NEW! Question and Answer Section; Policy Letters; Notice of Proposed Priority

Improving Results for Youth and Children With Disabilities

November 2019: In This Issue of the OSEP Update

Inside OSEP: Laurie's Letter

Message From Director Laurie VanderPloeg

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Hello Stakeholders!

I'll be brief. Change. Regardless of the emotions that conjures, we all have to manage change. The outcome of change is directly related to how we manage it.


OSEP has been managing a lot of change this month in hopes that our stakeholders receive the positive impact of our efforts. We've kicked off several newly funded discretionary grant projects and decided on how those projects will provide support to their intended audiences. Continue to check our IDEAs That Work site for updates.


We've also been focused on finalizing the new SPP/APR reporting tool. We were able to test the system with representatives from a focus group representing states and are pleased with what has been developed. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we roll out a new system that will reduce burden and improve user experience.


Even as things change, things remain the same. Enjoy reading this issue of the OSEP Update that is packed with the high-interest and relevant content you've come to expect.



That's a Good Question! You Asked. OSEP Answered.

In this new section, OSEP will answer frequently asked questions on IDEA. We will highlight a different high-interest topic each month. Questions and answers are taken from previously issued policy letters and frequently asked questions documents.

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Evaluation Timelines - School Breaks


How are evaluation timelines calculated when they include school breaks?


Under 34 CFR § 300.301(c)(1), the initial evaluation must be conducted within 60 days after receiving parental consent for the evaluation or, if the State establishes a timeframe within which the evaluation must be conducted, within that timeframe. Pursuant to 34 CFR § 300.301(d), the timeframe does not apply if: (1) the parent of a child repeatedly fails or refuses to produce the child for evaluation; or (2) a child enrolls in a school of another public agency after the relevant timeframe in 34 CFR § 300.301(c)(1) has begun, and prior to a determination by the child's previous public agency as to whether the child is a child with a disability under 34 CFR § 300.8. In the regulations, a day is a calendar day unless otherwise indicated as a business day or school day. 34 CFR § 300.11. As contemplated in the regulation, a State is permitted to establish a timeframe that is different from the 60-day timeframe. State-established timeframes generally also incorporates the exceptions in 34 CFR § 300.301(d), as described above. There is no exception in 34 CFR § 300.301(d) that would permit the applicable initial evaluation timeline to be suspended because of a school break.


May a State educational agency adopt a regulation that takes into account, for purpose of the resolution period timeline, a school district’s winter break?


No. Under section 615(f)(1)(B) of the IDEA and 34 CFR § 300.510(a), within 15 days of receiving notice of the parent's due process complaint, and prior to the initiation of a due process hearing under 34 CFR § 300.511, the LEA must convene a meeting with the parent and the relevant member or members of the IEP Team who have specific knowledge of the facts identified in the due process complaint. As stated above, "day" means calendar day unless otherwise indicated as business day or school day. Absent an agreement under 34 CFR § 300.510(a)(3) not to hold the meeting because the parent and the LEA agree in writing to waive the meeting, or the parent and the LEA agree to use the mediation process described in 34 CFR § 300.506, the LEA is obligated to schedule and hold the resolution meeting within 15 days of receiving the notice of the parent's due process complaint. Therefore, it would be inconsistent with IDEA and its implementing regulations for the State to adopt a regulation that allows suspension of the timeline for convening a resolution session when the SEA receives a complaint shortly before or during an LEA's winter break.

OSEP Policy Letters

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October 23: Letter to Anonymous addresses whether the actions required in an SEA’s complaint decision to remedy the denial of appropriate services must be implemented if the child relocates to another state.

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 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. 


Previous Months' OSEP Updates

The Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education

The Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems

The National Technical Assistance Center on Transition

Center on Great Teachers & Leaders at American Institutes for Research

National Center on Intensive Intervention at American Institutes for Research

State Implementation & Scaling-up of Evidence-based Practices Center

The National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes


National Center for Systemic Improvement

National Center on Accessible Educational Materials

IDEA Data Center

The Center for IDEA Fiscal Reporting at WestEd provides technical assistance to state educational agencies (SEAs) to help them meet their federal obligation to collect and report special education fiscal data.

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The Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) supports schools, districts, and states to build systems capacity for implementing a multi-tiered approach to social, emotional and behavior support. PBIS improves social, emotional and academic outcomes for all students, including students with disabilities and students from underrepresented groups.

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.

CHANGE ALERT! OSEP's GRADS360° Page Will Stay Live Into 2020

OSEP will continue to use its GRADS360° page for the foreseeable future. We anticipate the that site will remain active until the fourth quarter of 2020/


What this means for the public. All of the publicly-available information currently housed on the website will remain.  


