Proposed SPP/APR Available for Public Comment, Funding Opportunity, Questions and Answers

Improving Results for Youth and Children With Disabilities

February 2020: In This Issue of the OSEP Update

Inside OSEP: Laurie's Letter

Message From Director Laurie VanderPloeg

Laurie VanderPloeg official portrait

Hello Stakeholders!

Each one of us plays a critical role in ensuring improved outcomes for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities and their families. Last month, I told you about work at the local, state, and federal levels to attract, prepare, and retain personnel with the knowledge and skills needed to provide effective instruction, interventions, supports, and services to our children with disabilities. This month, I’d like to share highlights from my visits to classrooms across the country. My visits are a part of a broader effort from the Department to observe first-hand the instruction that is happening in our Nation's schools targeting unique learning styles and cultivating the talents of every child.


My February travels took me to schools in Nebraska, Louisiana, and Illinois. I had the opportunity to observe instruction and service delivery that spanned age groups, the continuum of services, and public, charter, and private school options. While the schools varied by population served and geography, several common themes emerged. First, the schools were committed to meeting the individual needs of each child with a disability enrolled in the program. Also, the impact of high-quality instruction and service delivery was evidenced in classrooms where staff and students were fully engaged in learning. And finally, during each visit I heard about the positive impact of evaluating practices and implementing necessary change to ensure improved outcomes for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.


I will continue to brief you on my travels to states and districts in future Laurie’s Letters, but I close this month’s Letter by bringing you back to the Federal government’s role in administering IDEA. The President released his budget for fiscal year 2021, A Budget for America’s Future, at the beginning of the month. The President’s budget proposes to invest significant resources for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities, and their families. The budget calls for a $100 million increase for the Part B 611 formula grants to states program and continues to fund all other IDEA grant programs at the same levels as in fiscal year 2020. These investments provide more resources for states to provide special education and related services for over seven million students with disabilities.



In the Federal Register

Comment on the Proposed FY 2020-2025 SPP/APR Information Collection

The proposed FY 2020-2025 Part B and Part C State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report information collections were published in the Federal Register on Feb. 19. The collections are available for public comment until April 20.


Access and review all documents related to the information collections and submit your comments using the links below - 


Part B

Part C

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Notice Inviting Applications

An NIA for OSERS-OSEP: Personnel Development to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities - Leadership Development Programs: Increasing the Capacity of Leaders to Improve Systems Serving Children with Disabilities was published on Feb. 13. Applications are due April 13.

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

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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.

Secondary Transition


Should the reporting required in 34 CFR § 300.320(a)(3) include the annual transition goals in 34 CFR § 300.320(b)(1)?


Each child's individualized education program (IEP) must include a statement of measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals that are designed to meet the child's needs that result from the child's disability to enable the child to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum, and to meet each of the child's other educational needs that result from the child's disability. 34 CFR § 300.320(a)(2). Each child's IEP must also include a description of how the child's progress toward meeting the annual goals described in 34 CFR § 300.320(a)(2) will be measured, and when periodic reports on the progress the child is making toward meeting the annual goals (such as through the use of quarterly or other periodic reports, concurrent with the issuance of report cards) will be provided.


Beginning not later than the first IEP to be in effect when the child turns 16, or younger if determined appropriate by the IEP Team, the IEP must include appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based upon age appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment, and where appropriate, independent living skills. Further, the IEP must include transition services, including courses of study, needed to assist the child in reaching these goals. Such transition services must relate to a type of instruction, related service, community experience, development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives (and, if appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills), and provision of a functional vocational evaluation. 34 CFR § 300.43.


We note that 34 CFR § 300.320(a)(3) limits the periodic progress reporting requirement in 34 CFR § 300.320(a)(3) to the student's progress on the annual IEP goals described in 34 CFR § 300.320(a)(2), which are the student's academic and functional goals, and does not specifically identify "postsecondary goals" as an area for which a public agency must report student progress. However, we assume that there would be a relationship between the academic and functional goals of a transition-aged student and that student's postsecondary goals, and that it would be necessary for a public agency to report on a student's progress in meeting postsecondary goals when reporting on the transition-aged student's progress in meeting related academic and functional goals. Therefore, OSEP believes that periodic progress reporting for transition-aged students would need to address the child's progress in meeting postsecondary goals.


Source:  OSEP Letter to Pugh, January 18, 2017


Is parental consent required prior to conducting "age appropriate transition assessments" referenced in the IDEA Part B transition services provisions?


