February OSEP Update

February OSEP Update


Volume 4    Issue 2

Notable Quote

Let’s make this a year of action.  That’s what most Americans want -- for all of us to focus on their lives, their hopes, and their aspirations.  And what I believe unites the people of this nation, regardless of race or region or party, young or old, rich or poor, is the simple, profound belief in opportunity for all, the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead.”

 -- President Barack Obama (1/28/14), in his State of the Union address


What's New?


The following policy letters were published in response requests for written clarification of the statute and regulations:


The following OSERS/OSEP Notice Inviting Applications for New Awards published in the Federal Register on Thursday, January 9, 2014:

  • Educational Technology, Media, and Materials for Individuals With Disabilities – Stepping-Up Technology Implementation (CFDA No. 84.327S).  The deadline for transmittal of applications if March 10, 2014.  The notice can be reviewed at the following Federal Register Web site: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-01-09/pdf/2014-00165.pdf 

The following OSERS/OSEP Notice Inviting Applications for New Awards published in the Federal Register on Friday, January 10, 2014:

  • Personnel Development to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities – Preparation of Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services Leadership Personnel (CFDA No. 84.325D).  The deadline for transmittal of applications is February 24, 2014.  The notice can be reviewed at the following Federal Register Web site: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-01-10/pdf/2014-00266.pdf


In the News!


On January 28, President Obama highlighted the importance of education during his 2014 State of the Union address (see education excerpts).  The President laid out an agenda (see fact sheet) that emphasizes the Administration’s commitment to equity and opportunity for all citizens.  This commitment underlies nearly every major activity of the Department.

The President shared specific executive actions he will take to ensure students have the skills and opportunities they need to get ahead, including:

  • connecting 20 million students in 15,000 schools to high-speed broadband to enrich and personalize K-12 education, and
  • increasing college opportunities and graduation, building on the White House Call to Action on College Opportunity with over 150 new commitments from colleges, universities, businesses, and others to improve college access and success for low-income students.

The President also outlined key areas where he will continue to work with Congress, including:

  • building on the progress in 30 states and the District of Columbia to provide high-quality preschool for every child, and
  • redesigning high schools to better connect students with college or careers and better equip them with the real world skills they need for a good job.


President Obama recently signed into law an omnibus appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2014, increasing Department of Education funding by $1.6 billion over FY 2013.  While not restoring the full $2.3 billion in discretionary funding cut by the 2013 sequestration, this bipartisan act adds funds to a dozen large elementary and secondary formula programs and several higher education and student loan programs.  The act provides $11.5 billion for special education state grants (+$480 million over FY 2013).  Meanwhile, the President will release a summary of his FY 2015 budget proposal on March 4.


In 2010, the majority of U.S. States adopted the College- and career-ready standards (CCRS).  In January 2014, the U.S. Department of Education published a report, State Implementation of Reforms Promoted Under the Recovery Act, evaluating the state-level implementation of the educational reforms under the Recovery Act. One of the four areas of reform was the adoption of CCRS.  The report covers the adoption of those standards from 2010-2011. A January 4, 2014 article in The Journal, highlights the key findings of the report.  A pdf copy of the article can be found at:  http://thejournal.com/articles/2014/02/04/lack-of-staff-expertise-hinders-common-core-implementation.aspx.




The ED Pubs web site is intended to help stakeholders identify and order U.S. Department of Education products. All publications are provided at no cost (including shipping) to the general public by the U.S. Department of Education. 


The Department’s Progress blog spotlights state and local innovative ideas, promising practices, lessons learned, and resources informed by the implementation of K-12 education reforms.  Currently, one can read about Delaware and Hawaii teachers and coaches using data to identify student needs and inform instructional improvement strategies; Maryland elementary school students learning STEM via new foreign language courses; and hundreds of students from rural communities in Florida gaining access to STEM learning opportunities through a Race to the Top initiative.  Ideas for content may be sent to progress@ed.gov. 

Letter From the Director


Dear Leaders,

As we continue to implement an accountability system driven by results for students with disabilities, OSEP is increasing its collaboration with the TA&D networks to ensure meaningful technical assistance (TA) to States as they make this transition.

On March 4-5, 2014, we will participate in the Annual Leveraging Resources Conference in Washington, D.C.  The goal of this year’s conference is to deepen knowledge about Federal initiatives, different TA programs, share successful strategies for TA work and continue to build learning communities around common content areas.  The 2014 Conference will offer opportunities for centers to work together on common topics of interest designed to leverage resources and coordinate TA in order to increase the reach, efficiency, and impact of their work. 

We look forward to learning from meaningful and effective collaboration.




Where's OSEP?

OSEP Deputy Director Ruth Ryder, Project Officer David Guardino and State Contacts Christine Pilgrim and Angela Tanner Dean attended the National Title I Conference, sponsored by the National Association of State Title I Directors on February 2-5, 2014 in San Diego, California.

OSEP Deputy Director Ruth Ryder, Associate Division Director David Egnor and State Contact Christine Pilgrim will attend the 2% convening on February 11-12, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia.  This meeting will support states with the transition from Alternate Assessments based on modified achievement standards.

OSEP Director Melody Musgrove will participate as a session speaker in the annual Building Partnerships Working Together Parent Conference on Friday, February 14, 2014 in Jackson, Mississippi.  She will present to Special Education stakeholders within Mississippi on the topic of “Far-Reaching Effects of Results Driven Accountability. 

OSEP Project Officer Selete Avoke will attend the National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities 26th Annual At-Risk Youth National Forum in Myrtle Beach February 16-19, 2014.


Special Education Teachers of the Year

Ashli Skura Dreher, New York, directs the life skills special education program at Lewiston-Porter High School. 

Brett Bigham, Oregon, serves Special Education students in a program that services classrooms in hospitals, jails and at-risk students in alternative education.

Jemelleh Coes, Georgia, is a Special Education English Language Arts and Reading teacher from Langston Chapel Middle School.


Program Spotlight


CELL promotes the adoption and sustained use of evidence-based early literacy practices with children, birth through five years of age, with identified disabilities and developmental delays, and at-risk for poor early literacy outcomes.  CELL develops resources for early childhood practitioners, parents, and other caregivers of young children to support them in using evidence-based early literacy practices in everyday activities.  Resources and products from CELL can be found at: http://www.earlyliteracylearning.org