OSEP's December 2020 Update: Federal COVID-19 Resources | Dose of Data | Research You Can Use | Engage With Us

Improving Results for Youth and Children With Disabilities

December 2020: In This Issue of the OSEP Update

Inside OSEP: Laurie's Letter

Message From Director Laurie VanderPloeg

Laurie VanderPloeg official portrait

Hello, Stakeholders.


As we anticipate 2021, it is important to acknowledge the impact of 2020’s realities. National social unrest and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic have taken their toll on the populations we serve. However, because of your extraordinary efforts, we have met and tackled the challenges head on. Infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities, and their families have been supported through increased communication, collaboration, resource development, dissemination, and use of innovative practices.


One key to continued progress in the face of adversity, is the presence of effective personnel. As such, OSEP continues its focus on attracting, preparing, and retaining effective personnel. We have collected information, data, and research on the impact of the personnel shortage issue. Now it is time for implementation and capacity building across the nation of the identified practices that we know are making a difference. To jumpstart this phase of the work, OSEP convened five focus groups with key stakeholders in December to identify critical components for success that will be included in a strong implementation plan. OSEP will convene an additional focus group in January. Your voices and the practices you have identified have been invaluable as OSEP plans for the next phases.


During my time in OSEP we collaborated to write the newest chapter in OSEP’s history book. You all are named in that chapter, acknowledged for your work and most importantly the impact and imprint you are leaving during this historic time. We will be able to look back and say we weathered that storm and we made a difference. What a difference we have made! Let us move into 2021 with the same passion and commitment with which we are ending 2020. There will always be more work to accomplish and more needs to fill. OSEP is here to partner with you in this effort!


A special thank you to the teachers, providers, administrators, all school personnel for your hard work, commitment, and dedication to providing quality instruction, and social, emotional, and behavioral support for ALL children and parents within your systems.

As you go into the holiday season, rest, relax, enjoy family and friends, and most importantly stay safe and stay healthy!


Happy Holidays!




Federal COVID-19 Resources

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Catalog of Department Resources

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

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IDEA Topics in the Current COVID-19 Environment

IDEA topics in the Current COVID-19 Environment

You can also find these and other resources on the IDEA COVID-19 page.

Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE)

This Equity by Design Research Brief by the Region III Midwest and Plains Equity Assistance Center (MAP Center) presents a qualitative study of Black and Latinx parents of students with disabilities who experienced conflicts with charter schools. The purpose of the study was to understand the mechanism that generated and sustained the conflict. Understanding this conflict can provide guidance for charter schools, and parents seeking school options so that students of Color with disabilities experience inclusive quality services in any school option.


This edition of Equity Digest by the Region III Midwest and Plains Equity Assistance Center (MAP Center) is a call to action for school community stakeholders to work alongside minoritized students and families as they experience compounding inequities during the COVID-19 pandemic. They discuss inequities related to online/distance learning, and how schools and school communities can serve as resources and supports for minoritized students.


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CDC Guidance for Child Care, Schools, and Youth Programs

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

Dose of Data

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Did You Know?

In FFY 2018, states’ FFY 2018 graduation rate targets for Indicator B1 on the State Performance Plan/ Annual Progress Report (SPP/ APR) ranged from 34.00% to 100.00%. The average state target was 74.25%; the median target was 77.80% and the standard deviation was 15.02%.


Graduation Targets for FFY 2018.

Source: FFY 2018 Part B Indicator Analysis, Indicator B1: Graduation Rate, Completed by the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT)


Every year, in collaboration with the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT), National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO), IDEA Data Center (IDC), National Center for Systemic Improvement (NCSI), Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA), Parent Centers and the Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE), the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) publishes an Indicator Analysis of the State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report (SPP/APR) for Part B and Part C. These analyses contain federal fiscal year indicator measures, data sources for reporting, variations in state and entity approaches to the reported federal fiscal year’s data collection or measurement, and other overview characteristics. Check out this years' publications at OSEP's SPP/APR Resources for Grantees for more data and insights.


