New Endrew F. Q&A and Milestone Tracker App for Families

Improving Results for Youth and Children With Disabilities

November / December 2017: In This Issue

TOP NEWS: Department Releases Endrew F. Q&A

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On March 22, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District Re-1, 137 S.Ct. 988. The court held that “to meet its substantive obligation under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a school must offer [a child] an IEP [individualized education program] reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances.” 


As such, the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) has released a question and answer (Q&A) document addressing the Endrew F. decision. The Q&A document provides parents and other stakeholders with information on the issues addressed in the ruling and the impact of the court's decision on the implementation of IDEA. Earlier this month, Secretary DeVos published an op-ed article supplementing the Department's Q&A document. 

INSIDE OSEP: Ruth's Report

Message From Acting Director Ruth Ryder

Hello Leaders!

I've been very fortunate to get out into the field quite a lot over the past few months, meeting with a wide range of stakeholders from varying sectors of special education. I recently participated in the National Center for Systemic Improvement's Cross-State Learning Collaboratives (CSLCs) convening in Atlanta, Georgia. The CSLCs that met in Atlanta were focused on IDEA Part B programs, and met not only with their team members, who are often from different states across the country, but also with other collaboratives. I also met with local special education administrators, higher education faculty, and other leaders at the 2017 Fall Special Education Leadership Meeting in Columbia, South Carolina. In Syracuse, New York, I participated in a research conference hosted by the American Educational Research Association. We discussed in great depth evidence-based practices and the future of research in special education. 


Finally, I had the chance to join OSERS Acting Assistant Secretary Kimberly Richey at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, Virginia. There we met with staff and leadership at the school's University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), the Partnership for People with Disabilities; students and staff supported by personnel preparation funding from OSEP; and various faculty and leaders from VCU and throughout Virginia.


As a last thought, I wanted to thank all of you who provided comments on the Secretary’s Proposed Supplemental Priorities and Definitions for Discretionary Grant Programs. During the Oct. 12Nov.13, 2017 comment period the Department received over 1400 commentswow! Your input will be extremely valuable as we move forward to finalize these priorities.


Below are some updates from OSEP's Monitoring and State Improvement Planning Division.


State Performance Plans/Annual Performance Reports (SPP/APR)

All preloaded data and prepopulated data, with the exception of the IDEA Part B assessment data which is not yet available, went live on Nov. 27. Additionally, we updated system functionality to include all elements of the new measurement table. You can find SPP/APR resources here.


Differentiated Monitoring and Support (DMS)

On Nov. 20 we began our roll-out of the 2017-18 DMS notices. We presented helpful information and resources to states. We also released the notices to states, indicating and explaining their designated engagement levels, soon after. OSEP state leads will be in contact with their states to discuss engagement activities for the 2017-18 cycle.


National Technical Assistance (TA) Call

We will hold our December National TA Call for states on Thursday, Dec. 14, at 4 p.m. ET. We will discuss expectations for the State Systemic Improvement Plan Phase III Year 2 submissions.

EARLY CHILDHOOD CHECK-IN: CDC Milestone Tracker App for Families

Woman and Child with text about CDC Milestone Tracker

New! Milestone Tracker Mobile App

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced its free new app, the Milestone Tracker, which allows users to track their child's development in a fun and easy way. This mobile app is a recent addition to CDC's popular suite of free, family friendly materials available through the Learn the Signs. Act Early. program. The Milestone Tracker gives parents 1) tips to help their child learn and grow; 2) a way to track milestones and recognize delays; and 3) the ability to share this information with their child's healthcare provider. Specifically, the app offers the following:

  • Interactive milestone checklists for children ages 2 months through 5 years, illustrated with photos and videos
  • Tips and activities to help children learn and grow
  • Information on when to act early and talk with a doctor about developmental delays
  • A personalized milestone summary that can be easily shared with doctors and other care providers
  • Reminders for appointments and developmental screenings

We also invite you to view a recently archived webinar from CDC experts discussing the app. This webinar highlights the Milestone Tracker’s unique features and explains how it can be used to engage families in tracking their children's development. 

RESOURCES FOR YOU: On Data Submission, Opioids Intervention, and Teacher Preparation


Working Towards High-Quality IDEA Data

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We are now in the midst of data submission season for states, and the IDEA Data Center (IDC) has a new tool to help. In order to obtain high-quality data, states must ensure that the answers in their State Supplemental Survey-IDEA (SSS-IDEA) are correct and align with the data files they submitted to EDFacts. With that in mind, IDC has released the IDEA Part B SSS-IDEA Crosswalk. The crosswalk serves as a reference for any point in the data submission cycle. It clarifies the connections among 1) state-submitted metadata; 2) the submission errors or business rules that a submission might trigger; and 3) comments states receive from OSEP if the data they submit to EDFacts do not align with the SSS-IDEA responses.


Opioids Intervention Brief From OSEP 

The President recently drew national attention to the long-standing opioid crisis that is affecting the lives of many Americans. His declaration decried the opioid crisis as a national public health emergency. In the wake of this apt and important declaration, we are highlighting a relevant brief previously developed by OSEP, "Intervention IDEAs for Infants, Toddlers, Children, and Youth Impacted by Opioids". This is one in a series of Intervention IDEAs briefs that describe interventions for practitioners and parents that address the academic, developmental, and behavioral domains of infants, toddlers, and school-aged children and youths with or at risk of disabilities.

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OSEP's CEEDAR Center Collaborates With CCSSO

On Nov. 1718, 2017, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) joined OSEP’s Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform (CEEDAR) Center to host the first convening of the National Collaborative on Inclusive Principal Leadership (NCIPL). NCIPL is a coalition of diverse organizations committed to changing policies and practices related to principal preparation, professional learning, and school improvement. It was founded on the principles established by CCSSO and CEEDAR in PSEL 2015 and Promoting Principal Leadership for the Success of Students with Disabilities.


The NCIPL convening brought together its members—who represent principal associations, national nonprofits, principal preparation providers, higher education, ED-funded TA centers, and CCSSO—to curate resources and provide recommendations that support states in their efforts to advance effective inclusive learning environments for all students, including those with disabilities. Resources shared and guidance developed at the convening will be collected and disseminated by CCSSO. NCIPL also plans to identify two or three states where there is significant overlap in the TA they provide, in order to test the impact of a more streamlined and coordinated approach to service delivery in this area. 

VOICES FROM THE FIELD: Early Math Experts Julie Sarama and Doug Clements

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This month we had the opportunity to interview Julie Sarama and Doug Clements, professors and Kennedy endowed chairs at the University of Denver, about their research on young children’s mathematical thinking and the evidence-based approaches to teaching math to young children. Check out the interview on the OSERS Blog, where Sarama and Clements share their work and suggestions for making early math an important aspect of high-quality preschool. 

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Follow Us on Twitter @Ed_Sped_Rehab

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


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 for future posts!



Send Us Your Feedback and Comments


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

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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 U.S. Department of Education, nor should their inclusion be considered an endorsement of any private organization.