Better Speech and Hearing, and New Resources!

Improving Results for Youth and Children With Disabilities

May 2018: In This Issue

Top News: Save the Date! June 18 Virtual Symposium

The next OSEP Virtual Symposium will be held on Monday, June 18, 2018. This will be a live webcast, held 1:30–3:30 p.m. EDT. A recording of the symposium will also be available once the live event has concluded.


The topic of this symposium is supporting high-quality special education services to children with disabilities by  addressing the capacity needs of educators, IEP (individualized education program) teams, and administrators to develop and implement quality IEPsRegistration information and additional details will be added to the Symposia Series website very soon!

Inside OSEP: Ruth's Report

Message From Acting Director Ruth Ryder

Hello Leaders!

This month, we celebrated Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM)! Check out our Twitter account for BHSM resources and information related to this year's theme, "Communication for All." I also want to highlight a fantastic webinar series featuring some of our OSEP grantees. It's available now on the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (NCHAM) website. NCHAM is funded in part by our partners at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


Additionally, I must mention the great opportunity I had this month to join many of my colleagues at the 2018 National Early Childhood Inclusion Institute. The event was held May 8–10 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It was such a pleasure to engage with the passionate and innovative attendees at this annual conference. Check out the conference website for more information on the presentations, speakers, topics discussed, and more. 

Thanks for Tuning in ... for Five Years!

This month, we're celebrating our anniversary — OSEP has been publishing the OSEP Update newsletter for five years! We've made some big changes over the years (check out our archive to see how far we've come), and we've appreciated the consistent feedback we've gotten from you, our loyal audience. Now, we want to hear even more! We're looking for new ideas to better suit your needs. Send us your thoughts on the look and content of the newsletter, especially on the types of resources we're sharing. You can send ideas and requests for technical assistance (TA) opportunities, parent and family resources, information about U.S. Department of Education (ED) activities and initiatives, webinars, and more to Charlotte Stein at

Assistant Secretary Collett Discusses Special Education and Endrew F

Johnny Collett discussing special education with NCLD and Understood

Last month, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) Assistant Secretary Johnny Collett participated in an interview to discuss the March 2017 Supreme Court decision in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, teacher professional development related to special education, federal regulatory reform efforts, and more. 

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Results Driven Accountability: What's Due and What's New

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

Now that the clarification period for SPP/APRs has ended, the final review phase has begun. This next phase will culminate in the release of letters to states regarding annual determinations in late June 2018.


State Applications

Earlier this month, states submitted their Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C grant applications. OSEP has now begun its review process of these applications. IDEA Part B applications were submitted later in the month. OSEP state leads are available to assist states regarding issues identified in the applications that will need to be addressed in order to make a state’s federal fiscal year (FFY) 2018 grant funds available for obligation on July 1. 


State Systemic Improvement Plans (SSIPs)

States also recently submitted their Phase III, Year 2 SSIPs. These are currently under review, and from late July to August 2018, state leads will be available upon request to discuss the feedback provided in these reviews. 


Monthly National TA Call

OSEP's May call for states focused on the SSIP and featured a presentation from Massachusetts’ IDEA Part C and preschool coordinators.  The presentation highlighted the collaboration that occurs across the state's two coordinator systems, and included successes, challenges, and goals for continued progress. During the call, OSEP also led a discussion on the sustainability of state SSIP work, and announced its new early childhood-focused National Center for Pyramid Model Innovation (NCPMI). View 'Early Childhood Check-in' below for information about their recent website redesign.


Differentiated Monitoring and Support (DMS)

Based on recommendations from an internal assessment of the DMS process, and feedback received from states, OSEP is taking steps to refine and improve all aspects of the process for FFY 2018. Stay tuned for details.

Dose of Data: Resources for Meaningful Data

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Early Childhood Check-in: Meeting the Needs of Our Youngest Learners


2017 State of Preschool Report Available Now!

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The State of Preschool 2017 is the 15th edition of the National Institute for Early Education Research’s (NIEER's) annual "yearbook," a report that tracks state-funded preschool access, resources, and quality. Nationwide in 2017, state-funded preschool program enrollment exceeded 1.5 million children — 33 percent of 4-year-olds and 5 percent of 3-year-olds. This year’s report includes a special section on policies affecting dual language learners, and also highlights changes since 2002, when NIEER first began tracking state pre-K. In addition to a national overview, the report provides a profile of each state’s preschool program.  

