Message From Director Laurie VanderPloeg
It appears that the 2020-2021 school year will begin like no other in our memories and we must be prepared. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a significant consideration when delivering early intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families, and in delivering special education and related services to eligible children and youth with disabilities. Below you will find resources to support IDEA implementation in these challenging times.
As we all know, early intervention providers, special educators, and related service providers are critical partners in ensuring improved outcomes for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities and their families. During my tenure, OSEP has made a focused effort to support States and school districts in their efforts to attract, prepare, and retain effective personnel. It is now more important than ever to ensure that our providers and educators are prepared and supported. OSEP-funded technical assistance centers have developed high-quality, relevant, and useful products to be used to prepare and retain these professionals during these unprecedented times. I encourage you to access these resources to support your efforts in preparing early intervention providers, special educators, and related services providers to deliver early intervention and special education and related services in the COVID-19 environment. Finally, many parents and families of infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities find themselves taking on novel roles in supporting their children through the pandemic. The OSEP-funded Center for Parent Information and Resources has developed and catalogs parent-focused COVID-19 resources. We are all in this together!
Enjoy the remaining days of the summer season. Stay safe and stay healthy!
WEBINAR: Resources and Practices to Support Back to School and Continuity of Learning During COVID-19 for Children with Disabilities
OSEP is hosting the third and final installment of its webinar series on Continuity of Learning during COVID-19. This third webinar in the series will present strategies and considerations for conducting instruction in remote, on-site, and hybrid educational settings. Specifically, this webinar will highlight exemplar resources and practices for teachers, leaders, and other providers to support students with disabilities from Preschool—Grade 12. A panel of national leaders in special education will answer participants’ questions following the presentations about these resources and strategies. Laurie VanderPloeg, Director of OSEP, will facilitate the discussion and the panelist question and answer session.
2:00 - 3:30 PM EDT
June 9, 2020: Letter to State Directors Addresses the requirements to request a waiver for the 2020–21 school year from the one percent cap on the percentage of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who may be assessed with an alternate assessment aligned with alternate academic achievement standards.
CDC Guidance for Child Care, Schools, and Youth Programs
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains a web page that provides information for child care, schools, and youth programs to plan, prepare, and respond to COVID-19. Topics include:
- If you're open
- Deciding to open
- Ongoing mitigation strategy
- Prevention and support
- Communication resources
National Technical Assistance Center to Improve State Capacity to Collect, Report, Analyze, and Use Accurate IDEA Part B and Part C Fiscal Data
A notice inviting applications for the Technical Assistance on State Data Collection - IDEA Part B and Part C Fiscal Data (CFDA 84.373F) was published in the Federal Register on June 16. Applications must be transmitted by July 31.
Stepping-up Technology Implementation
A notice inviting applications for the Educational Technology, Media, and Materials for Individuals with Disabilities - Stepping-up Technology Implementation (CFDA 84.327S) was published in the Federal Register on June 25. Applications must be transmitted by Aug. 14.
National Center to Use Education Technology in Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services Personnel Preparation and Leadership Personnel Preparation Programs
A notice inviting applications for the Educational Technology, Media, and Materials for Individuals with Disabilities--National Center to Improve Faculty Capacity to Use Educational Technology in Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services Personnel Preparation and Leadership Personnel Preparation Programs (CFDA 84.327F) was published in the Federal Register on July 1. Applications must be transmitted by Aug. 21.
IDEA Data Management Center
A notice inviting applications for the Technical Assistance on State Data Collection - IDEA Data Management Center (CFDA 84.373M) was published in the Federal Register on July 8. Applications must be transmitted by Aug. 24.
National Technical Assistance Center on Transition for Students with Disabilities
A notice inviting applications for the Technical Assistance and Dissemination to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities and Demonstration Training Programs - National Technical Assistance Center on Transition for Students with Disabilities (CFDA 84.326E) was published in the Federal Register on June 29. Applications must be transmitted by Aug. 28.
IDEA Part B and Part C SPP/APR
A 30-day Federal Register Notice (FRN) was published on July 10 soliciting comments on the proposed Part B and Part C SPP/APR collections. The proposed revisions to the Part B and Part C SPP/APRs, which would go into effect with States’ FFY 2020 SPP/APR to be submitted in February 2022, are focused on clarifying existing reporting within the parameters of the current IDEA statutory and regulatory requirements, and aligning the SPP/APR with the Secretary’s priorities, such as elevating parent voice. Comments are due Aug. 10.
Comment on the Part B SPP/APR here. Comment on the Part C SPP/APR here.
IDEA Part C Annual State Application
A 60-day FRN was published on July 10 soliciting comments on the proposed Part C application for funds. The proposed application includes minor revisions from the current application. Comments are due Sept. 8.
