2016: A year of championing Equity, Opportunity, and Inclusive Learning!

Improving Results for Youth and Children with Disabilities

December 2016: In this Issue

TOP NEWS: ED Publishes Equity in IDEA Final Rule

This month the US Department of Education published final regulations to improve equity in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and to address widespread disparities in the treatment of students of color with disabilities. The regulations will address a number of issues related to significant disproportionality in the identification, placement, and discipline of students with disabilities based on race or ethnicity.


The Department featured a number of resources alongside the release of the final rule, including:

The Department will continue to develop guidance and resources. Please submit questions regarding the regulations to SignificantDisproportionalityRule@ed.gov.

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INSIDE OSEP: Ruth's Report

Message from Ruth Ryder, Acting Director

Hello Leaders!

My parting words for 2016: "great work!" We are closing out the year with a strong body of accomplishments, and I look forward to many more in the coming year. 


One of our successes in collaboration was the Combined Federal Programs Meeting, which OSEP, in conjunction with the Office of State Support in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, held this December. We had fantastic representation from special education at the Meeting.  State teams seemed to appreciate the time for peer discussions, and to value the guidance that they received from the Department.  

We look forward to following up with state directors after the holidays about any outstanding questions they have, and areas where they think additional support would be useful. Materials are now available on the Meeting website.

Until next year – Ruth 


Eight Awards Announced for Preschool Pay for Success (PFS) Feasibility Studies

In order to help expand preschool for three and four year olds the US Department of Education is providing $3 million to eight governmental entities around the country for Preschool PFS Feasibility Pilots. These grants will allow States, school districts, and other local government entities to explore whether PFS is a viable financing mechanism for expanding or improving preschool in their communities.  Grantees are required to build in safeguards to protect the rights of children with (and suspected of having) disabilities, and ensure preschoolers with disabilities will benefit from the expansion of high quality inclusive preschool programs.  To learn more about PFS, visit ED's PFS Webpage

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RESOURCE CENTER: Funding Opportunities and Significant Disproportionality TA

Funding Opportunities

The Department announced this month several grant competitions intending to increase diversity in schools, "Opening Doors, Expanding Opportunities" and the 2017 Magnet Schools Assistance Program. Each seeks to empower schools to create locally-driven strategies and programming which increase diversity, opportunity, and high-quality education.


OSEP announced two Notices Inviting Applications (NIA) on December 7th:

  • Personnel Development to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities -- Preparation of Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services Leadership Personnel (CF84.325D), and
  • Training and Information for Parents of Children with Disabilities--Community Parent Resource Centers (CF84.328C). 

The deadline for transmittal of applications is February 6, 2017.

Disproportionality TA from OSEP-funded Centers 

 In collaboration with our TA Centers, OSEP has pulled together the most useful TA products available for successfully implementing the Equity in IDEA regulations. We recognize that this will be an ongoing effort, and look forward to working with our partners in developing additional resources and supports in light of this important set of regulations. Topics covered on the OSEP IDEAs that Work website include:

  • Disproportionality Resources for Data Managers
  • Disproportionality Resources for Parent Centers 
  • Positive Behavioral Inventions and Supports
  • Reducing Early Childhood Suspension and Expulsion
  • Coordinated Early Intervening Services
  • Culturally Responsive Teaching
  • Family Engagement
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ED Update: Reducing Recidivism for Justice-involved Youth and ESSA

On December 7, the Department released the Notice of Final Rulemaking for Assessments in Title I, Parts A and B, accompanied by a Fact Sheet summarizing the regulations, and the ESSA Assessment Use of Funds Guidance.

Also this month, the Department announced a suite of guides and resources to help justice-involved youth transition back to traditional school settings. Among the resources are a Fact Sheet; the "You Got This" Guidebook for youth transitioning from juvenile justice facilities; a Transition Toolkit for practitioners; OSEP's website supporting practitioners working with justice-impacted youth with disabilities; and an Office of Civil Rights document laying out the rights of these youth, including protections they are entitled to under federal civil rights laws. 

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FROM THE FIELD: ED Hosts VSA Artists at Annual Exhibit Opening

ED Blog: 2016 VSA International Artists Honored in Exhibit Opening

Each year, the Department has the honor of hosting artists from around the world to open the VSA Art Exhibit, this year titled Yo Soy…Je Suis…I Am…the World. The International Organization on Arts and Disability (VSA) provides opportunities for youth with disabilities, who have aspirations in the performing and visual arts. Read more about the event on the Department's Homeroom Blog.

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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!


Catch our Snaps!

 What's "My Story" today?  ED's Office of Communication and Outreach now features different initiatives and events on our new Snapchat account.  Add us at @usedgov!!

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 charlotte.stein@ed.gov.

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