As an integral part of our commitment to diversity and inclusion, Marin Academy is dedicated to supporting a range of learning needs. Our Office of Learning Services works with students with a variety of learning disabilities to develop strategies to empower them to become self-aware, reflective, and engaged learners. While we do not compromise Marin Academy graduation requirements or educational standards, we recognize that students with diagnosed learning disabilities, ADHD, or other disorders that affect learning may require additional support and accommodations in order to have access to academic success. Our main goals are to ensure access to our curriculum, to help students understand their learning strengths and challenges, teach students to play to their strengths, and give each student the tools necessary to be active and engaged self-advocates.
Process for Requesting Academic Accommodations
Some students with disabilities may require reasonable accommodations to allow them equal access to classes and coursework. Our emphasis with accommodations—in line with colleges and standardized testing—is on access, not outcome. This is done by providing the student with a disability equal access to the content and activities of a course, but not necessarily ensuring their success. Parents of students who are investigating the possibility of accommodations for a disability are advised to reach out to our Director of Learning Services, who will explain the process to pursue psychoeducational documentation, share recommended evaluators, and give documentation guidelines. For families who decide to pursue educational testing, note that the process can take several months and can include such processes as requesting teacher evaluations, past records, and family interviews. Our learning services office will help you understand this landscape as well as Marin Academy’s procedures and policies around this.
For incoming ninth-graders and transfer students requesting extended time or other accommodation (for example, a calculator or laptop) due to a diagnosed learning disorder, a full psychoeducational evaluation must have been completed within the past two years, and reports should be submitted to the Director of Learning Services before the start of the school year. The School reserves the right to require retesting of continuing students if testing becomes out of date.
Eligibility for reasonable accommodations is considered upon careful review of documentation; classroom accommodations cannot be granted until we have complete documentation on file, and our entire review process is complete. It is important to note that outside agencies such as the College Board and ACT have their own review process regarding their testing, and a student receiving accommodations at MA is not guaranteed to receive accommodations for these or other exams. MA solely examines each student’s eligibility for accommodations in regards to our program and curriculum.
Our guidelines help us establish a framework for decision-making regarding eligibility for accommodations at Marin Academy. Documentation for learning and/or attention disorders must follow our guidelines; please reach out to the Director of Learning Services directly for details. Please note, reasonable accommodations for a physical disability may follow different guidelines and will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Reasonable Accommodations at School
To ensure fair and orderly testing situations, students are normally expected to complete quizzes, tests, and examinations in the time set by the teacher. A student’s learning profile clarifies all accommodations that teachers will grant for a student with a diagnosed learning challenge.
In order to qualify for extended time testing for national standardized tests (e.g. SAT I, SAT Subject Tests, ACT, PSAT, AP, etc.), a student must fulfill the requirements set by the appropriate testing agency, which typically includes a psychoeducational evaluation conducted by a qualified and licensed specialist. The documentation must specifically indicate that extended time testing is warranted and must be dated no more than three years prior to the initial testing date for the ACT and five years prior to the initial testing date for the College Board tests. As noted above, outside agencies such as the College Board and/or ACT have their own review process regarding their testing, and a student receiving reasonable accommodations at MA is not guaranteed to receive accommodations for these or other outside exams. After receiving complete documentation, these agencies require up to seven weeks to make a decision about accommodations for their standardized exams.
Temporary Medical/Physical Needs and Accommodation Requests
Some students with temporary medical conditions, such as a broken arm or a concussion, may require reasonable accommodations to allow them equal access to classes and coursework for a short period of time. MA is able to provide reasonable accommodations for these reasons only with a letter from a doctor and some additional communication. The doctor’s letter must clearly indicate the doctor’s name, specialty, address, and phone number and must be signed and dated by the doctor and contain the following information:
- Description of degree of impairment.
- Date of injury/onset of the condition.
- Expected date of recovery.
- Describe the specific accommodations/modifications requested, and explain why they are needed.
For these temporary conditions, updated medical letters may be required, as recuperation can be unpredictable and uneven.
For concussions/head injury, please contact both the Class Dean and MA’s athletic trainer, Aaron Gill. For all other temporary medical conditions, the information should be sent to the Learning Services Office. When information from a doctor has been received from a family, we will reach out to set up a meeting to discuss our process.
Long-term Medical/Physical Needs: Reasonable Accommodation Requests
Some students with medical conditions may require reasonable accommodations to allow them equal access to classes and coursework. At MA, our goal in these situations is two-fold: to support the student in order to provide access to coursework while simultaneously building and fostering the skills for life-long self-advocacy. MA is able to provide reasonable accommodations for medical reasons only when the request is documented and meets the following criteria:
- Note from a physician that identifies the presence of a disability or disabling condition that requires reasonable accommodation.
- Information is Current: Because disabilities can change over time, documentation must be up to date and include the initial evaluation and an evaluation update. The evaluation update must be performed within 12 months of the accommodation request.
- Recommended Reasonable Accommodations: Describe the specific reasonable accommodation(s) requested. Please note, if the requested accommodation(s) are around testing and/or impact academic experience, we typically require more in-depth information.
- Professional Credentials Listed: For physical and medical disabilities, documentation should be provided by a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosed disability.
Documentation should be submitted to the Director of Learning Services, Rebecca Gustin, for review. Medical documentation must be updated minimally at the start of each school year in order to continue any necessary reasonable accommodations; if documentation is needed more frequently, it will be requested. As the student’s condition may change, the family should share that information directly with the Learning Services Office.
Mental Health Needs: Reasonable Accommodation Requests
Marin Academy works with families to support students with mental health needs. This can include partnering with health professionals, and working with students in, and returning from, residential treatment facilities. It is important to note that MA values a student’s health first and foremost; if a student is unable to function at school due to mental or physical health reasons, the School focuses its support on helping that student be away from the School in order to receive medical care. That said, some students with mental illness may require reasonable accommodations to allow them equal access to classes and coursework.
If you need to request learning accommodations for mental health needs, contact the Marin Academy Director of Learning Services or MA’s school counselor, Sarah Janoff- Brinn.