Report of IDEA Part C Dispute Resolution
This package provides instructions and form necessary for States to report the number of written, signed complaints; mediation requests; and hearing requests and the status of these actions initiated during the reporting year with regards to children served under Part C of IDEA. The 60-day comment period closes on Aug. 17.
Reports of Children Receiving Part C Early Intervention Services, Part C Program Settings, and Part C Exiting
This collection provides instructions and forms necessary for States to report the number of children receiving early intervention services under Part C of the IDEA, the setting in which these children are provided services, and the reasons by which these children exit Part C of the IDEA. The 60-day comment period closes on Aug. 18.
State Lead Agency Part C Record Keeping and Reporting Requirements
This collection reflects the requirements under IDEA Part C that require State lead agencies to collect and maintain information or data and, in some cases, report information or data to other public agencies or to the public. However, such information or data are not required to be reported to the Secretary. The 60-day comment period closes on Aug. 18.
IDEA Paperwork Reduction Waivers
A notice of proposed requirements for paperwork reduction waivers under IDEA section 609 was published on June 9. Comments are due by Aug. 19.
OSEP Fast Fact
In 2018-2019, 409,315 infants and toddlers, birth through age 2, with disabilities and their families received early intervention services under IDEA Part C. Our new Fast Fact: Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities takes a closer look at what our 618 data tells us about this population. For this Fast Fact, we present data from the data collections authorized under IDEA Section 618 on Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities who receive early intervention services under IDEA Part C. Data presented includes that collected through Part C child count, settings, and exiting data collections.
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.
OSERS’ technical assistance centers are ready to address your questions regarding the IDEA and best practices and alternate models for providing special education and related services, including through distance instruction. The National Center for Systemic Improvement is the primary source for technical assistance 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. For questions pertaining to Part C of IDEA, States should contact their Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center State Contact. For Part B of IDEA, States should contact the National Center for Systemic Improvement.
Equitably Serving Children with Disabilities and Their Families During COVID-19
Committed to promoting equity in the systems and services that support young children with disabilities and their families, the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA) has developed a tool to help states begin to examine their own systems and services. The document provides four equity statements and questions that help guide discussions on equity among system leaders, administrators, teachers, or direct service providers. The ECTA Center has formed an equity in technical assistance committee that will spearhead the exploration and development of equity-centered documents.
Creating Anti-Racist Early Childhood Spaces
Now, more than ever it is important to address issues of race and bias in early childhood settings. Children notice race at a very early age and can begin to categorize people according to skin color. The ED- funded National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI) broadcasted Creating Anti-Racist Early Childhood Spaces on June 12. This webinar presents strategies for creating an anti-racist environment to promote the development of healthy racial identities.
OSEP's Monitoring and State Improvement Planning division conducts many state-focused activities under the umbrella of Results Driven Accountability (RDA). You can read more about this innovative initiative to focus on educational results for children and youth with disabilities and their families here.
OSEP issued its 2020 IDEA determinations at the end of June. The 2020 determination letter fact sheet and individual State’s determination letters can be found on OSEP's website. State’s APR documents will be posted on the same website later this summer. OSEP will only post documents that are 508 compliant.
The Part B and Part C SPP/APR information collections packages are available for a 30-day public comment period. A link to the proposals, which includes the comment portal, is in the Seeking Public Comment section of this newsletter.
Formula Grant Awards
OSEP issued the FFY 2020 IDEA Part B 611 and 619 and Part C formula grant awards on July 1.
The Part C application for funds information collection is available for a 60-day public comment period. A link to the proposal, which includes the comment portal, is in the Seeking Public Comment section of this newsletter.
Differentiated Monitoring and Support
As part of the Rethink Special Education initiative, OSEP has been examining its differentiated monitoring and support (DMS) system. This rethink was designed to build on the work OSEP has done under Results Driven Accountability and to continue to ensure that OSEP fulfills its core responsibilities to monitor its grantees in a manner that focuses on improved outcomes for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities, and their families.
OSEP intended, as was communicated in other venues, to roll out its plans for DMS 2.0 in a national technical assistance call in April. But, given the urgency of responding to COVID-19, OSEP has decided that this is not the right time to roll out DMS 2.0. States must focus on the important work of ensuring that early intervention services for infants and toddlers, and special education services and related services for children and youth are being provided during this time of crisis, as well as ensuring that staff and families remain safe and healthy. As a result, OSEP is postponing the roll out of our revised DMS process.
OSEP anticipates rolling out DMS 2.0 in August 2020.
Period of Availability for FFY 2018 IDEA Part B Funds Waivers
Many States have submitted waiver requests in response to the assistant secretary's June 8 memo. OSEP is reviewing and approving waiver requests as they arrive.
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