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

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OSEP Update

    A Newsletter for OSEP Grantees and Interested Stakeholders

April 2023

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In This Issue:

From the Director

Valerie C. Williams

Message from OSEP Director,
Ms. Valerie C. Williams

Dear friends,

April is the Month of the Military Child — a time to honor the sacrifices made by military families, and specifically the dependent children of military members. The Department recognizes the challenges that military families face as they transition between States, public schools and Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA) schools with each permanent change of duty station move.

The Joining Forces initiative, started by both First Lady Jill Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama during the Obama Administration, has the mission to support those who also serve, military and veteran families, caregivers, and survivors. First Lady Biden has been visiting with military families and schools, including a trip to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base last week. To further support the Joining Forces initiative, ED’s goal is to support the educational needs of military connected children. The Department also shares critical core values with the Military Interstate Children's Compact Commission (MIC3), which addresses key educational transition issues encountered by military families including enrollment, placement, attendance, eligibility and graduation.

In February 2022, Secretary Cardona issued a letter to all Chief State School Officers urging them to move toward full implementation of the Compact through very specific crucial action steps. Then in November of last year, OSERS issued a Letter to State Directors of Special Education on Ensuring a High-Quality Education for Highly Mobile Children, which includes military-connected children. This letter and list of resources provides guidance and describes several important principles that states, school districts, school staff, parents, families, and others may find helpful in ensuring that highly mobile children with disabilities receive required special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs in a timely manner. Specifically, it addresses the provision of timely and expedited evaluations and eligibility determinations, and comparable services on IEPs, which include services during the summer, such as Extended School Year (ESY) services.

Most recently, as part of our commitment to partner with the Department of Defense and the Department of Defense Education Activity, we convened a listening session on Wednesday, March 29, 2023, with military parents of children with disabilities to hear firsthand the successes and challenges they’ve faced in their moves, as well as their suggestions for changes to make the transitions smoother. The Office of Special Education Programs is committed to ensuring the provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act that military connected children with disabilities are entitled to are actualized and make those transitions from one school to another as smooth and seamless as possible.

In solidarity,



Dose of Data: Did You Know

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Did you know?

The number of total disciplinary removals by children with disabilities, ages 3 through 21, receiving services under Part B of IDEA in the US, Outlying Areas, and Freely Associated States decreased by almost 73% from 2,138,492 in 2018-19 to 579,091 in 2020-21.

Note: The extraordinary circumstances created by the novel Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic resulted in school closures that began in March of 2020. Many states attribute the decrease in disciplinary removals to factors related to the pandemic. For state-reported explanations of the changes in the number of total disciplinary removals, please refer to the SY 202021 IDEA Part B Discipline Data Notes.

SY 2020–21 IDEA Part B Discipline Data Graph

Source: U.S. Department of Education, EDFacts Data Warehouse (EDW): "IDEA Part B Discipline Collection," 2011–2020. https://www2.ed.gov/programs/osepidea/618-data/state-level-data-files/index.html. Children and students may be subject to multiple removals. Data were not reported or were suppressed for the following years and States/ Entities: SY 2012–13: Bureau of Indian Education, Wyoming, SY 2013–14: American Samoa, SY 2015–16: Illinois, SY 2016–17: District of Columbia, Florida, Rhode Island, Wyoming, SY 2017-18: Montana, Vermont, SY 2018–19: Iowa, SY 2020–21: Louisiana.

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Release of the 2020–21/ 2021 IDEA Section 618 Data

OSEP is excited to announce the release of 10 new IDEA Section 618 data files on ED’s Open Data Platform. For ease of navigation, please refer to OSEP’s IDEA Section 618 Data Products website (http://www2.ed.gov/programs/osepidea/618-data/state-level-data-files/index.html), to access the new data files:

  • SY 2020–21 Part B Assessment
  • SY 2021–22 Part B Child Count and Educational Environments
  • SY 2020–21 Part B Discipline
  • SY 2020–21 Part B Dispute Resolution
  • SY 2020–21 Part B Exiting
  • FFY 2020/ SY 2020–21 LEA MOE Reduction and CEIS
  • SY 2020–21 Part B Personnel
  • 2021–22 Part C Child Count and Settings
  • 2020–21 Part C Dispute Resolution
  • 2020–21 Part C Exiting

Additionally, OSEP has released static tables associated with these data files (http://www2.ed.gov/programs/osepidea/618-data/static-tables/index.html). These static tables provide commonly used percentages associated with the IDEA Section 618 data.

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.

Additional information will be shared in the upcoming weeks

Updates from Our Partners

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Equity-Driven Strategies for Addressing Chronic Absence: Data-Driven School Attendance Teams

Join the Western Educational Equity Assistance Center (WEEAC) at WestEd on April 3, 2023, from 2:003:30pm PT for the third session in a six-part webinar series Equity-Driven Strategies for Addressing Chronic Absence. Click here to register and to access session objectives.

Please note: Each person on your team will need to register. Once registered, you will see an icon on the confirmation page, prompting you to add the invite to your calendar.

