Countdown to the OSEP Leadership Conference and Highlights of What OSEP Offers

Improving Results for Youth and Children With Disabilities

June 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!

June is an exceptionally busy month in OSEP. To give you an idea, June is the month when the Monitoring and State Improvement Planning division is completing its review of the FY17 SPP/APRs, issuing determinations, and finalizing Part B and Part C formula grants. The Research to Practice division is focused on finalizing and releasing funding priorities, conducting annual reviews and reviewing the annual progress reports of current Part D discretionary grantees. And then there’s the cross-division efforts to put the final touches on the OSEP Leadership Conference. Staff do all of this with the grace and professionalism that you’ve come to expect, and for which I’ve developed the utmost respect. You’ll find more details on these activities in the OSEP Update sections below.


I would also like to draw your attention to a new OSEP Update section – OSEP has a Resource for That. Spread the News! One of my priorities is putting the spotlight on the IDEA resources available from OSEP and its grantees by focusing on OSEP’s dissemination efforts. OSEP and its grantees are known for high-quality, relevant, and useful products and materials that assist stakeholders in meeting IDEA requirements and improving outcomes for infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities and their families. My priority is to ensure that we are getting those resources in the hands of the intended audiences, and beyond. For this, I need your help. Each month, we will highlight multiple OSEP-funded centers. I ask that you follow the links, use the information, and forward on the information to your colleagues. Thank you! I appreciate your efforts.


Finally, there is still time to register for the OSEP Leadership conference scheduled for July 22-24 in Arlington, Virginia. This biennial gathering brings together all members of our constituency – federal, state, and local partners, parents of children with disabilities, OSEP grantees,  advocates, researchers, and other allies – for 2 1/2 days of important information sharing. This is my first Leadership Conference as the OSEP director and I look forward to sharing with you some exciting new ideas related to ensuring that we are meeting the unique needs of each child with a disability. More importantly, I look forward to hearing from you, and learning from you.



OSEP Funding Opportunities

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OSEP recently posted notices inviting application for its personnel preparation program and its technology program. Applications for the personnel preparation program are due by July 29. Applications for the technology program are due by July 22.

OSEP Has A Resource for That. Spread the News!

OSEP, directly and through its partners and grantees, develops a wide range of research-based products, publications, and resources to assist states, local district personnel, and families to improve results for students with disabilities. In this new OSEP Update section, OSEP will highlight the work of its funded projects by focus area with the hope that you will disseminate the resources within your circles, and they within theirs. OSEP supports great work. Help us ensure that everyone knows! 

Start Here.

Looking for a place to start? The OSEP IDEAs that Work website is designed to provide easy access to information from research to practice initiatives funded by OSEP that address the provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act. This website includes resources, links, and other important information relevant to OSEP’s research to practice efforts. 

Focus Area: Dispute Resolution

The Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE) creates products and delivers services that are high quality, relevant, and useful to the field of dispute resolution in special education and early intervention. CADRE's products are responsive to the identified needs of specific target audiences (state education agencies, lead agencies for Part C, OSEP-funded parent centers, families, practitioners, and other stakeholders). CADRE’s products are available on its website.

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 issued the Part C FY17 State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Plan (SPP/APR) responses and determinations June 18. Part B FY17 SPP/APR responses and determination were released on June 20.  OSEP staff are available to answer any questions that states may have concerning OSEP’s response and determination.


FY17 determination letters for all states will be available to the public by July 1. 


State Systemic Improvement Plans 

State leads have completed reviews of their states’ Part C and Part B State Systemic Improvement Plans (SSIPs) submitted on April 1.  Throughout June, state leads have been evaluating states’ progress towards achieving the state identified measurable result.  State leads plan to conduct SSIP feedback calls with states in August.


State Applications

OSEP state leads are reviewing and evaluating states’ IDEA Part C  and Part B FY19 grant applications.  State leads have been in close contact with states to answer questions and when necessary, request additional information required for OSEP to approve the application. Grant awards will be issued by July 1.


OSEP’s Monthly Technical Assistance Call to States

During OSEP’s monthly technical assistance call on June 13, OSEP provided an overview of this year’s SPP/APR review process that included a walk through the SPP/APR responses in GRADS360 and the documents that will be attached to each state’s SPP/APR response, 

Dose of Data

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Did You Know?

In 2017-18, 66 percent of infants and toddlers who entered early intervention below age expectations in social relationships substantially increased their rate of growth by the time they turned three years of age or exited the program.


In 2017-18, 81 percent of children who entered the preschool program below age expectations in social relationships substantially increased their rate of growth by the time they turned six years of age or exited the program.


Check out more early childhood outcomes data here!

Converting Child Outcomes Data to OSEP Progress Categories/Summary Statement


The Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy) Center and the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center have developed an online interactive resource that offers an easy-to-understand video that explains how the child outcomes data that local programs collect are converted to the national data reported by OSEP. It also includes a set of calculators to help users explore how the data are converted, as well as helpful related resources.

Resources and Research to Use

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The National Center on Improving Literacy released an Ask & Answer on Phonics.  The video answers questions like - What is phonics? Why is it important? How should it be taught?

REL Southeast

Professional Learning Communities/Mathematics Instruction

REL Southeast developed a facilitator’s guide mathematical problem solving for use in professional learning community (PLC) settings. The facilitator’s guide is a set of professional development materials designed to supplement the What Works Clearinghouse practice guide, Improving Mathematical Problem Solving in Grades 4 Through 8 (Woodward et al., 2012). The practice guide provides research-based recommendations for teachers to incorporate into their classroom practice. The facilitator’s guide is designed to complement and extend the practice guide by providing teachers in a PLC setting with additional, step-by-step guidance for the best ways to implement some of these evidence-based recommendations.

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Weighted Student Funding

Weighted student funding (WSF) is a funding method that aims to allocate funding based on individual student needs. While large districts are increasingly using WSF systems, little research exists to assess their effectiveness. In this guest blog, Dr. Marguerite Roza, research professor at Georgetown University, discusses her team’s ongoing Institute of Education Science -funded research study that seeks to document and understand WSF designs and features as implemented in the field, and to gauge the extent to which WSF designs are associated with reducing achievement gaps.

FINAL CALL: 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.