OSEP Fast Facts: Asian, Hispanic and/or Latino Children with Disabilities

OSEP Releases Fast Facts on Asian, Hispanic and/or Latino Children with Disabilities

OSEP is excited to release two new Fast Facts that take a closer look at our IDEA 618 data on race and ethnicity.


For our Asian Children with Disabilities and Hispanic and/or Latino Children with Disabilities Fast Facts we present data from the data collectihttps://sites.ed.gov/idea/osep-fast-facts-highlight-asian-hispanic-latino-children-disabilities/ons authorized under IDEA Section 618 including that collected through child count, educational environments, discipline and exiting data collections.

Infographics’ Highlights

  • In 2018, Hispanic and/or Latino children comprised 27.18% of the population of students ages 6–21 served under IDEA, Part B. California, Texas, Florida and New York served more than 50% of all the Hispanic and/or Latino students across the country.
  • In 2018, Asian children comprised 2.49% of the population of students ages 6–21 served under IDEA, Part B.
  • Between SY 2009–10 and 2018–19, the percentage of Hispanic and/or Latino Students with Disabilities served under IDEA, part B increased from 21.76% to 27.18%.
  • In school year 2018–19, Hispanic and/or Latino students were more likely to be identified with specific learning disability and less likely to be identified with other health impairment than all students with disabilities.
  • In school year 2018–19, Asian students are more likely to be identified with a speech or language impairment and Autism and less likely to be identified with specific learning disability than all students with disabilities.
  • In school year 2017–18, Asian children with disabilities, ages 14–21, exiting school were more likely to graduate and less likely to drop out than all students with disabilities.

OSEP recently released two other Fast Facts on race and ethnicity, American Indian or Alaska Native Children with Disabilities and Black or African American Children with Disabilities. Together, these Fast Facts represent four of the seven Federal race/ethnicity reporting categories used under IDEA.


OSEP Fast Facts is an ongoing effort to display data from the 12 data collections authorized under IDEA Section 618 into graphic, visual representations with the intent to present 618 data quickly and clearly.


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: Supporting Social-Emotional and Mental Health Needs of Young Children Through Part C Early Intervention: Results of a 50-State Survey

This resource is a recorded webinar that presents key findings from a 50-state survey on supports for social-emotional and mental health needs in Part C early intervention. The National Survey Report, from the National Center for Children and Poverty (NCCP) and Georgetown University Center for Children and Families (CCF), is the webinar’s focus. Topics discussed include screening, referral, and evaluation; eligibility; services for eligible and ineligible children; and collaboration, including referrals under CAPTA and Medicaid funding.

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Digging Deeper into Inclusion in Colorado: National Implications for the Utility of Indicator Six and Quality Improvements

This resource is a recorded webinar that focuses on how the preschool team at the Colorado Department of Education sought to more deeply understand the quality of inclusive practices being implemented in publicly funded preschool classrooms across the state. This webinar describes a study that was conducted to gather information from special educators and related service providers on how inclusive practices are implemented in programs and to inform barriers to inclusion at the local policy and procedural level. Results of this study are shared along with next steps the state will take to move forward to improve the dosage and quality of inclusive practices delivered to children.

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National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB)

As onsite early intervention and school services have become limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many families of children with deaf-blindness are turning to online consultation from professionals to acquire new skills to help their children at home. A new webpage, Partnering with Professionals Online from the National Center on Deaf-Blindness, provides tips for families to get the most out of these distance connections.


Other OSEP-funded TA Center Resources

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National Center on Inclusive Practices and Policies (TIES)

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework that can help educators design inclusive learning environments for all students, including students with significant cognitive disabilities, whether they are in remote, hybrid, and/or face-to-face settings. TIES Center has a new resource in its distance learning series titled, Universal Design for Learning: Intentional Design for All that provides practical information and tips on how to use goals to develop lessons that are engaging and meet the needs of all learners.

NDC Postsecondary Outcomes

Ready Now: Deaf People and Vocational Rehabilitation: Who Is Being Served?

