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District Curriculum Accommodation Plan (DCAP)

Updated 1/2020

What is the DCAP?

DCAP stands for “District Curriculum Accommodation Plan.”

The DCAP is a resource for strategies and accommodations to assist regular education teachers in analyzing and accommodating students’ learning needs, including students who are English Language Learners, and in managing students’ behavior effectively. 

As stated by the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the targeted areas for the DCAP include:


  • Remedial instruction for students
  • Appropriate services and supports within the general education program, including, but not limited to direct and systematic instruction in reading
  • Appropriate services for linguistic minority students
  • Provisions to address the needs of children whose behavior may interfere with learning
  • Provisions that encourage parental involvement


  • Consultative Services
  • Teacher mentoring and collaboration
  • Administrative consultation between the principals and administrators of special education

The Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District is committed to accommodating and differentiating our instruction and curriculum to support the whole student. All staff may provide individual accommodations to students on an as-needed basis and specific to the content or situation. 

The DCAP is not a replacement for a Section 504 Accommodation Plan.

Staff are required to provide the accommodations outlined in student 504 Plans and/or IEPs.

While the DCAP lists best practices, sample accommodations/strategies and other actions from which teachers and collaborating staff may select to support the needs of individual students, in no way does the DCAP limit the accommodations staff may choose to implement in order to meet a student’s needs.

This document includes curriculum accommodations/strategies for elementary, middle, and high school.

Overview of Accommodations

Accommodations are ways to assist students in accessing the curriculum more effectively. Accommodations are provided within the school environment and are available to students, as needed. Accommodations provide students with equal access to learning along with an equal opportunity to be able to show what they have learned and can do. 

Accommodations do not change the instructional level or content, delivery of instruction, or performance criteria. These latter changes are called modifications or “specially designed instruction”. Modifications are outlined within a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP).

Accommodations typically fall under four key categories:

Setting (location) Examples include; small group, preferential seating, quiet location, etc. 

Presentation (how the teacher shares information) Examples include; visuals provided for verbal information, preview/repeat, provide models, etc. 

Timing (any consideration of time within the learning) Examples include; time of day, length of time, extended time for assignments, “chunking” into smaller parts, planning for time with student, etc. 

Response (How the student responds back to show understanding) Examples include: use of graphic organizers, alternative writing utensils, access to keyboarding, limit number of repeat question types, etc.

Accommodations and Instructional Strategies

The listed accommodations and strategies are intended to support student access to the curriculum. These lists are not exhaustive.


  • Agenda for the day; each lesson or instructional block
  • Check list
  • Consistent daily routine/structure
  • Clear and consistent instructions and expectations
  • Instructions and information provided through multiple modalities
  • Break assignments into small, clear steps
  • Number/order steps for task completion
  • Provide graphic organizers, templates and models (exemplars)
  • Provide structure for long-term assignments including due dates and timelines
  • Accessibility to schedules
  • Prioritize assignments/steps for completion
  • Access to fidgets, sensory tools, seat cushions

Instructional Strategies

  • Multi-modal presentation of information
  • Hands-on learning activities
  • Transitional cues
  • Provide wait time for responding to questions or formulate thoughts
  • Use of technology
  • Access to copies of notes, presentations, etc (two-column notes, teach note-taking strategies)
  • Provide models and templates
  • Preview, repeat, or re-teach key concepts
  • Frequent check-ins for understanding
  • Teach new vocabulary/review previously taught vocabulary (word walls)
  • Provide an overview of the lessons before beginning-agenda, the “Why”
  • Use concrete examples of concepts before teaching the abstract
  • Reduce the number of new concepts
  • Limit teacher talk time
  • Vary instructional groupings (whole class, small group, partner, individual)
  • Vary teaching strategies
  • Turn and talk

