the necessary educational services and supports they require to access and benefit from their educational program. This is to be done without discrimination or out of pocket cost to the student or family for the essential supplementary aids, services or accommodations determined to provide equal opportunity to participate in and obtain the benefits of the school program and extracurricular activities to the maximum extent appropriate to the student's abilities and to the extent required by the laws. Click here for more information related to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Active of 1973.

Parents/Guardians have the right to revoke consent for services after initial placement. Please note, a revocation of consent removes the student from ALL special services and supports outlined on the IEP or 504 Plan.

Privacy & Confidentiality

To maintain privacy of students’ special education records, both within its central office and across school systems and databases, SCHOOL follows protocols consistent with the federal regulations associated with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Click here for additional information about the privacy and security guidelines for your child’s educational records.

Accommodations

Notice of these rights is available, upon request, on audiotape, in Braille, and in languages other than English. Should you need further assistance or information regarding any of these accommodations, please contact Tabitha Nettles, Special Programs Manager, at tnettles@nvvacademy.org or any member of your child’s Nevada Virtual Academy team for guidance.

NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY

Nevada Virtual Academy is committed to nondiscrimination in educational programs/activities and employment, as required by applicable federal and state laws and regulations, on the basis of: race, color, national origin or ethnic group identification, marital status, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, religion, age, qualifying mental or physical disability, based on the Americans with Disabilities Act Amended (ADAA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, or the Individuals with Disabilities in Education (IDEA) Act; or Military or veteran’s status. Any claims of discrimination may be submitted as a grievance.

A grievance must be filed as soon as possible, but no longer than 30 days after disclosure or discovery giving rise to the grievance. A parent/student who has a grievance must provide the following information in writing to the Principal and/or Executive Director:

  • The name of the school employee or other individual whose decision or action is at issue
  • The specific decision(s) or actions at issue.
  • Any board policy or law that the parent or student believes has been misapplied, misinterpreted, or violated, and the specific resolution desired.
  • Upon receiving the written grievance, and/or Head of School will then:
  • Schedule and hold a meeting with the student within five school days of receiving the grievance request.
  • Conduct any investigation of the facts necessary before rendering a decision; and provide a written response to the grievance within ten days of the meeting.

Special Education Grievances or Disputes

Summary Nevada Virtual Academy recognizes that despite best intentions of all parties, disagreements or miscommunications may arise between the school-based team and Nevada Virtual Academy families or students. Should this situation occur, the Nevada Virtual Academy special education case manager will initiate an IEP team discussion where the specific details contributing to any educational concern are fully discussed and addressed as the entire team determines would consider most appropriate for the student. Collaboration is a primary focus for this type of meeting, and the Nevada Virtual Academy Special Education Team seeks to establish and maintain the confidence of its families to always serve its students in order to maximize their educational success.

Dispute Resolution Options

IEP Facilitation – IEP facilitation is a voluntary process that can be utilized when all parties to an IEP meeting agree that the presence of a neutral third party would help facilitate communication and the successful drafting of the student’s IEP. This process is not necessary for most IEP meetings. Rather, it is most often utilized when there is a sense from any of the participants that the issues at the IEP meeting are creating an impasse or acrimonious climate.

Mediation – A voluntary process in which both parties seek to resolve the issues involved in the concern with an unbiased, third party mediator from the Nevada Department of Education. The mediator who will write up the details of the agreement that the parties come to through the mediation conference, the agreement is signed by both parties, and thus what the document states is mandated to be implemented; This process is overall less time-consuming, less stressful, and less expensive to complete than a due process hearing (see below)

Formal Due Process

Families are NOT obligated to pursue the above alternatives to due process should they feel their concerns can only be resolved through a formal due process hearing. If a formal complaint against Nevada Virtual Academy is submitted to the Nevada Department of Education at http://www.doe.nv.gov/home/FAQs/Complaints_FAQ/

GRIEVANCE POLICY

Nevada Virtual Academy is committed to providing an effective means for parents and the community to voice concerns and complaints. In general, the complaint should be received and addressed at the level closest to which the complaint originated. For example, if it involves a teacher, first talk to that individual. If you are still concerned, talk with the principal. Then if you are still concerned, make an appointment to talk with the Head of School.