News from Our Centers


New Equity Planning Tools for Early Childhood Implementation Snapshots

Four components of the Early Childhood Implementation (ECI) Snapshots have been updated with specific equity planning tools. The ECI Snapshots highlight helpful resources for early childhood system leaders and other professionals who provide implementation support for systems and programs using evidence-based practices to improve child and family outcomes. Snapshots updated with equity planning tools are: Statewide Leadership Team; Professional Development Network of Program Implementation Coaches; Implementation Sites and Demonstration Sites; and Data and Evaluation Systems. The Snapshots were developed by the Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center and the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI).

The Autism Focused Intervention Resources and Modules (AFIRM)

A Prompting for Toddlers module, developed by Autism Focused Intervention Resources and Modules (AFIRM) for Toddlers, in collaboration with the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA), is available. Prompting procedures are the verbal, gestural, and/or physical assistance given to learners to help them in acquiring or engaging in a targeted behavior or skill. Specifically designed for early interventionists working with families and early care providers, AFIRM for Toddlers currently has four other modules: Naturalistic Intervention for Toddlers in the Childcare Settings; Parent-Implemented Intervention; Reinforcement for Toddlers; and Visual Supports for Toddlers. Users will need to sign up to access the free modules.

A mother holding toddler on lap at a table while prompting child to pick up an object
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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. We share a report below on an issue related to special education.

Educational Diagnostician Promotes Knowledge of IES-Supported Research on Measurement and Interventions for Learning Disabilities features an interview with Nazzie Pater-Rov on the evolving nature of learning disability (LD) identification procedures and policies, her efforts to share the latest research on LD identification and intervention with a broad audience of practitioners, and her thoughts on systemic reform in this field.

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2021 National Deaf-Blind Child Count Report

The annual National Deaf-Blind Child Count Report provides demographic and other information on children who are deaf-blind including the types and severity of vision and hearing loss, causes of deaf-blindness, prevalence of additional disabilities, and educational setting. The information is collected by state deaf-blind projects and compiled by the National Center on Deaf-Blindness. It is used to inform technical assistance, personnel preparation, scholarship, and research.

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New Resources from OSEP’s Accessible IDEA Data Center

The Rhonda Weiss Center for Accessible IDEA Data, OSEP’s newest technical assistance data center, is pleased to announce the launch of the official website, WeissTA.org. This center commemorates Rhonda Weiss, a long-time U.S. Department of Education attorney and disability advocate with a visual impairment of her own, who passed in October 2021.

Visit the website for more information about Rhonda Weiss and how the Weiss Center, through comprehensive technical assistance (TA) supports and the development of an open-source, accessible software solution, will improve state capacity under IDEA Part B and Part C to provide individuals with disabilities equitable access to IDEA data. To learn more about the Weiss Center and stay abreast of developments, including new tools, webinars, TA opportunities, and more, check out the Weiss Center’s LinkedIn Page, prerecorded webinar, An Introduction to the Rhonda Weiss Center, and subscribe to the Quarterly Newsletter.

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Showcasing Implementation in Action


Engaging Families in the Digital Learning Process

The Center on Inclusive Technology & Education Systems (CITES) is pleased to share the release of new resources to support family engagement in the digital learning process. After an extensive knowledge development process including a Family Engagement Literature Review and data collection via surveys, focus groups and district interviews, CITES published district leadership practices to support family engagement. These practices highlight how engagement with families supports the development of an inclusive education ecosystem aligned to the CITES practices leadership, infrastructure, teaching, learning and assessment. Examples include parents/guardians joining school teams to move the needle in collaborative planning and putting the student first to ensure equitable access to all learning materials. Recently, CITES provided an overview for the OSEP funded of the Family Practices for the Center for Parent and Information Resources (CPIR) members. Access the CPIR webinar and feel free to reach out to the CITES team with questions at cites@cast.org.

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Florida Project Makes a Big Impact in School Participation and Adolescent Reading

The Florida State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG) supports Check and Connect implementation. In schools at the initial to full implementation stages of Check and Connect, 85% of students with disabilities showed progress or met the target for attendance. This was 15% greater than the target set.

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Additionally, the Florida SPDG supports the Strategic Instruction Model (SIM). In schools at the initial or full implementation stages of SIM, 90% of students who participated in the reading intervention showed progress or met the grade-level reading target. This was 20% greater than the target set.

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Together, these data represent impact for more than 1300 students.

In Case You Missed It


NCSI’s General Soup Podcast—New Episode Released!—Integrating Fiscal and Program Planning

Episode 5 of the General Soup Podcast features Bryan Klimkiewicz and Tom Boudreau from the Connecticut Department of Education talking about their efforts to better integrate fiscal and program planning with NCSI’s podcast hosts Sara Doutre and Susan Hayes. They discuss how Bryan and Tom’s leadership in this work ensures that fiscal investments are responsive to student needs and create sustainable supports, including Connecticut’s Sustainable Supports Summit and how challenges and new investments related to the COVID 19 pandemic changed their approach to resources. Look for this at more episodes available as “The General Soup Podcast” with your favorite podcast provider or listen here.

The General Soup Podcast

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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