In This Issue:
Message from OSEP Director,
Ms. Valerie C. Williams
It was wonderful seeing so many of you (virtually) during our Leadership and Project Directors’ Conference. Hopefully, our 2023 conference will be held in person. In case you missed it, during the conference OSERS and OCR released guidance supporting children with disabilities with the emphasis of shifting the nation’s overuse of punitive discipline to a more proactive and positive approach to working with our children. I’m very appreciative of Secretary Cardona issuing a letter accompanying and supporting the release of our guidance and highlighting that this issue must be addressed at the State, local and school level. All of the guidance is available here, including:
- Questions and Answers: Addressing the Needs of Children with Disabilities and IDEA’s Discipline Provisions; and
- Positive, Proactive Approaches to Supporting the Needs of Children with Disabilities: A Guide for Stakeholders.
I’m so appreciative of the OSEP staff who have spent months, writing, re-writing, addressing edits and developing guidance which meaningfully discusses this topic in scope and depth. My key message to you is that we need to stop relying on suspensions and expulsions, shortened school days, informal removals and other punitive practices as primary responses and consequences for children. The Department’s Civils Rights Data Collection shows that
- Preschool students served under IDEA accounted for 22.7 percent of total preschool enrollment but 56.9 percent of preschool students who were expelled.
- School-age students with disabilities served under IDEA represented 13.2 percent of total student enrollment but received 20.5 percent of one or more in-school suspensions and 24.5 percent of one or more out-of-school suspensions.
Further, IDEA section 618 data show that during 2019–20 school year, Black children with disabilities made up 17.2 percent of children with disabilities aged 3–21 served under IDEA yet accounted for 43.5 percent of all children with disabilities aged 3–21 served under IDEA who were suspended out of school or expelled for more than 10 school days. Imagine the thousands of days of instructional time restored if in five years we reduced the suspension and expulsion rates by 50% and then every five years reduce the rates by another 50%. As laid out in the Positive, Proactive Approaches to Supporting the Needs of Children with Disabilities: A Guide for Stakeholders, the tools and resources are available and have a solid research base. In contrast, suspensions and expulsions lack a research base, except for the ability to propagate the school to prison pipeline.
Are you willing to join us in taking the next steps to build a more supportive environment for all children? We want to partner with you on this critically important topic and will be meeting with stakeholders in the weeks and months ahead to answer questions, discuss implementation challenges and most importantly highlight successes in creating learning environments that support all children.
OSEP July 2022 Policy Guidance Released
The U.S. Department of Education announced the release of new guidance from its Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) to help public elementary and secondary schools fulfill their responsibilities to meet the needs of students with disabilities and avoid the discriminatory use of student discipline.
These newly released resources are the most comprehensive guidance on the civil rights of students with disabilities concerning student discipline and build on the Department’s continued efforts to support students and schools through pandemic recovery.
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
Updates from Our Partners
Save the Date: Registering and Enrolling Refugee and Immigrant Students in Secondary Schools
Join the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) for a webinar on Friday, August 12, from 2:00–3:30 pm (ET) discussing best practices and resources for facilitating refugee and immigrant students’ transition into U.S. secondary schools. The webinar will include scheduling considerations, academic evaluations, and options for registering newcomer students who arrive without academic credentials or who do not meet state academic requirements. Panelists will also discuss models of academic background review and assessment that can be used during newcomer immigrant registration and enrollment in secondary grades to set students on a successful trajectory and pathway to graduation.
To register, click here.
Technical Assistance (TA) Calls
Upcoming TA Calls:
Next TA Call: August 11, 2022 at 4:00–5:00pm (EDT)
Please join us for our next OSEP National TA Call on August 11, 2022, at 4:00pm (EDT).
During the August call, OSEP invites Part B, Special Education Directors, 619 Coordinators, and Part C Coordinators to hear the latest on preschool environments data, discipline guidance, and discuss the importance of coordination and collaboration. The Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center will share new tools and resources to support the inclusive preschool education programs for children with disabilities.
(All National TA calls are recorded and typically posted within a week)
State Performance Plans (SPP) / Annual Performance Reports (APRs)
We are now posting State’s final Determination Letters and SPP/APR on the IDEA website.
