Student Success Plan FAQs
Students who qualify for learning accommodations based on an educational evaluation will receive a Student Success Plan (SSP).
Student Success Plan FAQs
An SSP is Menlo’s equivalent of a 504 Plan at a public school and a blueprint for how Menlo will support your student’s equitable access to our educational program. It applies to any disability that impairs your child’s opportunity to succeed in a typical Menlo classroom. It details the accommodations your child might receive on standardized tests.
It is NOT an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). It is not legally binding. It is a good-faith agreement between Menlo and your family.
Menlo reviews SSPs annually to ensure your child’s accommodations still meet their learning needs. An SSP must also be reviewed and—if necessary—modified when a student undergoes a new round of psycho-educational or psychiatric re-evaluation. Psycho-educational evaluations (for ADHD, Specific Learning Disorders, etc.) must occur every three to five years. Moreover, to ensure a successful college transition, every Upper School student should be re-evaluated for the last time between the end of ninth grade and beginning of senior year. Psychiatric and medical evaluations (e.g., for anxiety, depression, medical conditions) must occur annually.
The classroom teacher should always be the first point of contact if there are issues regarding the implementation of accommodations. We encourage the student to speak with or email the teacher directly, perhaps with the support of a parent, if needed. If the issue is not resolved, you may contact the Learning Support Coordinator. The Upper School Director can step in as a last resort.
First, many recommendations (e.g., frequent check-ins, access to lecture notes, scaffolding of long-term assignments, formative assessments) are part of Menlo’s general education program. Menlo’s Learning Center doesn’t include recommendations in an SSP unless they require teachers to modify their typical methods of instruction and assessment. In addition, while Menlo offers students a wide variety of instructional and assessment accommodations, there are limits to what we can reasonably provide. For example, Menlo does not authorize private exam rooms or exam readers. Nor does the school grant curricular modifications, such as a foreign language waiver, except in extreme circumstances.
Second, some special-testing accommodations can be denied by the College Board and ACT based on their independent assessment of your child’s cognitive and academic profile. Menlo’s practice is to grant accommodations consistent with those your child will receive on standardized tests.
Lastly, when your child undergoes re-evaluation, their diagnosis may change. As a result, Menlo may change accommodations accordingly.
Standardized testing companies are an important audience for SSPs. Menlo will apply for accommodations on standardized testing on your behalf—College Board exams (PSAT, SAT, AP) during your child’s freshman year, and the ACT during your child’s junior year. You must sign a waiver or provide verbal consent before we can share your child’s educational evaluation and SSP with testing companies.
Menlo can only request special testing accommodations that appear in both your child’s SSP and the evaluation report. If a testing company denies such an accommodation, we can appeal this decision, which usually requires a family to provide letters from educational and/or psychiatric therapy providers, testimonials from your child’s teachers, and other evidence of the impact your child’s learning difference has on their day-to-day well-being. While Menlo makes every effort to submit strong applications for accommodations and empathizes with the concerns of the families we serve, we cannot guarantee a successful appeal.
Standardized testing companies set their own requirements for determining a student’s eligibility for accommodations. In general, they defer to Menlo’s judgment. However, both companies may reach a conclusion at odds with your child’s SSP after reviewing that document and your child’s evaluation report. Moreover, both companies may reject outdated educational testing materials. The College Board tells schools it rejects a report obtained more than five years before the date when Menlo applies for accommodations. ACT states that it rejects reports written more than three years before an accommodations application. Please be mindful of these standards when scheduling your child’s next educational testing appointments.
Menlo honors the results of psycho-educational evaluations conducted by a licensed psychologist that demonstrate a student requires accommodations, as long as initial testing has occurred before the end of a child’s sophomore year. Many colleges and universities also accept the results of a diagnosis made during the latter years of a child’s high school experience.
We cannot guarantee that a student with a “late” diagnosis will receive accommodations on standardized tests; both the College Board and ACT often deny accommodations to students who receive their first diagnosis after ninth grade. In the case of a late diagnosis, applications for standardized testing accommodations are more likely to succeed when there is a clear record of academic difficulty (e.g., low grades, concerning report card comments, or email exchanges about persistent academic challenges between a student and their Menlo teachers).