    New Resources From OSEP's Early Childhood Social-Emotional-Behavioral Center

    NCPMI logo

    Newly funded by OSEP, NCPMI has set out to improve and support the capacity of state systems and local programs to implement an early childhood multi-tiered system of support to improve the social, emotional, and behavioral outcomes of young children with, and at risk for, developmental disabilities or delays. The recently redesigned NCPMI website houses an abundance of Pyramid Model resources, all in one central location. This phase of the website redesign includes the following additions:

    • searchable resource library for fact sheets, issue briefs, webinars, and more.
    • Opportunities to share your examples of program-wide and statewide implementation. Upload to the Community Contributions and Pyramid States pages and take part in the Pyramid Nation community!
    • Links to the #PyramidModel social media conversation: we've compiled a social media stream across many platforms — check it out!

    Resources for You: New Letter From OSEP and Other Resources For Families, States, and More


    New! Letter From OSEP

    May 10: Letter to Zirkel addresses how a school district may meet the IDEA requirements related to documenting assessment of student achievement and progress (34 CFR §300.309(b)(2)) when the district uses a severe discrepancy model for determining whether a child has a specific learning disability under IDEA.


    Check out more of our resource documents and letters on the new IDEA website.   

    Literacy Resources for Families: What Is Phonemic Awareness?

    Visit the ED-funded National Center on Improving Literacy's (NCIL's) website for new, interactive resources geared towards parents and families of children with, or at risk for, literacy-related disabilities. We'd like to highlight NCIL's module on phonemic awareness (PA) that explains PA skills, their importance, how practitioners should be teaching them, and other critical information for families supporting their child's PA development.

      Boys practicing Phonemic Awareness

      NEW! For States: Guide on Principal Leadership for Inclusive Schools

      logos for CEEDAR and CCSSO

      The National Collaborative on Inclusive Principal Leadership (NCIPL), with support from the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and OSEP's Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability and Reform Center (CEEDAR), has released a new online resource, Supporting Inclusive Schools for the Success of Each Child: A Guide for States on Principal Leadership.


      The guide offers state leaders eight key strategies for developing and supporting principals to lead inclusive schools where each student excels and feels safe, supported, and valued. Its focus on equity is particularly important for the success of students with disabilities. Advancing policies that support inclusive principals will pave the way to improving instruction and creating positive school climates for the success of each child.

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      Research News: Report on Children With Disabilities Recommends Improvements to Services and Coordination Across Service Sectors

      National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine logo

      new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine examines federal, state, and local programs and services for children with disabilities in a range of areas, such as health care, special education, transition to adulthood, vocational rehabilitation, and social needs care. The report addresses topics including

      • the factors that contribute to the effectiveness of a program, such as linking both near- and long-term goals for students to desired long-term outcomes, and ensuring that these are individualized based on the unique needs of students and their families;
      • gaps and limitations that create barriers to access and variable quality of services, including the fragmentation of services;
      • ways to enhance the provision and quality of programs and services to improve health and functioning outcomes for children with disabilities; and
      • the importance of improving the collection and sharing of data to inform future research efforts and the development of evidence-based practices.

      Collaboration Corner: 2018 Combined Federal Programs Meeting

      ED logo SSRP

      Please save the date for the ED Office of State Support-hosted 2018 Combined Federal Programs Meeting, to be held on Dec. 6–7, 2018, in Washington, D.C. State directors and staff who administer ESSA Title I, Part A; ESSA Title II, Part A; ESSA Title III, Part A; state assessment grants; IDEA; and foster care and related federal programs are invited to participate in the meeting.


      The conference will provide an opportunity for attendees to network with other states, ED staff, TA partners, and other subject matter experts around the implementation of ESSA consolidated state plans. Attendees will have the opportunity to share resources with one another, work collaboratively through common problems of practice, and preview new tools from our partners and other states. Each state is encouraged to build a team of attendees that meets its specific needs. More details will be provided once the agenda is finalized.

      Voices From the Field: Will Eiserman, Early Childhood Hearing Outreach

      Will Eiserman


      This month, in honor of BHSM, we interviewed Will Eiserman. Eiserman is the director of NCHAM's Early Childhood Hearing Outreach (ECHO) Initiative. In the interview, Eiserman shares key takeaways from his ECHO work, including the importance of conducting regular hearing screenings on young children. He also highlights resources available for communities and programs to expand hearing screenings. Check out the full interview, among other BHSM-related posts, on the OSERS Blog.  

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      Engage With Us!

      Follow Us on Twitter @Ed_Sped_Rehab

      Twitter Logo Blue

      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!


      NEW! Connect With OSERS Assistant Secretary Johnny Collett on Twitter

      Johnny Collett


      OSERS Assistant Secretary Johnny Collett has joined the conversation on Twitter to share even more OSERS-related updates! 


      Follow him today: @JCollettOSERS.

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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.