What this means for state users: The SPP/APR online submission system currently hosted on GRADS360° is retired. Beginning with the FY18 SPP/APR,  due Feb. 1, 2020, states will submit using the Department's universal APR tool currently under development on the EDFacts Metadata Process System. In the coming months, OSEP will host several informational calls for states on the new system. Contact your state lead if you have questions.


FFY 2018 Part B and Part C SPP/APR Reporting Templates Now Available!

Due to the transition to the new reporting tool, the system will not open for state submissions until Jan. 1, 2020. To help prepare for the 2020 submission, the Part B and C Templates can be accessed below:

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OSEP's Monthly Technical Assistance Call to States

During OSEP’s monthly national technical assistance call on Nov. 14, OSEP staff presented on the recently released Frequently Asked Questions on Prior Approvals designed to ease burden, provide State flexibility and ensure programmatic and fiscal accountability. In addition, OSEP provided an update on recently released policy letters that address the provision of compensatory education after a family relocates to a new State, dual enrollment of students, and the development of IEPs of children placed in certain preschool programs. 

Dose of Data

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Did You Know?

In SY 2016-17, 98.5% of the local educational agency (LEA)/ educational service agency (ESA) that states evaluated met the state maintenance of effort (MOE) compliance standard. 

Source: Part B Maintenance of Effort Reduction and Coordinated Early Intervening Services Static Table 6. Number and percent of LEAs/ESAs that were determined to meet the MOE compliance standard in SY 2016-17.  

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Understanding Local Educational Agency Maintenance of Effort PowerPoint Training Deck

The Center for IDEA Fiscal Reporting (CIFR) released a PowerPoint training deck designed for SEA staff to train LEA staff to increase their familiarity and comfort level with applying the LEA MOE regulatory requirements under IDEA Part B. The customizable training deck includes a basic review of the regulatory requirements, examples of the requirements at work, and a list of additional resources. The deck is accompanied by a script and a Guide to Slides with presenter tips and directions for customization.


A comprehensive list of CIFR’s products can be found here.

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Notice of Proposed Priority

OSEP published the Notice of Proposed Priority for the Technical Assistance on State Data Collection-IDEA Data Management Center (84.373M) for public comment in the Federal Register on Nov. 13.


The proposed IDEA Data Management Center will respond to state needs as states integrate their IDEA Part B data required to meet the data collection requirements in section 616 and section 618 of IDEA into their longitudinal data systems. The proposed Center will help States address challenges with data management procedures and data systems architecture and better meet current and future IDEA Part B data collection and reporting requirements. 


Public comments are due Jan. 27, 2020 and can be submitted through

Resources and Research to Use

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Early Childhood 

The Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center and The Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data System Center staff have completed their national child and family outcomes data analysis. They discussed the national performance data for indicators C3, C4, and B7, including national data, state variations in performance, family survey approaches used, and TA resources on a Nov. 22  webinar. You can access this recorded webinar here

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Every three years, ED’s Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Educational Statistics conducts the Early Childhood Program Participation (ECPP) component of the National Household Education Surveys Program to answer questions about young children’s care and education before starting kindergarten. The ECPP survey reported that 60 percent of children under age 5 who were not yet in kindergarten participated in at least one weekly nonparental care arrangement in 2016. When asked what factors influenced their choice of child care arrangements, 51 percent of parents ranked the cost as “very important.” A summary of the survey findings and the link to the full report can be found on this recent blog post.

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Secondary Transition

The National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB) recently published an article, His Best Life: A Young Man’s Transition to Adulthood, about Malik Morris who is deaf-blind. The article describes the exploration, planning, collaboration, and effort in which Malik and his family engaged to craft a happy, meaningful adult life and is one in a series of Transition & Adult Life Success Stories on the NCDB website.

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School Climate

The National Center for Education Statistics released three new Data Point Reports entitled Students’ Perceptions of Bullying; Electronic Bullying: Online and by Text; and Student Perceptions of School Discipline and the Presence of Gangs or Guns at School. These reports examine the characteristics and school behaviors of students who report bullying online or by text; the extent to which students experiencing different components of bullying report their perceived relationship of bullying to the student’s personal characteristics; and how student perceptions of school discipline vary by student reports of their own behaviors in school and unfavorable school conditions experienced.

Engage With Us! Social Media and More


Connect With OSERS 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. We'll see you in the Twittersphere!

Visit the OSERS Blog and OSEP Update 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.