The Short But Mighty and Full of Resources You Can Use Edition. Plus Farewell to Ruth Ryder

Improving Results for Youth and Children With Disabilities

April 2019: In This Issue of the OSEP Update

Inside OSEP: Laurie's Letter

Message From Director Laurie VanderPloeg

Office of Special Education Director Laurie VanderPloeg

Hello Stakeholders!

April marks six months since I joined OSEP. I have appreciated the opportunities to meet many of you and learn about your connections and commitment to infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities and their families. This month I attended a variety of events and conferences that provided space for connections and learning.


OSEP leadership met with a cohort from the Virginia Aspiring Special Education Leaders Academy (academy). The academy is a program established to assist local educational agencies and state-operated programs with succession planning and is designed to help prepare potential leaders for future administrative positions in special education. While the intent of the meeting was for OSEP to share information from the federal perspective, it was interesting to hear from our next generation of leaders. One of my priorities is to attract and retain high quality educators, and that requires high-quality relevant capacity building, like what we observed with the Academy cohort.


I addressed the 2019 National Down Syndrome Society Adult Summit on behalf of Assistant Secretary Johnny Collett. The adult summit covered important and critical topics for adults with Down syndrome, like self-advocacy and postsecondary options for individuals with intellectual disabilities. The work we do with children with disabilities from birth through age 21 lays the foundation for their future success as adults. 


Additionally, I participated in the Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability and Reform (CEEDAR) Center's cross-state convening to address recruiting, preparing, and retaining the teachers and leaders we need. Events like this provide states with a unique opportunity to hear from experts in the field, and learn strategies and methods from each other to address the teacher shortage.


Finally, as I'm sure you are aware, Ruth Ryder, OSEP's long-time deputy director, recently transitioned from OSEP to the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE). She is now the deputy assistant secretary in OESE's Office of Formula Grants, the office that administers Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Ruth was an incredible mentor and teacher during our time together. I look forward to our continued collaboration and am excited that such a strong advocate for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities and their families is firmly centered in the general education realm.


Keep on connecting, collaborating, and learning. Our children depend on it.



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

OSEP's Monitoring and State Improvement Planning division conducts many state-focused activities under the umbrella of Results Driven Accountability (RDA). You can read more about this innovative initiative to focus on educational results for children and youth with disabilities and their families here. Additionally, OSEP is examining RDA as a part of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services RETHINK framework.

State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report 

OSEP is in the midst of the annual State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Plan (SPP/APR) review period. SPP/APRs were submitted on Feb. 1, and clarification was held during the first weeks in April. OSEP state leads supported states during the clarification period to review the results of OSEP's initial SPP/APR review. OSEP anticipates issuing FY17 determination letters prior to July 1.


State Systemic Improvement Plans 

State Systemic Improvement Plans (SSIP) were submitted on April 1.  State leads are reviewing and evaluating SSIPs throughout April, May, and early June. During July and August, state leads will be scheduling calls with states to provide feedback on their SSIPs.


State Applications

IDEA Part C FY19 grant applications are due May 3. Applications should be publicly posted now in order to meet the public participation requirements. IDEA Part B FY19 grant applications are due May 17 and should be publicly posted no later than March 17 in order to meet the public participation requirements. States are encouraged to contact their state lead with questions about preparing the grant award packages.


Differentiated Monitoring and Support 

OSEP has selected eight states to participate in onsite visits as a part of its FY18 Differentiated Monitoring and Support process. Visits will focus on those areas identified for monitoring and technical assistance in order to improve results for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities, and their families. Four visits were conducted in April. 

Dose of Data: Data Files, and Information Collections for Public Comment

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Did you know…?

In the 2017-18 school year, approximately 45 percent of children with disabilities, ages 3-5, attended a regular early childhood program and received the majority of their services in that location. Data source:  2017 Part B Child Count and Educational Environments Data File.


For more data on where children with disabilities are being educated, please see the Part B Child Count and Educational Environments data on the IDEA Section 618 Data Products website.


IDEA Part B Section 618 Data Collections Out for Public Comment

The EDFacts information collection package for SYs 2019-20, 2020-21, and 2021-22 is open for the 30-day public comment period until May 8. This package includes responses to public comments on the IDEA Part B Section 618 data collections, as well as updates to the changes proposed during the 60-day public comment period. The package can be accessed and comments can be submitted here. Proposed changes to the IDEA Part B Section 618 data collections include-

  • requiring states to report 5-year-old children with disabilities who are in kindergarten by the school age educational environments reporting categories in EDFacts file 002 for the IDEA Part B Child Count and Educational Environment data collection; and 
  • replacing the collection of assessment achievement counts by individual performance level with a proficient/not proficient disaggregation in EDFacts files 175 and 178 for the IDEA Part B Assessment data collection.