The National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes (NDC) has published the first report of its kind — Deaf People and Vocational Rehabilitation: Who Is Being Served? — to provide national-level analysis of the Rehabilitation Services Administration’s Case Service Report data about who has contacted VR agencies and who is receiving services. The report’s findings and recommendations can help VR agencies improve services and employment outcomes for deaf people, as well as recruitment of both clients and the staff who serve them.

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Event Opportunity from PROGRESS: How Can We Refocus on Progress for Students with Disabilities?

Join the PROGRESS Center on January 7, 2021 from 4:30–5:30 pm EST for the final offering of The Path to PROGRESS: How to Move Beyond Compliance. This interactive event for district and school educators and leaders will explore how we can develop and implement high-quality education programs that ensure students with disabilities have access to free appropriate public education (FAPE) which allows them to make progress and meet challenging goals. The sessions will also introduce an opportunity for districts and schools to partner through ongoing more intensive supports with the PROGRESS Center to improve outcomes for students with disabilities.

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Literate Adolescents Intervention Project Materials

The Literate Adolescents Intervention Project (LAIP) website provides a comprehensive curriculum for older learners who are struggling with reading. Developed in collaboration with secondary teachers, instructional materials, such as the WordBuilder app, are designed to engage adolescents and support access to grade level texts. Appropriate for use by both general and special education teachers, LAIP strategies may be integrated into an existing curriculum, or implemented as an intensive reading intervention program.

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Families and Schools Partnering for Children’s Literacy Success Toolkit

The National Center on Improving Literacy released a tool kit to help families and schools work together to support children’s literacy success in and out of school.


It provides tips for starting or enhancing discussions about literacy instruction and intervention, ways to increase joint understanding of evidence-based literacy practices and strategies for addressing concerns about children’s literacy development together.



Research You Can Use

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New Report on Teacher Performance Evaluations in U.S. Public Schools

The National Center for Education Statistics released a new Data Point report today, entitled Teacher Performance Evaluations in U.S. Public Schools. This report describes information sources used for teacher performance evaluations in public schools during school year 2016–17 and how results would be used to inform decisions about teachers during the 2017–18 school year, by school type.

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New Report: State and District Approaches to Implementing Title I and Title II-A During the Transition to ESSA

A new report finds that between 2014 and 2018, states made little substantive change to state content standards, broadened measures to identify struggling schools, and increasingly used performance data to support effective teaching.

An Approach to Using Student and Teacher Data to Understand and Predict Teacher Shortages

REL Report: Understanding and Predicting Teacher Shortages

Addressing teacher shortages has been a persistent concern among leaders in schools, districts, state education agencies, and the federal government. This resource describes the collaborative efforts of REL Central and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop and implement a teacher predictor model that describes and predicts the teacher workforce and shortages by subject area, grade level, and geographic region. The methods and processes can be adapted or adopted by education agencies that wish to describe and predict teacher demand and shortages, including trends by subject area and certification status. Education agencies can also use predictions to inform efforts to address inequities in student access to excellent educators.

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Improving Data Quality Using the IDEA Data Center LEA Data Processes Toolkit

There is a continuous need for state education agencies (SEAs) and local education agencies (LEAs) to collect and report comprehensive, high-quality data and ensure they report data accurately and in a timely fashion. The IDEA Data Center (IDC) has developed the LEA Data Processes Toolkit to support states and their LEAs in documenting local processes that enable them to meet IDEA data collection, analysis, and reporting requirements. States and their locals collaborate to complete the toolkit’s nine customizable protocols. The toolkit’s LEA Landscape protocol provides an overview of the LEA’s data systems, key special education and data staff, and data processes. The information is useful in onboarding new staff and supporting all data staff across the LEA as they follow the processes that the LEA documented in the toolkit’s eight IDEA data collection protocols. These protocols contain both prefilled information and definitions from OSEP file specifications and the specific information the LEA’s team provides to complete the protocols.


