Pandemic Resources Webinar and OSEP Project Directors Conference

Improving Results for Youth and Children With Disabilities

May 2020: In This Issue of the OSEP Update

Inside OSEP: Laurie's Letter

Message From Director Laurie VanderPloeg

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Partners - 

 As you continue to deliver early intervention services and special education and related services in the closing days of the 2019-2020 academic year, I want to assure you that OSEP is tirelessly working to provide the support and technical assistance resources needed to ensure improved outcomes for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities. The March and April editions of the OSEP Update included resources to assist States, districts, early intervention providers, and parents navigate the uncertain times as we continue to provide services to children with disabilities within the reality of a pandemic. On June 4, we will host the first in a series of webinars focused on ready-to-use resources, tools, and practices from OSEP-funded grantees to support the educational, developmental, behavioral, and social/emotional needs of infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities through remote and distance learning. With the extended school closures occurring across the country, many States, districts, and schools are now delivering instruction remotely, and planning for the 2020-2021 school year, while parents, families, and students are having to learn in entirely new ways and facing challenges when it comes to learning during these unprecedented times. It is important to provide continuity of learning and growth for all children and youth, particularly those with disabilities. This webinar offers another opportunity to highlight free resources, targeted at various stakeholders, aimed at exploring potential strategies and innovative approaches to address the critical needs of students with disabilities during the COVID-19 era. See below for registration information.


I also must inform you that, after much consideration of the current situation and out of an abundance of caution, OSEP will postpone its in-person 2020 Project Directors’ Conference until 2021. OSEP project directors will still gather virtually to ensure that all grantees have updated and relevant information to inform their work. Detailed information on the 2020 virtual meeting is included below.


I wish you and yours all the best and trust that you will find a way to safely experience summer.



Register Now

VR100: Vocational Rehabilitation Program's 100th Anniversary

VR Success Stories Webinar

June 2, 2020, marks the 100th anniversary of the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program. OSERS' Rehabilitation Services Administration will be paying tribute to this historical occasion by showcasing “Success Stories” of how the VR program helped change the lives of students and adults with disabilities!

June 2, 2020

2:30 - 3:30pm EDT

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Continuity of Learning Resources Webinar

This webinar offers an opportunity to highlight free resources, targeted at various stakeholders, aimed at exploring potential strategies and innovative approaches to address the critical needs of students with disabilities during the COVID-19 era. Improving how we support schools, teachers, families, and students with disabilities is critical in ensuring that all students with disabilities, who have been disproportionality impacted by the shift to remote and distance learning, have access to a high-quality education and services that fit their individualized needs.

June 4, 2020

2:00 - 3:00pm EDT

Federal COVID-19 Resources

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The Department released several COVID-19 related fact sheets in May.


Fact Sheet: Providing Services to English Learners During the COVID-19 Outbreak outlines States’ responsibilities to English learners (ELs) and their parents during the extended school closures and, in some cases, the move to remote learning due to the national emergency caused by the COVID-19. 


Fact Sheet: Addressing the Risk of COVID-19 While Serving Migratory Children assists SEAs and local operating agencies in determining how to continue to identify eligible migratory children and provide services to address their needs, while taking into consideration the health, safety, and well-being of staff and migratory families. 


Check the Department's COVID-19 Information and Resources for Schools and School Personnel web page for additional information and resources.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains a web page that provides information for child care, schools, and youth programs to plan, prepare, and respond to COVID-19. Topics include: 

  • If you're open
  • Deciding to open
  • Ongoing mitigation strategy
  • Prevention and support
  • Communication resources
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Final Notice of Interpretation - NIMAC

IDEA established the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) in 2004 to assist SEAs and LEAs with producing accessible instructional materials for students with print disabilities. The Department issued a final notice of interpretation, effective May 26, to clarify that the definition of “print instructional materials” in IDEA includes digital instructional materials.

Dose of Data

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OSEP Fast Facts

OSEP Fast Facts is an ongoing effort to display data from the 12 data collections authorized under IDEA Section 618 as graphic, visual representations with the intent to present 618 data quickly and clearly. We were overwhelmed by the positive feedback we got on our first release, OSEP Fast Facts:  Children Identified With Autism and are excited to present OSEP Fast Facts:  Children Identified With Emotional Disturbance.  


For this Fast Fact, we present data from the 12 data collections authorized under IDEA Section 618 on children identified with a primary disability of emotional disturbance.  Data presented includes that collected through Part B Child Count, Educational Environments, Discipline and Exiting data collections authorized under IDEA Section 618. 