Parent Center Picks

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Transition to Adulthood

The Center for Parent Information and Resources maintains a webpage dedicated to providing some of the most important information about the secondary transition requirements for students with disabilities. The resources are available in both English and Spanish.

Resources to Use

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Inclusive Education for Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities


The TIES Center at the University of Minnesota developed the content for the most recent issue of Impact magazine. This issue explores inclusive education through the perspectives of researchers, teachers, education administrators, students, and parents. They share knowledge, skills, experiences, and resources that can help K-8 schools nationwide support the learning and inclusion of all students.

Manual for implementing a multi-tiered instructional model of English learners

Project ELITE at the University of Texas at Austin released A Manual for Implementing a Multi-tiered Instructional Model for English Learners


The manual highlights five key model components that should be considered when implementing a multi-tiered system of supports for English learners (ELs):   

  1. High-quality, culturally and linguistically responsive core language and literacy instruction
  2. High-quality, culturally and linguistically responsive supplemental instruction (Tiers II and III) that is valid for ELs with or at risk for literacy-related learning disabilities
  3. Linguistically aligned assessment practices
  4. Systematic use of assessment data in the design and delivery of instruction and in educational decision-making
  5. Educator capacity building for sustained quality and services for ELs at risk for and with learning disabilities
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Developing High-Quality Individualized Education Programs

A new interactive learning module from the IRIS Center at Vanderbilt University , IEPs: Developing High-Quality Individualized Education Programs is designed to examine the requirements for individualized education programs (IEP) as outlined in IDEA while considering the implications of the Supreme Court's ruling in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District (Endrew).


This resource explains the step-by-step process for developing high-quality IEPs, as outlined in IDEA and provides additional considerations in light of the Endrew ruling. No matter your prior knowledge level, this self-paced module allows you to start with only the IEP basics or delve deeper into many of the related areas.

Measuring the Fidelity of Coaching

The National Center on Systemic Improvement released "Measuring the Fidelity of Coaching," its second in a series of modules on coaching. Coaching is a form of professional development for teachers who work in the kindergarten-12th grade setting. Module 2 addresses how to measure the fidelity of coaching practice to increase the impact it has on teaching and learning. 

Part C Child Find Self-Assessment

The Child Find Self-Assessment (CFSA) is a tool that state Part C programs can use to enhance their child find efforts. Developed by OSEP in partnership with the Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems and the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center, the CFSA can help states identify strategies to promote efficiency in their Part C child find systems, with the goal of ensuring infants and toddlers eligible for services are referred and enrolled. The CFSA is organized in four sections and includes information on IDEA requirements specific to child find, best practices in child find, technical assistance and resources, and OSEP policy letters and guidance related to child find.

Save the Date: STEMIE


The STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education Center

What do you do to support young children’s interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)? How do you ensure that that young children with disabilities have opportunities to participate in STEM learning? The STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education (STEMIE) Center is a new national center funded by ED to develop and enhance the field of early childhood education’s knowledge-base on effective practices and supports that improve the participation of young children with disabilities in STEM learning. Register to join the STEMIE team for a webinar on May 6 from 2:30 to 3:30p.m. EDT to learn more about the work of this center.

2019 OSEP Leadership Conference Registration

The Office of Special Education Programs will hold its 2019 Leadership Conference

July 22-24, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. 


The intended audience comprises

  • State agency staff - Part B state directors, Part C coordinators, 619 coordinators, and other federal programs staff;
  • Parent Center directors and staff;
  • Part B and Part C data managers;
  • Part D technical assistance providers; and
  • State Advisory Panels and State Interagency Coordinating Councils

Questions? Email

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Engage With Us! Social Media and More


Connect With OSERS and Assistant Secretary Johnny Collett on Twitter

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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. Follow Assistant Secretary Johnny Collett @JCollettOSERS. We'll see you in the Twittersphere!

Visit the OSERS Blog and OSEP Newsletter Archive

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!


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You can also check out the IDEA website newsletter archive for past editions of the OSEP Update. Readers are invited to send their feedback on the newsletter to

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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.