High-quality state data depends on high-quality local data. The SEA/LEA team approach to completing the protocols enables LEAs to establish and support consistent practices across the LEA that produce valid and reliable data for decision making, build the capacity of data staff at the LEA level, and maintain a culture of high-quality data. Please contact your IDC State Liaison for more information about how to get started using the toolkit.

Lead for Literacy

Lead for Literacy Center Framework Overview Video

Check out this new video in which the Lead for Literacy Center introduces the five elements of its schoolwide reading model for supporting students with, or at risk for, learning disabilities.

Lead for Literacy

Lead for Literacy Center Practice Guide Summaries

Contribution Narrative/Text: The Lead for Literacy Center has published summaries of the What Works Clearinghouse Practice Guides to help school leaders locate high quality instructional resources to support students with, or at risk for, learning disabilities.

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Compared to What?

Measuring outcomes for the population affected by your project is important, but measuring outcomes in isolation does not tell the full story. You need to consider how the outcomes may have been different if your project had not been implemented. That is, you need to know, “Compared to What?” The Office of Special Education Programs’ Center to Improve Program and Project Performance created a series of 5 issue briefs to help grantees identify good comparison data to assess project results.

State Performance Plans/Annual Performance Reports (SPP/APR)

The EDFacts Metadata and Process System (EMAPS) opened on December 21, 2020 for the State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report (SPP/APR) submission (on Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2019 data) that is due on February 1, 2021. If you have any questions regarding the SPP/APR submission or EMAPS, please contact the EDFacts Partner Support Center at EDEN_SS@ed.gov or 877-HLP-EDEN.

The FFY 2019 and 2020-2025 SPP/APR Packages are available on the IDEA website. Please check back frequently for additional resources related to SPP/APR reporting. Additional information on the SPP/APR information collection packages were presented on the October 15, 2020 and December 10, 2020 OSEP Monthly Technical Assistance (TA) Calls (please access the website for the recordings and presentation materials).


In collaboration with OSEP-funded TA Centers, OSEP annually publishes an analysis consisting of an explanation of the reported Federal fiscal year indicator measures, data sources for reporting, any variations in State approaches to the reported Federal fiscal year’s data collection or measurement, review of six-year trends (reported federal fiscal year and 5 years prior data) in means and ranges, patterns and trends from prior year’s data in comparison to the reported federal fiscal year’s data (including progress and slippage), other relevant indicator data comparisons, and a brief conclusions/summary of the indicator report. The Indicator Analysis chapters are available via the following links:

IDEAs That Work

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MSIP has updated content on the IDEA website and the IDEAs That Work websites. OSEP presented on the content that is on each website during the August 13, 2020 OSEP Monthly Technical Assistance (TA) Call. Registration links for future TA calls and recordings and presentation materials from previous TA calls will be posted on the same page.


On August 31, 2020 RSA Commissioner Mark Schultz and OSEP Director Laurie VanderPloeg issued a letter on the importance of collaboration between special education and vocational rehabilitation related to secondary transition.


Differentiated Monitoring and Support

The next Differentiated Monitoring and Support (DMS) Technical Assistance Call is scheduled for January 28, 2021 at 4:00pm (EDT).


OSEP plans to conduct DMS TA Calls on the fourth Thursday of each month at 4:00pm (EDT). The DMS TA Call may get rescheduled when there are conflicting holidays or other events. Please check the OSEP Monthly TA Call page for additional information on registration links and the schedule.


To access resources related to monitoring activities (e.g. DMS 2.0, DMS Reports, and older monitoring reports, etc.), please refer to the DMS section on our IDEA website.



The IDEA Part C Grant Application package was recently approved by OMB. OSEP anticipates disseminating the FFY 2021 Grant Application Packages to States in January prior to the OSEP Monthly TA Call.


OSEP will present on the FFY 2021 Grant Application Packages on the next regularly scheduled Monthly TA Call on January 14, 2021 at 4:00pm (EDT). Please check the OSEP Monthly TA Call page for additional information on registration links and the schedule.



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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.