Welcome to DSPS

Congratulations on taking an important step in pursuing equal access to district programs and activities, as well as the opportunity for success in your education.  Registering with DSPS is an essential resource for many students at Hartnell College.  DSPS is responsible for providing eligibility for disability accommodations and services for students with disabilities across district programs and activities.  DSPS services can assist students in understanding the impact of their disabilities, as well as individual learning styles or challenges that affect their education, and help students to identify and use resources that are designed to support student success.  DSPS provides this handbook to help students understand their rights and responsibilities, as well as the services that may be available through DSPS.  Student questions are welcomed.

Our Mission

The purpose of DSPS is to support the educational needs of students with disabilities at Hartnell College. We are committed to providing a full range of individualized disability accommodations and services, as well as effective support services and instruction to ensure students have equal access to educational programs and activities at Hartnell College.

What We Do

DSPS is the department at Hartnell College whose role is to provide services to support students with disabilities having equal access to coursework, and district programs and activities by providing access to disability accommodations and services, based on students’ documented disabilities. DSPS does not waive class requirements or lower program requirements.  DSPS is committed to provide eligibility for disability accommodations and services for students with disabilities, on an individualized basis, to level the playing field.  DSPS is committed to the regulations provided by legislation, Hartnell College Board Policy and Administrative Procedure (BP/AP5140), available on the College’s website, as well as DSPS policies and procedures.

What Are Reasonable Disability Accommodations

Reasonable disability accommodations provide equal access for students with disabilities, while maintaining the standards of the College’s academic programs.  The standards of academic programs are those that cannot fundamentally alter the learning outcome of the class, or of the program.

Disability accommodations may include, but are not limited to providing a reader or note taker to a student who is blind, a sign language interpreter to a student who is deaf, alternative testing formats for a student with a learning disability or adapting a workstation for a student with a physical disability.  In order to promote effective disability accommodations for students, DSPS encourages students to engage with DSPS Counselors during the interactive process, to determine accommodations and services each semester so that accommodations are in place, before accommodations and services are needed to participate in classes, programs and activities.  Disability accommodations are approved by DSPS Counselors on an individual basis.


  • Students need to make a request for reasonable disability accommodations each semester, by meeting with a DSPS staff.
  • Accommodations can be requested at any point during the semester. DSPS generally is not able to go back in time.  DSPS is always moving forward!
  • After the request has been made by students to DSPS, the instructors for classes and department directors will be notified of the request for accommodations, as applicable to the disability accommodations and services a student is eligible for, when DSPS emails the student’s Accommodation Letter.  If students add classes or change sections, students are responsible for meeting with DSPS for additional Accommodation Letters to be sent.
  • The DSPS staff, in conjunction with Hartnell instructors, will administer the accommodations. 
  • Requests for test proctoring in the DSPS Lab must be received in advance of the exam or quiz.  Students are encouraged to schedule all of their exams and quizzes for a semester when students obtain a class syllabus.
  • Temporary disability accommodations may be approved by DSPS, based on professional judgment, and history of services on a case-by-case basis.

Examples of Reasonable Accommodations

  • Extended test time, such as 1.5X the standard administration time by the instructor
  • Reduced distraction testing environment
  • Priority registration
  • Sign language interpreting
  • Alternate media
  • Assistive technology, such as Kurzweil 3000, TextHelp, Glean, JAWS, Dragon Naturally Speaking)
  • Note-taking service or software/hardware
  • Adaptive furniture
  • Digital recorders and smart pens

DSPS Pre-Panther Prep

Students with disabilities are encouraged to participate in the DSPS Pre-Panther Prep program.  The Pre-Panther Prep program is designed to support students with disabilities in registering with DSPS, and having a plan for what classes to enroll in from the first semester of college, to maximize student access, as well as developing a plan for academic success from the first semester at the College.  Students with disabilities who are transitioning from high school, are encouraged to register with DSPS their last semester of high school, while still having the support of high school teachers and staff.  Students with disabilities who are not transitioning directly from high school are also encouraged to participate in the DSPS Pre-Panther Prep program.

