OSEP's February 2023 Update: Director's Message | ED Updates | Announcements | Featured Resources

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OSEP Update

    A Newsletter for OSEP Grantees and Interested Stakeholders

February 2023

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In This Issue:

From the Director

Valerie C. Williams

Message from OSEP Director,
Ms. Valerie C. Williams

Dear Friends!

Welcome to February. For those of us living in the northeast, we are suffering through a snow drought, which is VERY disappointing for kids (and myself)! This past week I have seen a dusting of snow and daffodils in yards, so it seems as though winter may be over before it got started. In thinking about warmer weather ahead let’s discuss an event that occurs every spring.

This March, we’ll celebrate National Assistive Technology (AT) Awareness Day. I’ve decided to talk about it now because Congress reauthorized the Assistive Technology Act in December as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and renamed it the 21st Century Assistive Technology Act. You might remember that the Assistive Technology Act was administered by our colleagues in Rehabilitation Services Administration prior to passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act’s passage in 2014. It is now administered by HHS’ Administration for Community Living.

The revised bill contains many of the state grant programs designed to increase access of AT devices and services to all individuals with disabilities. These activities include state financing activities for AT, device reutilization programs, device loan programs, and device demonstrations. It also includes increases in grant funding for protection and advocacy agencies and state-level programs to support unique AT needs in states. Finally, there are important new provisions to improve collaboration on the use of AT—including with OSEP. We’re looking forward to the future collaborations.

IDEA has strong assistive technology provisions both in Part C and Part B. Many states reserve IDEA Part B state-level funds for AT and there are numerous resources available on devices and services—including OSEP funded technical assistance centers like the Center on Inclusive Software for Learning, the Center on Technology Systems in Local Educational Agencies/Center on Inclusive Technology & Education System and the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials.

Despite the abundance of resources, I have heard that there is still confusion about assistive technology and IDEA requirements. OSEP is planning on issuing guidance to further support the consideration and use of AT devices and services. I’m looking forward to its release, as I’m certain it will be helpful to the field and our students.

Finally, and most importantly, I want to acknowledge Black History Month. It is the shortest month of the year, but one of the most symbolic given that the focus is not solely on the accomplishments and history of Black Americans, but on equity. This is noteworthy. OSEP strives to continuously and creatively embed equity into our work—not just because IDEA requires it, but because it is the right thing to do, and our students deserve the best. It’s challenging work, and I’m extremely appreciative of the staff at OSEP who are having difficult conversations and thinking about how we can improve outcomes for all children with disabilities—especially for those children who need more than equal treatment to have successful outcomes.

In solidarity,



ED Updates

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Expect, Engage, and Empower: Successful Transitions for All!

In support of Secretary Cardona’s mission to improve equity across our nation’s schools, Director Williams is pleased to announce a new initiative to improve postsecondary outcomes for students with disabilities — Expect, Engage, and Empower: Successful Transitions for All

This initiative will challenge the field to join OSEP to raise expectations, engage families earlier, and empower all who support transition services to measurably and significantly improve postsecondary outcomes for children and youth with disabilities and their families. Every family that has an infant, child, or youth identified with a disability must be exposed to high expectations from day one. In order for improvement to occur three things must happen:

  1. The education and vocational rehabilitation systems must work together,
  2. Critical discussions about the future and transition planning process must start sooner, and
  3. ALL students with disabilities should have the opportunity to learn about all post-secondary opportunities and make the best choice for themselves.

Our systems should be prepared to make their vision a reality by providing information about any needed support services, and proactively address needs.

Save the Date Event Details

  • When: TBD, Winter 2023
  • Where: Virtual
  • Who: All OSEP grantees and anyone who is interested in this important topic is invited to attend. That means you!

Additional information will be shared in the upcoming weeks


Technical Assistance (TA) Calls

OSEP’s Monthly Technical Assistance (TA) Calls are intended for OSEP grantees. The registration links and recorded content are available on the MSIP Program Page of the IDEAs That Works website.

The next OSEP Monthly TA Calls will be on Thursdays, February 9 and 23, 2023, at 4:00pm (EST). We are working on rescheduling the call on the 2023 Grant Application process for this month as well and will get that information out ASAP.

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State Performance Plans / Annual Performance Reports (APRs)

Thank you for your timely submissions of the FFY 2021 SPP/APRs on February 1, 2023. We have received all SPP/APR submissions and are in the process of reviewing them in preparation for the clarification period in April.

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IDEA Part B/C Grants

OSEP will reschedule the OSEP Monthly TA call on the FFY 2023 IDEA Grant Application packages.