Assignments and Assessments

  • Study guides
  • Extended time
  • Quiet testing environment/small group
  • Clarify test directions
  • Differentiate assessments and/or provide alternative assessment options (ie: multiple choice, oral, project-based)
  • Minimize/eliminate timed tests
  • Reference tools (word banks, formula cards, etc.)
  • Use of rubrics to provide clear expectations for student output
  • Assign tasks and assignments at appropriate reading level
  • Utilize technology
  • Word Banks
  • Break tasks into smaller chunks
  • Review homework expectations/ reduce assigned homework
  • Provide samples/resource guides
  • Peer tutoring


  • Individualize spelling/vocabulary lists
  • Highlight key vocabulary (word walls)
  • Exemplars of written work for reference
  • Writing Process: pre-writing, writing, revisions/editing, publishing
  • Graphic organizers/templates
  • Use of pre-reading strategies (class discussions, brainstorm predictions, clarify purpose for reading text, create story outline or overview)
  • Teach comprehension and word attack strategies explicitly and utilize visual aids to reinforce their use
  • Support text to text, text to self, and text to world connections
  • Allow for multiple methods to show comprehension (writing, orally, visually)
  • Teach use of text features to support reading comprehension (pictures, graphics, tables, etc.)
  • Model read-aloud/think-aloud for fluency and internal thought processes for comprehension and inferencing
  • Partner and individual reading opportunities
  • Technology (text to voice, voice to text, calculator, spellcheck, accessibility features on devices, etc.)


  • Use of calculator, number lines, multiplication tables or reference sheets (provided or student created)
  • Color/highlight operational symbols
  • Access to hands on manipulatives
  • Real-world connections
  • Sample problems/resource guides
  • Access to graph paper
  • Reduce amount of language
  • Reduce number of problems
  • Technology (ie: to aid in visualizing mathematical ideas)

Fine Motor/Visual Motor Integration/Visual Processing

  • Reduce amount of copying/provide notes
  • Type, record or answer orally
  • Minimize speed and accuracy for writing
  • Minimize/eliminate copying tasks
  • Key word responses or bulleted points rather than whole sentences
  • Letter strips 
  • Smaller writing tools, pencil grips, mechanical pencils
  • Larger space, larger lined paper, raised line paper, graph paper, highlighted spaces
  • Minimize the information on the page
  • Slantboard or binder
  • Scribe

Language Processing

  • Provide visuals with verbal information/Visual aids (charts, graphics, and graphs)
  • Paraphrase
  • Break multi-step directions down, provide one-step directions
  • Avoid abstract language
  • Check for understanding, ask student to reverbalize
  • Gain student attention prior to providing verbal information
  • Provide choices rather than expecting open-ended responses
  • Cueing system for attention, prior to being called on


  • Cues for changes in routines, transitions
  • Cueing system for students communicate needs
  • Visuals to support/monitor expectations
  • Learning/behavior contracts
  • Behavior Plans, incentives, behavior checklists
  • Preferential/planned seating
  • Revise student schedule
  • Flexible grouping
  • School Counselor check-ins, counseling
  • Consultation/Collaboration with school psychologist, school counselor, BCBA, other Student Services Staff
  • Check-in/Check-out with identified staff member
  • Daily goal setting
  • Provide positive feedback 
  • Identify a familiar, trusted adult 
  • Praise expected behavior
  • Provide choices

Family/Parental and Community Support Structures

Promotes the learning and growth of all students through effective partnerships with families, caregivers, community members, and organizations.

  • School Councils
  • “Friends of “ meetings and sponsored events
  • Curriculum Nights/Open Houses
  • Parent/Teacher Conferences
  • Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC)
  • CFCE Community Partners/Early Childhood Program
  • Hamilton-Wenham Ed Foundation
  • Parent Information Nights for Transitions (Kindergarten, Middle and High School)
  • Preschool Parent Open House
  • Preschool Screening
  • Kindergarten Screening
  • Connect Ed Messaging System (Blackboard Connect)
  • District and Individual School webpages
  • School Newsletters
  • Teacher/Classroom-based communications
  • Standards-based Report Cards (elementary)
  • Report Cards (Middle and High School)
  • Progress Reports
  • Student Performances
  • Volunteer Opportunities

Teacher and Staff Support Structures

Support for teachers that will help them analyze and accommodate various students' learning needs and support teacher collaboration.

