Policy Letters and Formula Grant Award Applications

Improving Results for Youth and Children With Disabilities

January 2020: In This Issue of the OSEP Update

Inside OSEP: Laurie's Letter

Message From Director Laurie VanderPloeg

Laurie VanderPloeg official portrait

Hello Stakeholders!

I champion attracting, preparing, and retaining effective personnel to serve infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities because it is a critical issue facing early intervention programs, schools, and communities across the nation. Our children require personnel with the knowledge and skills needed to provide effective instruction, interventions, supports, and services in order to demonstrate improved outcomes. To that end, I’d like to share work that is happening at the state and local, and Federal levels.


I had the opportunity to participate in the Georgia Teacher Pipeline Summit on Jan. 22. The summit brought together school district teams for a day of high-impact technical assistance. School district teams that included superintendents, human resources personnel, special education and instructional leaders, Federal programs leaders, and principals and teacher leaders, learned about Federal, state and local policy initiatives, as well as innovative actions intended to address this critical shortage. The meeting closed with facilitated school district planning time to develop a local action plan to attract, prepare, and retain effective personnel for all students. I returned to Washington with a continued appreciation of the focused thoughtful work that is happening each day at the state and local level to ensure effective personnel for all of our children with disabilities.


On March 19, OSEP will live stream Attract, Prepare, Retain: OSEP National Summit on Improving Effective Personnel for Children with Disabilities. The personnel shortage disproportionately affects infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities and their families due to the many unfilled positions and high attrition rates among special education teachers, early childhood personnel, and related service providers. The summit provides an opportunity to bring together various stakeholders to explore potential strategies and innovative approaches to address this ongoing need. We hope that you will participate virtually! Additional information is forthcoming on the OSEP Meetings website.



OSEP Policy Letters

Nov. 22, 2019: Letter to Breeskin addresses the role of parents in determining the educational placement of a child with a disability, including how far from home the child will be educated.

policy letter

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

The Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports

The Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform Center

The IRIS Center

CIID logo

The Center for the Integration of IDEA Data (CIID) provides technical assistance to state educational agencies to increase the capacity to report high quality data required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B Sections 616 and 618. CIID supports the integration of IDEA data systems and processes with the Statewide Longitudinal Data System.

National Center on Deaf-Blindness logo

The National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB) provides technical assistance to meet the needs of children (birth to 21) with deaf-blindness in five initiative areas: early identification and intervention; family engagement; interveners and qualified personnel; transition; and assessment, planning, and instruction. It's universal, targeted, and intensive technical assistance is conducted in concert with state deaf-blind projects throughout the U. S., and with national family organizations. NCDB has an extensive website with information and products to support its technical assistance as well as relevant information on deaf-blindness of use to families, service providers, and the general public.

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.

REMINDER! 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. 3, 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 Schedules

States must submit the FFY 2018 Part B and Part C SPP/APR no later than 11:59 PM local time on Monday, Feb. 3. The Part C clarification period is scheduled for April 14-28. The Part B clarification period is scheduled for April 16-30.

OSEP's Monthly Technical Assistance Call to States

OSEP's January technical assistance call focused on the FFY 2020 IDEA Parts B and C formula grant applications. All FFY 2020 IDEA formula grant documents are available here.


The completed Part B application, with supporting information, must be submitted on or before May 15, to ensure that the state’s FFY 2020 IDEA Part B grant funds are available for obligation on July 1, 2020. States must make available by March 15 the FFY 2020 IDEA Part B grant application for public participation in order to meet the May 15 submission deadline.


The completed Part C application, with supporting information, must be submitted on or before May 1, to ensure that the state’s FFY 2020 IDEA Part C grant funds are available for obligation on July 1. States must make available by March 1 the FFY 2020 IDEA Part C grant application for public participation in order to meet the May 1 submission deadline.

Dose of Data

data points graphic

Did You Know?

In SY 2015-16 and SY 2016-17, approximately 1.6% of local educational agencies (LEA)/educational service agencies reduced maintenance of effort under IDEA Section 613(1)(2)(C), which was a slight decrease from approximately 2.1% in SY 2013-14 and SY 2014-15.  


Sources: Part B Maintenance of Effort Reduction and Coordinated Early Intervening Services Static Table 3. Number and percent of LEAs that met requirements and had an increase in 611 allocations and took the MOE reduction for school years 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17. 