Last month’s late cancellation was due to the Department’s recent announcement to implement new requirements for Section 427 of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) for FFY 2023 and the impact it will have on the IDEA grant application process. As you know, GEPA Section 427 requires Federal grantees to demonstrate how they provide equitable access to Federally-funded programs and how they identify and address barriers to access. The Department is currently seeking OMB approval on the form that grantees would have to complete and include with their grant applications. It is anticipated that this approval will be granted in February 2023. Upon approval of the form, OSEP will update the Grant Application Memos to provide guidance on the new requirements under GEPA Section 427 and instructions for completing the form and including it with your grant applications for the public participation process.

Please know that we will ensure that you have ample time to conduct public participation and submit your grant application and materials by the Part C and Part B application due dates.

DMS 2.0

Differentiated Monitoring and Support (DMS)

The next OSEP Monthly TA Call on DMS will be on Thursday, February 9, 2023 at 4:00pm (EST).

OSEP has issued the final DMS monitoring reports to the following Cohort 1 states:

  • Arkansas Part C (1/12/23),
  • Michigan Part C (1/12/23), and
  • Montana Part C (1/24/23).

Those states in Cohorts 1, 2, and 3 are posted! To review other resources and documents related to our monitoring activities (e.g., DMS 2.0, DMS Reports, and older monitoring reports), please refer to the DMS section on our IDEA website.

Dose of Data: Did You Know

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Did you know?

In 2019–20, Black or African American children with disabilities, ages 3–21, were removed from their educational placement for disciplinary reasons more times than children with disabilities in any other race/ ethnicity category.

Link to Dose of Data Infogram: "Total Disciplinary Removals Per 100 Children or Students with Disabilities By Race/Ethnicity"

Data Sources:

To explore this visualization further, please go to: https://infogram.com/1p0yzj216k1292seypqp07yq0pfnw55gxwm?live

News from Our Centers

Introducing DaSy Dynamic Impact: A Team-Based Continuous Improvement Approach

The DaSy Center is excited to introduce DaSy Dynamic Impact, a team-based continuous improvement approach for ongoing program improvement and systems change. Improving programs and changing systems can be hard, DaSy Dynamic Impact is an easy-to-use approach that provides a consistent, successful, and sustainable process to support your team.

This approach can be used by states, early intervention and early childhood special education programs, local education and providers agencies, and other teams in using an ongoing program improvement process that not only results in meaningful systems change but also helps systems sustain those changes over time.

Intended Audience:
Coordinators and staff of state and local early intervention systems/local education agency  (EIS/LEA) teams, early care and education stakeholders, and TA providers. Any professional who works in a team structure to improve programs, policies, and practices can benefit from the use of the module.

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Innovation Cohort on Eliminating the Use of Exclusionary Discipline

The National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI) is offering a technical assistance opportunity to states, territories, or tribes that wish to enhance, expand, or strengthen their implementation of the Pyramid Model with a focus on eliminating the use of exclusionary discipline practices in early childhood programs. This intensive technical assistance opportunity will provide a cohort of 5–10 states, territories, or tribes with resources, information, systems implementation strategies, and support to develop and initiate a strategic plan for addressing exclusionary discipline.

Applications are due on February 17, 2023.

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Research Highlights from the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER)

The Institute for Education Science’s NCSER funds research designed to expand knowledge and understanding of learners with and at risk for disabilities, from infancy through postsecondary settings. In January, we held a grantee spotlight blog series focused on the principal investigators funded under the Research to Accelerate Pandemic Recovery in Special Education grant program. Below we share the interviews with these researchers about their projects, motivations, challenges, and anticipated impacts on the field of special education and early intervention:

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New Publication on Visual Impairments in Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities

A number of differences exist between students with significant cognitive disabilities who have cortical visual impairment (CVI) and those who have other types of visual impairment. Learn more in NCDB/ATLAS Brief #2, co-produced by the National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB) and Accessible Teaching, Learning, and Assessment Systems (ATLAS). Information in the brief is drawn from a more extensive report, “Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities and Dual Sensory Loss.”

Personnel Development Resources

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Using IRIS in College Courses

Learn how college and university faculty have revised their curricula and embedded IRIS Center resources in their college courses in these brief audio and video interviews:

University of North Georgia:
IRIS resources are used in courses ranging from introductory topics to instructional methods to applied behavior analysis, and with teacher candidates in the elementary, middle grades, and special education programs. Learn how they used IRIS resources when they revised key assessments in the special education methods courses.