  • New Teacher Induction Program
  • New Teacher Mentoring Program
  • District and School-Based Professional Development
  • Instructional Support Team (IST)
  • Grade-Level Meetings (CPT)
  • Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), Book Groups
  • Faculty Meetings
  • School-Based Data Meetings
  • Elementary Math Coordinator
  • Elementary Literacy Coordinator
  • Secondary Curriculum Leaders (Science, Social Studies, Math, English, Foreign Language, Fine Arts)
  • District Health and Wellness Curriculum Leader
  • Elementary Special Education Coordinator
  • Secondary Special Education Coordinator
  • BCBA (contracted services)
  • Teacher selected professional development opportunities
  • English Language Learner Tutors (teachers)
  • School Counselors
  • Common Assessments/Benchmarking

Student Support Structures

Support structures that are available to students through general education, including supports to address the needs of students whose behavior may interfere with learning.

  • Responsive Classroom (elementary)
  • PBIS (middle school)
  • Collaborative Problem Solving 
  • Restorative Practices 
  • Behavior Plans
  • 504 Accommodation Plans
  • Counseling (School Adjustment Counselor, Counselor)
  • Instructional Support Team
  • Community Meetings
  • Morning Meetings
  • English Language Learner Services
  • Interventions by Reading and Literacy Specialists
  • Interventions by Title I Staff (math, reading)
  • Intervention and Enrichment (IE) Block (middle school)
  • Power Block (high school)
  • Technology: Lexia Core 5 (elementary), Learning Ally, Bookshare (all levels)
  • Access to Technology: iPad, Chromebooks, 1:1 iPad at high school, 
  • Inclusive Practices (Two-Column Notes, Word Walls, Re-verbalization, define the “why”)
  • Differentiated Instruction
  • Peer Mentoring/Mediation (secondary)

Academic Structures and District Resources

Systems, structures, and curriculum tools to support direct and systematic instruction in literacy and other curriculum areas for all students.


  • Great Leaps, Read Naturally (fluency programs)
  • Lexia Core 5
  • Fundations
  • Wilson, Orton-Gillingham, LiPs trained and/or certified staff
  • Leveled Readers
  • Literacy Specialists and tutor support
  • Lucy Calkins Writers’ Workshop
  • Differentiated Reading Instruction
  • Fountas and Pinnell Benchmarks
  • Sheltered English Immersion and English Language Learner Instruction
  • Touch Math
  • Lively Letters (PreK)
  • Math Program:  Investigations 3.0
  • Science Program:  STEMScopes(K-5)
  • Inclusive Practices
  • Sheltered English Immersion and English as a English Language Learner Instruction
  • Tutoring
  • Math Program (middle school)
  • 1:1 iPad 
  • Google Classroom
  • STEMScopes (6-8)

District’s Legal Responsibilities for Implementation of the DCAP

Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 71, Section 38Q1/2 

“A school district shall adopt and implement a curriculum accommodation plan to assist principals in ensuring that all efforts have been made to meet the students’ needs in regular education. The plan shall be designed to assist the regular classroom teacher in analyzing and accommodating diverse learning styles of all children in the regular classroom and in providing appropriate services and support within the regular education programming, including, but not limited to, direct and systematic instruction in reading and provision of services to address the needs of children whose behavior may interfere with learning, or who do not qualify for special education services under chapter 71B. The curriculum accommodation plan shall include provisions encouraging teacher mentoring and collaboration and parental involvement.” 

School Councils and District Accommodation Plan, Chapter, 71 Section 59C 

“The school council, including the school principal, shall meet regularly and shall assist in the identification of the educational needs of all students attending the school, shall make recommendations to the principal for the development, implementation and assessment of the Curriculum Accommodation Plan required pursuant to Section 38Q1/2, shall assist in the review of the annual school budget and in the formulation of a School Improvement Plan.”


Reading Public Schools DCAP

Manchester-Essex Regional School District DCAP

Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL)

Educator Effectiveness Guidebook for Inclusive Practices

Universal Design for Learning