A grievance is a formal complaint regarding specific decisions made by school personnel. A grievance may be submitted in specific circumstances such as when a student or parent believes that board policy or law has been misapplied, misinterpreted, or violated.

https://doe.nv.gov/Inclusive_Education/Dispute_Resolution/

Office of Civil Rights, US Department of Education

https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/addresses.html

Special Education: Rights of Parents & Children-English 

Special Education: Rights of Parents & Children-Spanish

Homeless Youth/McKinney Vento

The McKinney-Vento program is designed to address the problems that homeless children and youth have faced in enrolling, attending, and succeeding in school. Under this program, Nevada Virtual Academy ensures that each homeless child and youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, as other children and youth.

Homeless children and youth should have access to the educational and other services that they need to enable them to meet the same challenging State student academic achievement standards to which all students are held. In addition, homeless students may not be separated from the mainstream school environment. Nevada Virtual Academy is required to review and undertake steps to revise regulations, practices, or policies that may act as a barrier to the enrollment, attendance, or success in school of homeless children and youth.

Nevada Virtual Academy ensures that students are not segregated or stigmatized on the basis of their status as homeless. Services provided do not replace the regular academic program, but are designed to expand upon or improve services provided as part of the school's regular academic program. The McKinney-Vento Liaison will be able to provide hygiene supplies, food, backpacks, bus passes, school and other important supplies are available to students who need them.

Please find links below with information from our McKinney Vento Liaison:

Foster Care

Nevada Virtual Academy places great emphasis on student achievement, the Nevada Academic Content Standards, graduation rates, and the importance of social-emotional well-being. Our Family Resource Coordinator plays a key role in providing children in foster care a positive and supportive educational experience, while addressing their unique needs. Our Family Resource Coordinator focuses on prevention and intervention by facilitating engagement between schools, families, and the community.”

Please find links below with information from our Foster Care Liaison:

Identification of Homeless Liaison and Foster Care Coordinator:

Kristina Weckesser
Family Resource Coordinator
kweckesser@nvvacademy.org
(702) 407.1825 x 7219

Migrant Youth

A migratory child is defined as any youth who has relocated from one district to another or moved to another location, out of economic necessity, to work as a migrant agricultural worker or migrant fisher. Additionally, any youth who is the child of a parent, spouse or guardian working as a migratory agricultural worker or a migratory fisher are also considered Migrant Youths. The child is entitled to a free public education and should not be older than 21 years old, or below the age of compulsory school attendance; have moved within the last 36 months to seek, obtain, accompany, or join the migratory agricultural worker/migratory fisher.

As members of the overall student population, migrant students are affected by a number of sections of the Title I, Part A regulations (e.g., such as supplemental services or parental involvement, etc.). The general purpose of Nevada’s Migrant Education Program (MEP) is to ensure that migrant students fully benefit from the same free public education provided to other children.

Migrant Education Liaison

Dr. Deborah Whitmoyer
EL and Testing Director
702.407.1825 x 7039

English Language Learners

The EL program is an English language development program using content for the development of Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing skills for non English proficient or English Learners (ELs).

Eligibility

Students identified as eligible for Nevada Virtual Academy’s EL program are those whose parents have indicated a language other than English on any of the following questions on the Home Language Survey:

  1. What was the first language spoken by the student?
  2. What is the language most often spoken in the home?
  3. What is the language most often spoken by the student with friends?

Determination of English proficiency

Within 30 days of the beginning of each school year, all new eligible students are given an initial English proficiency assessment. Eligible students who enter after the first 30 days of the school year are assessed within 2 weeks of starting school. The initial assessment results determine if a student is an EL. All ELs are given an English proficiency assessment each school year, whether they receive special instruction or not until the student meets state and district criteria of English proficiency. This is mandated by federal law.

Requirements to Exit the EL Program

Obtain a proficient score on the state mandated WIDA ACCESS. Please see more information here.