Eligibility for DSPS

Students with disabilities may be eligible for disability accommodations and services.  Eligibility is determined when students complete the registration process with a DSPS Counselor, when DSPS Counselors engage in the interactive process with students.  Registering with DSPS also includes providing medical documentation from a certificated or licensed professional of any of the following:

  • Learning Disabilities- with existing documentation, or verified by a Hartnell College LD Specialist. The DSPS LD Specialist can assess students who suspect they may have a learning disability.  The assessment process can take weeks, so planning ahead is essential.
  • Mobility or Physical Limitations- including temporary disabilities.
  • Deafness, Hearing Loss and Speech Impairments.
  • Acquired Brain Injuries caused by head injury, substance abuse, disease, stroke or trauma.
  • Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD).
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
  • Intellectual Disabilities, Developmental Disabilities.
  • Psychological Disabilities.
  • Visual Impairments resulting in uncorrectable vision loss.
  • Disabilities caused by Health-Related Impairments.

DSPS accepts IEP and 504 plans that were generated in a student’s high school.  If additional documentation is needed to support a student’s request for disability accommodations and services, DSPS will communicate the need during the interactive process with students.

In the absence of sufficient medical documentation at the time of the student’s intake appointment, temporary accommodations may be approved on an individual basis, and are based on professional judgment, and history of services on a case-by-case basis.

Registration with DSPS is completed when Academic Accommodation Plan (AAP) is issued by DSPS.  The AAP is a required document under Title 5, CA Education Code.  The AAP lists the educational limitations caused by a student’s disability.  The AAP is an internal document in DSPS, and is maintained in individual student files.

Students with Disabilities Who are New to Hartnell College and DSPS

  • All students wanting to attend Hartnell College need to complete the Hartnell College 7 Steps to Success, including admissions application, and online orientation.
  • Upon completing the Hartnell admissions application through CCC Apply, students are provided with a Hartnell Student ID number, and a Hartnell email address.  All students also need to create an account through DUO, a multi-factor authentication system for electronic security purposes.
  • Students with disabilities need to make an appointment with a DSPS Counselor to register with DSPS.  Students need to complete the DSPS Application for Services, Consent to Release External, Consent to Release Internal and the DSPS Policies and Procedure forms, available from the DSPS website.  The forms should be completed before meeting with a DSPS Counselor, and the verification of disability needs to be submitted to DSPS, by email, US mail, or bringing it to DSPS.
  • Verification of a student’s disability can be provided by submitting the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP), Section 504 Plan (504 plan). 
  • If students do not have an IEP, 504 plan or other medical documentation, DSPS has a Verification of Disability form that students can obtain and have their medical professional complete.
  • Students with disabilities should work with a DSPS Counselor to develop an educational plan, select classes and determine appropriate disability accommodations.
  • Students should meet with a DSPS counselor as needed each semester to discuss classes, ask questions, get advice, address concerns, and to discuss disability accommodations.

Students with Disabilities Who are Continuing or Returning to DSPS or the College

Students with disabilities who have completed their registration with DSPS, need to request disability accommodations and services each semester by meeting with a DSPS Counselor for an Accommodation Letter to be issued.  Accommodation Letters are emailed to instructors and/or program directors following the meeting, within one to two business days.  Students are encouraged to plan ahead, and meet with a DSPS Counselor at the beginning of a semester.

Students who are inactive with DSPS for one year or more, need to complete the DSPS Application for Services, Consent to Release Internal, Consent to Release External, and the DSPS Policies and Procedures forms.  The forms are available on the DSPS website.

Student Responsibilities

  • Students will provide DSPS with the information, documentation and/or forms (medical, educational, etc.) deemed necessary by DSPS to verify disability(ies), in support of disability accommodations and services.
  • Students need to meet with a DSPS professional to complete an Academic Accommodation Plan (AAP), and agree to meet with DSPS at least once per semester to review the plan and set up course-specific accommodations.
  • Students who fail to comply with the rules for responsible use of DSPS services, will be notified in writing before any action is taken to suspend services. 
  • Testing accommodations (for exams and quizzes) need to be scheduled in advance, in order for DSPS to secure a testing space in DSPS, and to communicate with instructors to obtain the standard testing administration that occurs for non-disabled students in the class, to allow DSPS to apply disability accommodations.  Testing space in the DSPS Lab is available on a first come-first serve basis. 
  • Students need to return borrowed/loaned materials and equipment by the end of each semester. 
  • DSPS students need to comply with the Student Code of Conduct adopted by the College. 
  • Students need to follow all posted policies and procedures in the DSPS Lab and DSPS office.
  • Students are responsible for notifying a DSPS professional if they are experiencing difficulty receiving their testing, classroom or program accommodations.