IDEA Part B/C Grants
Hard copies of States’ Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2022 grant applications and supporting materials were due to OSEP, via mail, by August 1, 2022. If your State has not completed this process, please contact your OSEP State Lead to inform them when you will send your hard copy grant application.
Final FFY 2022 grant award letters will be posted by the end of August on the OSERS website.
Differentiated Monitoring and Support (DMS)
The OSEP Technical Assistance (TA) Calls on DMS will resume September 22, 2022, at 4:00pm (EDT).
We hope you watched our recorded session, “DMS Process Considerations and Tips,” during the 2022 OSEP Leadership and Project Directors’ Conference. This session highlights lessons learned, and tips related to DMS, in addition to a facilitated conversation with State panelists from Cohort 1.
To review other resources and documents related to our monitoring activities (e.g., DMS 2.0, DMS Reports, and older monitoring reports), please refer to the DMS section on our IDEA website.
In school year 2019-20, there were 46 disciplinary removals per 100 Black or African American students with disabilities, ages 3 through 21, as compared to 22 disciplinary removals per 100 students with disabilities, ages 3 through 21, across all racial/ ethnic groups.
OSEP Fast Facts is an ongoing effort to display data from the 12 data collections authorized under IDEA Section 618 into graphic, visual representations with the intent to present 618 data quickly and clearly.
Visit the OSEP Fast Facts page for existing and future Fast Facts.
Improving Data, Improving Outcomes (IDIO) 2022: Leadership, Equity, Impact
Don’t miss DaSy’s IDIO 2022 Conference from August 21-26, 2022, at the Capital Hilton Hotel, Washington, D.C. Join us to connect, learn from other states, network with peers, and hear the latest early childhood updates from the federal agencies.
In collaboration with their early childhood technical assistance center partners, DaSy is hosting the national IDIO conference with the theme of Leadership, Equity, Impact. The IDIO Conference is designed for IDEA Part C and Part B Section 619 Coordinators, IDEA Part C and B Data Managers, parent leaders, and others working to improve state capacity for equitable, evidence-based data systems, programs, and practices; and to ultimately improve outcomes for young children with disabilities and their families.
Preschool LRE Reference Points and Discussion Prompts
Coming from the OSEP-funded Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA), this summary of the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) provisions of the IDEA as it applies to preschool aged children with disabilities can be used as both a quick reference guide and training tool. Topics under the five sections outline reference points and discussion prompts. Reference points are drawn from several sources such as IDEA regulations and Federal Register comments. Discussion points are intended to help state and local teams support the inclusion of young children with disabilities by appropriately applying LRE provisions and placement decisions for individual children. The five sections are: the IDEA mandate, LRE requirements, regular early childhood programs, funding IDEA preschool services, and accountability.
Just Released: NCDB/ATLAS Report Brief
The first in a series of briefs based on information in the report “Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities and Dual Sensory Loss” has been released by the National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB). The report and first brief are the result of a partnership between NCDB and Accessible Teaching, Learning, and Assessment Systems (ATLAS). NCDB/ATLAS Brief #1 summarizes details about this group of students, recommendations for identification, and implications for instruction.
Research Highlights from the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER)
The Institute for Education Science’s NCSER funds research designed to expand knowledge and understanding of learners with and at risk for disabilities, from infancy through postsecondary settings. We share a report below on research related to special education.
This month we highlight Dr. Roddy Theobald, who recently won an early career award for his research. We recognize Dr. Theobald’s contribution to policy-relevant topics in education, including his current study examining the associations between special educator workforce entry/retention and student outcomes.
Department of Education
Check the Department's COVID-19 Information and Resources for Schools and School Personnel web page for information and resources, including information and resources from other Federal agencies.
OSEP’s IDEA Covid-19 Questions and Answers and Resources
The National Center for Systemic Improvement is the primary source for TA resources during the COVID-19 national emergency for IDEA Part B programs. The Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center is the primary source for IDEA Part C programs.
Visit the OSERS Blog
Visit our blog for powerful stories and useful information from parents, families, educators, and practitioners in the field. Be sure to bookmark sites.ed.gov/osers for future posts!
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This newsletter may reference and contain links to external sources. The opinions expressed in these sources do not reflect the views, positions, or policies of the Department Education, nor should their inclusion be considered an endorsement of any private organization.