English Learner Pupil and Parental Rights

Assembly Bill 195: Overview

Assembly Bill (AB) 195 (2021) revises provisions relating to pupils who are English learners. Approved by Governor Steve Sisolak on June 2, 2021, AB 195 extends the rights of English learner pupils and parental rights. Section three of the bill included below provides an overview of these rights.

Section Three: English Learner Pupil and Parental Rights pupil who is an English learner has the right to:

  1. Receive a free appropriate public education regardless of the immigration status or primary language of the pupil or the parent or legal guardian of the pupil;
  2. Equal access to all programming and services offered to pupils in the same grade level who are not English learners by the school or school district in which the pupil is enrolled;
  3. Receive instruction at the same grade level as other pupils who are of a similar age as the pupil who is an English learner, unless the school or school district in which the pupil is enrolled determines it is appropriate for the pupil who is an English learner to be placed in a different grade level;
  4. Equal access to participate in extracurricular activities;
  5. Receive appropriate services for academic support provided by the school or school district to pupils enrolled in the school or school district who are not English learners;
  6. Be evaluated each year to determine the progress of the pupil in learning the English language and to obtain information about the academic performance of the pupil, including, without limitation, the results of an examination administered pursuant to NRS 390.105; and
  7. Be continuously placed in a program for English learners for as long as the pupil is classified as an English learner unless the parent or legal guardian of the pupil declines for the pupil to be placed in a program for English learners.

The parent or legal guardian of a pupil who is an English learner has the right to:

  1. Enroll his or her child in a public school without disclosing the immigration status of the pupil or the parent or legal guardian;
  2. To the extent practicable, have a qualified interpreter in the primary language of the parent or legal guardian with the parent or legal guardian during significant interactions with the school district;
  3. To the extent practicable, receive written notice in both English and the primary language of the parent or legal guardian that the pupil has been identified as an English learner and will be placed in a program for English learners;
  4. Receive information about the progress of the pupil in learning the English language and, if the pupil is enrolled in a program of bilingual education, the progress of the pupil in learning the languages of that program;
  5. At the request of the parent or legal guardian, meet with staff of the school in which the pupil is enrolled at least once a year, in addition to any other required meetings, to discuss the overall progress of the pupil in learning the English language;
  6. Transfer the pupil to another school within the school district if the school in which the pupil is currently enrolled does not offer a program for English learners or has been placed on a corrective action plan pursuant to NRS 388.408;
  7. Receive information related to any evaluations of the pupil pursuant to paragraph (6) of subsection 1; and
  8. Contact the Department or the school district, as applicable, if the school or school district in which the pupil is enrolled violates the provisions of this section.
  • Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraphs (b) and (c) of subsection 2, the board of trustees of each school district shall provide information to the parent or legal guardian of a pupil who is an English learner in a language and format that the parent or legal guardian can understand.
  • To the extent practicable, the board of trustees of each school district shall, in writing and in both English and the primary language of the parent or legal guardian of a pupil who is an English learner, inform the parent or legal guardian of the rights described in this section at the time of the registration of the pupil in a school within the school district or at the time the pupil is identified as an English learner. The school district shall provide a copy of the rights described in this section at the annual registration of a pupil in a school within the school district to the parent or legal guardian of a pupil who is an English learner.
  • The Department shall provide translated copies of the rights described in this section in the five most common languages other than English primarily spoken in the households within each school district, which may include, without limitation, Spanish and Tagalog. The board of trustees of each school district and each school that enrolls pupils who are English learners shall post a copy of the rights described in this section on their respective Internet websites in as many languages as possible, which may include, without limitation, and as applicable for the school district, the languages translated by the Department pursuant to this subsection.

Assembly Bill 195 -Available Translations

Nevada Virtual Academy does not currently receive Title III Funding.

Translation Needs

Click here to translate text to a language other than English.

Nevada Virtual Academy contracts with a translation service, that is available upon request. Please contact Deborah Whitmoyer at dwhitmoyer@nvvacademy.org or (702) 407.1825 x 7039 for more information.

Additional Resources for Families in Crisis: