Policy for Academic Accommodation

Berkshire Community College values inclusion and equal access to its programs and activities and is committed to a climate of mutual respect and full participation.  Our goal is to create learning environments that are usable, equitable, inclusive and welcoming.  If you are a student with a disability and require academic accommodations, we encourage you to contact us prior to the start of a semester  to discuss your accommodation needs and options.  We will work collaboratively with you to develop an effective accommodation plan.

Documentation

To develop this plan, we will need documentation of your disability. Ideally, your documentation will provide a clear statement of your disability based on the most recent edition of the DSM or ICD, discuss its current impact on your academic performance and other major life activities, and will be completed by a qualified professional. Additionally, your documentation should:

  • Rate the current status of your condition, level of severity and whether it is permanent or temporary. If temporary, it should include an estimated time for recovery;
  • Summarize the relevant education, developmental or medical history that supports your diagnosis; and
  • Recommend accommodations and provide a direct link between the requested accommodation and the symptoms of your disability.

If you have a learning disability, traumatic brain injury or intellectual disability, you should provide the following:

  • A complete intellectual assessment with all subtests and standard scores reported;
  • A comprehensive academic achievement battery with all subtests and standard scores;
  • Current levels of academic functioning in relevant areas such as reading (decoding and comprehension), mathematics (calculations and reasoning), and oral and written language (mechanics and development); specific areas of information processing;
  • A written summary of or background information about your education, medical and family histories that relate to your disability; and
  • Clear and specific evidence and identification of your disability. When diagnosing a learning or intellectual disability, please use direct language, avoiding terms such as, “suggests” or “is indicative of” or “is consistent with.”

All documentation should include the name, title and credentials of the person completing it. It should be signed, dated and on letterhead. Additionally, your documentation should state your full name and date of birth. Documentation from multiple sources, including IEPs and 504 Plans, will be considered as long as, together, they meet the criteria above.

Guidelines for Documenting Your Disability is available to download here.

Confidentiality & Release of Information

The DRC at BCC is committed to ensuring that all information regarding a student is maintained as confidential as required, or permitted, by law.  Any information collected is used for the benefit of the students.  This information may include:

  • test data,
  • grades,
  • biographical history,
  • disability information, and
  • case notes

The following four guidelines, concerning the treatment of such information, have been adopted by the DRC, and are rigorously followed and shared with students.  They incorporate applicable state and federal regulations, as well as guidelines established by relevant professional associations.

Need-To-Know

No one has immediate access to student files in the DRC except staff from the DRC.  Any disability-related documentation will be considered confidential and will only be shared with others within the institution on a need-to-know basis.  Disability-related information will be treated like medical information.  Examples include the following:

(1)  College faculty and staff do not have a legal right to disability-related documentation.  They only need to know that the documentation has been appropriately verified by the individual (or office) assigned this responsibility on behalf of the institution (i.e., DRC).

(2)  Administrators may have a need to collect data concerning the number of students being served, the nature of their disabilities, and what type of accommodations are recommended.  However, under typical circumstances, this data is for the purpose of statistical or survey reporting, and administrators do not have a need for information about who those students are.

Required Release

Information  will not be released, except in accordance with federal and state laws that require release in the following circumstances:

  1.  If the student states he/she intends to harm himself/herself or another person(s), or
  2.  If the student reports or describes any physical abuse, neglect, or sexual abuse of children or vulnerable adults, or
  3.  If the college is issued a court order or subpoena, and/or
  4.  If the student files a grievance with the college

Written Authorization

A student may give written authorization for the release of information when he/she wishes to share it with others.  Before giving such authorization, the student should:

  1.  understand the information being released,
  2.  the purpose of the release, and
  3.  to whom the information is being released.

Information will not be released without consent, unless it is required by federal or state law.  Here is a Release of Information form that you can download, if needed.

Right to Review Own File

A student has the right to review his/her own file.