University of Central Florida:
When identifying federally funded resources to complement course content across several departments, faculty developed a curriculum matrix that included courses in reading and literacy, mathematics, behavior interventions, inclusive practices, and more. The faculty infused IRIS Modules, Case Studies, and Activities throughout its courses as well as materials and services from the Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform (CEEDAR) Center and the National Center on Intensive Intervention (NCII).The curriculum matrix prevented duplication of the same IRIS resources being used in more than one course.

Showcasing Implementation in Action

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Early Math Learning and Self-Regulation App

NumberShire™ is a FREE internet-based educational game with an intensive focus on critical whole number concepts and skills for students in K—2. NumberShire Integrated Tutor System, an OSEP-funded grant, includes an adapted version of the intervention; a renovated data dashboard depicting student performance; a platform linked to implementation; instructional resources that support teachers to make math instruction more explicit in the classroom; and a game-based, self-regulation activity called Math Toss to support the development of behavioral self-regulation skills.

Download the app or learn more here.

In Case You Missed It

Discipline and Behavior Series Blog

OSEP Director Highlights Discipline Policies as Reflective of OSEP Priorities, Two TA Centers Share Preventative Models, Resources

Valerie C. Williams, director of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), released the second blog in a blog series on discipline and behavior. The newest blog addresses OSEP’s priorities of calling on “state and local leaders to double down on their efforts to reduce their reliance on exclusionary discipline practice,” and “creating safe, predictable learning environments for students and educators.”

In addition to sharing how OSEP’s discipline policies reflect the office’s priorities, Williams asked two OSEP-funded technical assistance centers about preventative models early childhood programs, schools and families can use to address the behavior of young and school-aged children with disabilities.

The National Center on Pyramid Model Inventions answered questions through an early childhood lens while the Center on Positive Interventions & Supports addressed questions about school-aged children.

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New and Updated Technical Assistance Resource

Last year, HHS and the Department of Education jointly hosted the webinar, Expanding School-Health Center Partnerships. Based on that webinar, they created a Technical Assistance Resource: “Partnerships between Schools and HRSA-Supported Health Centers: 10 Need-to-Know Tips” (PDF). It provides background, key takeaways, and additional resources for schools interested in establishing partnerships with HRSA-supported health centers.

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NCSI’s Thought Leader Conversation Series: Pursuing Equity at the Intersection of Language, Culture, and Disability Recently Wrapped Up!

The National Center for Systemic Improvement (NCSI) hosted a five-session webinar series on Pursuing Equity at the Intersection of Language, Culture, and Disability focused on elevating equity in opportunity and achievement for students with disabilities or who may have disabilities and who are English learners. Webinar sessions included: foundational session, culturally and linguistically responsive data literacy, authentic engagement of families, schools, and community partners, research informed practice, and systems coherence. All recorded sessions and associated resources and PowerPoint materials can be found at this link.

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COVID-19 Resources

Department of Education

Check the Department's COVID-19 Information and Resources for Schools and School Personnel web page for information and resources, including information and resources from other federal agencies.

OSEP’s IDEA Covid-19 Questions and Answers and Resources

The National Center for Systemic Improvement is the primary source for TA 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.

Get to Know Us Better

Connect with OSEP Online

Want to connect with OSEP? We have many opportunities for you!

Newsletters: Subscribe to the OSEP Update, OSERS Newsletters, Early learning Newsletter and other ED newsletters, journals and updates

Social Media: Find information on the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services’ social media accounts, including Twitter, the OSERS Blog, and YouTube

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Learn More about OSEP

The mission of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) is to lead the nation's efforts to improve outcomes for children with disabilities, birth through 21, and their families, ensuring access to fair, equitable, and high-quality education and services. Our vision is for a world in which individuals with disabilities have unlimited opportunities to learn and to lead purposeful and fulfilling lives.

Visit these sites to learn more about OSEP, State Educational Agencies, and OSEP funded Technical Assistance Centers.

OSEP Home Page: Find the OSEP landing page on the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) website

Federal and State Contacts: Find general overview information about federal and state contacts, including links to state special education departments and state early intervention and early childhood special education programs

IDEA by State: Find your state education agency’s contact information that’s on file with ED and OSEP’s contacts for your state

Resource Centers: Learn about the types of centers funded by ED and OSEP that are relevant to the IDEA

OSEP IDEAs That Work: Find federal resources for stakeholders and grantees

If you have questions or comments, please send them to Dr. Josiah Willey at josiah.willey@ed.gov.

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 Department Education, nor should their inclusion be considered an endorsement of any private organization.

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