Data showed that 5.45% of student with disabilities in school year 2018-19 were identified with emotional disturbance.  States report a range from 1.65% to 17.36% of students with disabilities identified with emotional disturbance.


Visit the OSEP Fast Facts page for existing and future Fast Facts.

OSEP-funded TA Center COVID-19 Resources

OSERS’ technical assistance centers are ready to address your questions regarding the IDEA and best practices and alternate models for providing special education and related services, including through distance instruction. The National Center for Systemic Improvement is the primary source for technical assistance resources during the COVID-19 national emergency for IDEA Part B programs. The Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center is the primary source for IDEA Part C programs. For questions pertaining to Part C of IDEA, States should contact their Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center State Contact.  For Part B of IDEA, States should contact the National Center for Systemic Improvement.

Early Childhood

The Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center is providing State Part C and Part B, Section 619 programs with the latest information on funding and guidance, as well as information on talking to children and families during the COVID-19 national emergency.


School Age

The National Center for Systemic Improvement's web page provides a resource hub for supporting students with disabilities during the COVID-19 national emergency, including educator resources to support remote learning.


Other Resources

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Supporting Children During the Pandemic

The National Center for Pyramid Model Innovation (NCPMI)’s primary goal is to promote the social, emotional, and behavioral outcomes of children from birth through age five. NCPMI has developed many resources for families on how to help young children cope with the challenges that might occur during stressful emergency or disaster situations. Check out its new infographics and tip-sheets for families, including “Helping Your Child During the Pandemic, Tips for Helping Your Child During the Pandemic,” and “Tips for Supporting Yourself During the Pandemic.” You can also find these resources in Spanish in NCPMI’s resource library.

Research You Can Use

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Teacher's Use of Technology for School and Homework Assignments: 2018-19

This report provides statistics about the use of technology for homework assignments in grades 3–12. Data were provided by public school teachers about their homework practices and about their understanding of information technology available to their students outside of school.


The Condition of Education: 2020 Report

The Condition of Education is a congressionally mandated annual report from the National Center for Education Statistics. The report contains key indicators on the condition of education in the United States at all levels, from prekindergarten through postsecondary, as well as labor force outcomes and international comparisons.


Characteristics of Public and Private Elementary and Secondary School Teachers

This First Look report provides descriptive statistics and basic information from the 2017–18 National Teacher and Principal Survey Public School Teacher and Private School Teacher Data files.


Labor Market Outcomes for High School Career and Technical Education Participants

This Data Point examines how the early labor market outcomes of public high school graduates vary by the number of career and technical education credits earned during high school.

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.


Differentiated Monitoring and Support

As part of the Rethink Special Education initiative, OSEP has been examining its differentiated monitoring and support (DMS) system.  This rethink was designed to build on the work OSEP has done under Results Driven Accountability and to continue to ensure that OSEP fulfills its core responsibilities to monitor its grantees in a manner that focuses on improved outcomes for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities, and their families. 


OSEP intended, as was communicated in other venues, to roll out its plans for DMS 2.0 in a national technical assistance call in April.  But, given the urgency of responding to COVID-19, OSEP has decided that this is not the right time to roll out DMS 2.0.  States must focus on the important work of ensuring that early intervention services for infants and toddlers, and special education services and related services for children and youth are being provided during this time of crisis, as well as ensuring that staff and families remain safe and healthy.  As a result, OSEP is postponing the roll out of our revised DMS process.


OSEP anticipates rolling out DMS 2.0 in summer 2020.  

POSTPONED: 2020 OSEP Project Directors' Conference

With our stakeholders' well-being and safety in mind, the in-person OSEP Project Directors’ Conference will be postponed to 2021. We will miss seeing everyone in person this year, but considering the present circumstances, we believe this is the best decision to make. If you submitted a proposal to present, you will have the option to resubmit for next year’s conference.


During the dates of the planned conference (July 20-22, 2020), a series of virtual calls will take place to ensure all grantees have updated and relevant information to inform their work. Please continue to hold these dates on your calendar. These calls will take place according to the schedule below; information about registration and how to connect will be shared soon.  All grantees are expected to attend the OSEP Remarks and any Program Area Check-In Calls for which they have a grant.


Please visit the 2020 OSEP Project Directors' Conference website or contact the OSEP Conference Planning Team by email at for more information on the virtual meeting schedule or with questions.

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

 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.