While there is nothing in IDEA that would prevent a State from requiring parental consent for age appropriate transition assessments related to appropriate measurable postsecondary goals, it is the position of the Office of Special Education Programs that in general, IDEA does not require a public agency to obtain parental consent before conducting those assessments, unless the assessments are part of an initial evaluation or reevaluation. We believe that generally, parental consent is not required prior to conducting an age appropriate transition assessment because the purpose of the assessment is to develop appropriate postsecondary IEP goals and not to determine whether a child has or continues to have a disability, and the nature and extent of the special education and related services that the child needs. If, however, the IEP Team determines that a reevaluation of the child is warranted in order to obtain additional data, based on the student's educational or related services needs including improved academic achievement and functional performance, the public agency is required to obtain parental consent consistent with 34 C.F.R. § 300.300(c). See also 34 C.F.R. § 300.303(a)(1).


Source:  OSEP Letter to Olex, February 22, 2019

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

Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education

Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems

National Technical Assistance Center on Transition

National Center on Intensive Intervention at American Institutes for Research

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

National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes


National Center for Systemic Improvement

National Center on Accessible Educational Materials

IDEA Data Center

Center for IDEA Fiscal Reporting at WestEd

Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports

Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform Center

IRIS Center

Center for the Integration of IDEA Data

National Center on Deaf-Blindness

CPIR logo

The Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR) supports the OSEP-funded parent centers that serve families of children with disabilities. CPIR provides a hub of information and products targeted towards increasing parent centers' knowledge and capacity in specific domains, while also making these resources available to the public.


Bookshare provides Ebooks for people with reading barriers. Bookshare is free for qualified U.S. students of any age with print disabilities. 

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

The Part C clarification period is scheduled for April 14-28. The Part B clarification period is scheduled for April 16-30.

Part B and Part C Formula Grant Applications

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.

OSEP's Monthly Technical Assistance Calls to States

OSEP held three technical assistance calls to states in February. OSEP’s TA Call on Feb. 13, featured a joint presentation from OSEP and staff from the Early Childhood Personnel Center on cross-disciplinary core competencies and implications for early childhood professional development systems. 


OSEP conducted calls on Feb. 20 and Feb. 24 to provide targeted technical assistance on section V.B of the Part B formula grant application. Section V.B. collects information on significant disproportionality. Part B states should contact their State Leads if they have questions about Section V.B.  

Dose of Data

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Did You Know?

The number of infants and toddlers, birth through age 2, receiving early intervention services under Part C of IDEA has increased from 388,694 in 2017 to 409,315 in 2018 and the number of children with disabilities, ages 3 through 21, receiving special education and related services under Part B of IDEA has increased from 6,904,232 in 2017 to 7,130,238 in 2018.


Sources:  2017 and 2018 Part B Child Count and Educational Environments Data Files;

2017 and 2018 Part C Child Count and Settings Data File

New Data Files

OSEP has released 10 new 2017-18/ 2018 state-level data files on the IDEA Section 618 Data Products website. In addition to state-level data files, OSEP has released a number of static tables that provide commonly used percentages associated with the IDEA Section 618 data.

Resources and Research to Use

School Safety was created by the federal government to provide schools and districts with actionable recommendations to create a safe and supportive learning environment where students can thrive and grow.

OSGPS logo

SGPS Newsletter

The Department's Office of State Grant and Program Support recently launched a newsletter similar to the OSEP Update. The SGPS Newsletter shares information, resources, and updates related to programs under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, including Title I, safe and supportive schools, migrant education, and the comprehensive center programs. You can subscribe to the SGPS Newsletter here.

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Developing Problem Solving Skills

The ED-funded National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations has a number of visual resources to help young children develop problem solving skills.  Check out the practical strategies to help children think through how to problem solve as well as visuals of problem solving steps in English and Spanish.

MTSS for ELs

Multitiered Systems of Support for English Learners, an OSEP funded model demonstration project, developed The Culturally and Linguistically Responsive (CLR)–Response to Intervention (RTI) Fidelity Rubric.  This rubic is used by individuals who are responsible for monitoring school-level fidelity of RTI implementation within a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS). The rubric is aligned with the essential components of RTI and the infrastructure that is necessary for successful implementation. It is accompanied by a worksheet with guiding questions and score points for use in an interview with a school’s RTI leadership team.

Upcoming Summits and Conferences

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

Live Stream March 19


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2020 OSEP Project Directors Logo

OSEP Project Directors' Conference

July 20-22

Crystal Gateway Marriott, Arlington, VA

register now
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Engage With Us! Social Media and More


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Visit the OSERS Blog and OSEP Update Archive

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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.