Resources and Research to Use

CIFR logo

LEA MOE Calculator

The Center for IDEA Fiscal Reporting recently released Version 1.4 Extended of the Local Educational Agency (LEA) Maintenance of Effort (MOE) Calculator.


First released in spring of 2016, the LEA MOE Calculator enables state educational agencies and LEAs to determine whether the LEA MOE eligibility (budget) and compliance (expenditure) standards have been met by any of the four methods permitted by IDEA. The calculator assists users in identifying the appropriate comparison year and amount and incorporating exceptions and adjustments from current and past years. 


The most recent version of the calculator has been updated to accommodate Fiscal Years 2020-21 through 2024-25 and is available here


If you have any questions or would like to request a demo, please contact cifr_info@wested.org. 

SISEP logo

Identifying Program Needs

The Hexagon Tool helps schools, districts, and State Education Agencies to determine if an intervention will be a good fit with their needs and context.  This new lesson describes how to use the tool and provides activities to walk participants through the steps of using the tool.

NCSI IDC logos


The IDEA Fiscal Timeline, co-developed by the Center for IDEA Fiscal Reporting (CIFR), the IDEA Data Center (IDC), and the National Center for Systemic Improvement is a tool customizable by SEA staff to help them meet the high-stakes fiscal requirements of IDEA. Pre-populated with recommended activities and month-by-month schedules, the tool may be further customized by adding additional fiscal topics and supplemental information such as staff responsibilities and relevant state regulations or procedures. The customized tool serves as a useful overview for staff who implement or supervise fiscal work and as a training tool and reference for state staff new to IDEA fiscal responsibilities.

National Center on Deaf-Blindness logo

Intervener Services

Deaf-blindness severely limits access to visual and auditory information that forms the basis for learning and communication. Interveners—individuals (typically paraeducators) with specialized training in deaf-blindness—are a way to meet the challenge of providing access to information for these students. The National Center on Deaf-Blindness has developed a number of useful resources on interveners including a definition and a discussion guide to help IEP teams determine if intervener services are appropriate for a particular student. In addition, NCDB has an Interveners and Qualified Personnel Initiative with much more information.


Inclusive Policies and Practices

The Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center and the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations are excited to share three new products that have be co-created as part of a national, cross-sector initiative to develop indicators that address inclusive policies and practices at the state, local program leadership and early care and education environments level.  The State Indicators of High Quality Inclusion address key state-level infrastructure elements such as policies, funding, standards, and professional development.  The Local Program Indicators of High Quality Inclusion address local leadership and support including areas such as vision, family engagement and partnerships, local polices and resources, and collaborative teaming.  The Early Care and Education Environment Indicators of High Quality Inclusion address critical practices related to areas such as family partnerships, meaningful interactions with peers, curriculum and instruction.  A self-assessment tool is now under development and plans to pilot the indicators in states through intensive TA.

Save the Date

Attract, Prepare, Retain: OSEP National Summit on Improving Effective Personnel for Children with Disabilities

Live Stream March 19

Additional information will be posted here.

Attract Prepare Retain logo
2020 OSEP Project Directors Logo

OSEP Project Directors' Conference

July 20-22

Crystal Gateway Marriott, Arlington, VA


Who should attend: All OSEP Research to Practice grantees are required to attend, including project directors from: personnel development projects; technical assistance and dissemination projects; educational technology, media, and materials projects; parent regional center projects; and state personnel development grant projects. Additional attendees may include additional grantee staff, OSEP doctoral scholars,  State Personnel Development Grant project evaluators, poster session exhibitors (not otherwise attending the conference), as well as staff from OSEP and U.S. Department of Education.


Anticipated Dates:

  • Conference registration - Feb. 3
  • Call for Proposals (Breakout and Poster session submissions) - Feb. 3

Keep track of all conference updates on the 2020 Project Directors’ Conference website.



Please contact the OSEP Conference Planning Team by email at osep-meeting@air.org.

Engage With Us! Social Media and More


Connect With OSERS on Twitter

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 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 sites.ed.gov/osers for future posts!


IDEA splash image with pictures of children with disabilities

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 rebecca.walawender@ed.gov.

 If you know someone who would like to subscribe to the OSEP Update and breaking news, encourage them to sign up HERE! This link will also allow subscribers to manage their subscriber settings and unsubscribe. 

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.