How are we doing?! - OSEP's Monthly Update -

Improving Results for Youth and Children with Disabilities


May 2016: In this Issue

TOP NEWS: ED Releases ESSA Accountability NPRM

As a next step in implementation of the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the Department of Education (ED) has released proposed regulations addressing the areas of (1) accountability and school improvement, (2) data reporting, and (3) consolidated state plans.  The notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) is available for comment until August 1, 2016.  The goal of these proposed regulations is to give states new flexibility to ensure that every child receives a high-quality and well-rounded education while enhancing equity and maintaining critical civil rights protections. ED has also released a number of resources to support states in implementing the new law on the website:



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INSIDE OSEP: Ruth's Report and RDA

Message from Ruth Ryder, Acting Director

Hello Leaders!

Here in OSEP we take our customer service responsibilities seriously and are always looking for ways to improve.  One way we hold ourselves accountable is by conducting an annual survey that measures the satisfaction of our partners with the services and products we provide.  All of our Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Parts B and C grantees should have received a survey via email from the CFI Group on behalf of the Department of Education.  The subject line reads "Department of Education Grantee Satisfaction Survey 2016.”  


This survey is administered by an independent third-party research firm, and your responses are anonymous.  ED staff, including OSEP staff, will not receive individual survey forms or information;  they will only receive the aggregated survey results.  With these results, OSEP makes every effort to improve our services to reflect the input you provide through this survey.


While the survey is voluntary, we count on everyone’s participation to provide us with representative results and to help us identify how best to better support you. The survey should take about 15-20 minutes to complete. We have received many responses already-- thanks to those who have taken the time to provide their input! 



If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Becca Walawender at    If you did not receive the survey and feel you should have, let us know.  In some cases a recipient’s spam folder or firewall has prevented him/her from receiving the survey. 


Thank you again for helping us to improve!


Your RDA Update

OSEP is finalizing internal planning for FFY 2015 RDA (May 1, 2016-September 30, 2016) and anticipates scheduling planning calls with States in June.  As a reminder, all activities will be based on the designations in the FFY 2015 Part B Differentiated Monitoring and Support (DMS) Notices that were sent to States in April.

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This month the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) released the 2015 State of Preschool Yearbook, the newest edition of their annual report profiling state-funded prekindergarten programs in the United States. This latest Yearbook presents data on state-funded prekindergarten during the 2014-2015 school year as well as documenting more than a decade of change in state pre-K. 


The 2015 Yearbook contains a summary of the data and describes national trends in enrollment, quality standards, and spending for state-funded preschool. The 2015 Yearbook profiles 57 state-funded pre-K programs in 42 states plus the District of Columbia and contains detailed profiles outlining each state's policies with respect to preschool access, quality standards, and resources for the 2014-2015 year. Nationally, the 2014-2015 school year showed continued improvement in state funded pre-K with larger increases in enrollment, spending, spending per child, and quality standards than the previous year. 


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The latest in Memos, DCLs and Policy Letters


  • April 25, 2016 Letter to Kelli Unnerstall responds to the writer’s question about whether a school district, through their evaluation by a multi-disciplinary team, including a school psychologist or a school psychological examiner, may identify a child as having dyslexia under the category of Specific Learning Disability.



  • April 29, 2016 OSEP Memo 16-07:  Response to Intervention (RTI) and Preschool Services was issued to State Directors of Special Education, Preschool/619 State Coordinators, and Head Start Directors to clarify the relationship between RTI and evaluations.  OSEP requested that the addressees examine the procedures and practices in their States and LEAs to ensure that the use of RTI is not delaying or denying timely initial evaluations to preschool children suspected of having a disability.



  • May 9, 2016 Letter to Martha Goodman addresses the question of whether there is a “Federal barrier” to the development of an IEP for an eligible child whose parent is contemplating whether to choose special education and related services under Part B of the IDEA or continue to receive IDEA Part C services when a State has opted to make Part C early intervention services available to children aged three and older pursuant to 34 CFR §303.211.


OSEP policy letters can be found on the Department’s website.





Transition Resources from OSEP-funded NTACT

  • The Risk Calculator estimates individual students’ risk of dropping out and uses basic student-level data that is easily available in schools. Can be used on a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Contact


  •  is a web-based planning tool that incorporates use of data (data upload), a cross-disciplinary needs assessment for transition programming, and development of a measurable action plan.



FROM THE TOP: Updates from ED

 Guidance and Resources recently released by the Department of Education:




From the Secretary

US Secretary of Education John King has said, "We must ensure that our young people know that whoever they are or wherever they come from, they have the opportunity to get a great education in an environment free from discrimination, harassment, and violence". 


OSERS Blog: "Why I Teach"

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In recognition of Teacher Appreciation Week, which took place in May, OSERS published a blog series highlighting the stories of special education teachers across the country. This series, called "Why I Teach", is the perfect inspiration for educators, students, and families working to overcome educational adversity.

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ED on Instagram @usedgov

The US Department of Education is now on Instagram! Follow us @usedgov, where we're sharing the amazing stories of educators and learners across these United States!

Follow us on Twitter @Ed_Sped_Rehab

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OSERS is on Twitter with the latest from special education advocates, educators, families and students. Follow us @Ed_Sped_Rehab and tell your friends. We'll see you in the Twittersphere!


Send Us Your Feedback and Comments

We want to hear from you! Do you have suggestions for TA opportunities? Parent resources? Webinar topics? Ideas for things to include in future newsletters? Send them to Charlotte Stein at



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