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

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OSEP Update

    A Newsletter for OSEP Grantees and Interested Stakeholders

August 2023

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In This Issue:

From the Director

Valerie C. Williams

Message From OSEP Director,
Ms. Valerie C. Williams

Dear Friends!

It was wonderful to see many of you during our Leadership and Project Directors’ Conference. How amazing it was to host 1,800+ participants all committed to improving outcomes and results for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.  A big shout out to our OSEP staff who coordinated the conference including Richelle Davis, Kristen Rhoads, Darcalyn Darling, Diana Yu, and Medo Soliman. I’m so appreciative of their efforts—designing and overseeing a major conference is just a small part of their very large work portfolio. Thank you. 

Another major accomplishment that occurred in July was our issuance of new General Supervision guidance. To be clear, compliance is a tool in the toolbox which helps achieve improved outcomes for our children, the goal to which we are all moving toward. Compliance is not a goal in and of itself, but the foundation on which everything is built. Let’s move away from the mindset that we’re working on one or the other. We can in fact, do both. This release is a continuation of our efforts to provide comprehensive guidance on a wide range of topics related to early intervention and special education, including issues related to individualized education programs and early intervention services, IDEA’s discipline provsions, and best practices to support children with disabilities. As always, it takes a lot of effort to issue comprehensive guidance. I want to especially thank Kate Moran for her work in taking the lead in writing the general supervision guidance and shepparding it through the Department’s review process. 

The term ”general supervision” has been in IDEA and its predecessors since passage of Public Law 94-142 in 1975. Congress wrote ”The State educational agency shall be responsible for assuring that the requirements of this part are carried out.” When it comes to general supervision, I like the use of both ”assure” and IDEA’s current use of the term ”ensure.” Looking at definitions of both terms, assuring conveys a level of confidence and explaining that an action or event is accurate, while ensuring conveys a certainty.

For almost 20 years, OSEP has visualized the components of general supervision as a puzzle. I also recognize that implementing the general supervision components is akin to playing three-dimensional chess; thus, now more than ever, we need to do more assuring that lead agencies and State educational agencies will have robust general supervisions systems that can demonstrate compliance with IDEA while also improving outcomes and results for our infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities. We need to explain the importance of completing early childhood transition activities so our preschoolers can start receiving special education services by their third birthday, which in turn leads to a child being ready for kindergarten. We also need to work with school principals in stressing the importance of developing well written IEPs and implementing them, so general education and special education teachers can provide specially designed instruction and improve academic results. Finally, IEP Teams, (including our vocational rehabilitation partners), must develop sufficiently robust transition services so our youth with disabilities can be fulfilled, successful members of our society. 

Our staff and technical assistance centers stand ready to support you in your efforts to evaluate your needs and make changes where necessary.

I hope you’ll take the time to read the guidance, participate in our implementation activities, and partner with us and we move forward in service to students with disabilities. 

In solidarity,



Dose of Data: Did You Know?

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From 2018–19 to 2020–21, there was an approximate 6 percentage point decrease in the percent of infants and toddlers who were determined to be eligible for part B services when they exited part C. Additionally, there was an approximate 5 percentage point increase in the percent of children in Part C who reached their third birthday, and their part B eligibility was not determined during the reporting period.

Chart demonstrates the percent of infants and toddlers exiting part C across three years 2018-19 to 2020-21.

To further explore this data, please see IDEA Section 618 Data Collected on Children with Disabilities Served under IDEA, Part C During the Time of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

New OSEP Fast Facts

The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) released two new OSEP Fast Facts that take a closer look at the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Section 618 data submitted for school year (SY) 2020–21 and fall 2021: 

The part C infographic looks at data related to infants and toddlers, birth through age 2, with disabilities, and the part B infographic looks at data related to children and youth, ages 3 through 21, with disabilities. In these infographics, OSEP highlights examples of state-submitted data notes that reference the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on these data collections.   

IDEA Part C EMAPS Child Count and Settings Data Tool

The IDEA Part C Child Count and Setting Data Tool, developed by DaSy, is designed to assist IDEA Part C Data Managers and other users of the EDFacts Metadata and Process System (EMAPS). The tool ensures the accuracy of IDEA Part C Child Count and Settings data before official submission. The Part C Child Count and Setting Data Tool allows the state to enter its data and have any errors flagged. Corrections can then be made before data entry and submission in EMAPS. The intended audience for this tool is Part C data managers and coordinators, plus other users of EMAPS.


Expect, Engage and Empower: Successful Transitions for All!

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The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) initiative to improve postsecondary outcomes for students with disabilities: Expect, Engage and Empower: Successful Transitions for All! is currently planning a fall 2023 symposium. The event will continue to focus on challenging the field in joining OSERS 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.

We will announce the event, date, and details as soon as that information is available. That information will be available at OSEP’s Expect, Engage, Empower: Successful Transition for All.


If you have any questions, contact the planning team at OSEP-EEE@air.org.  

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New Practitioner Resources from IRIS are Available at the Expect, Engage, Empower Website

Secondary Transition: Helping Students with Disabilities Plan for Post-High School Settings

This self-paced module focuses on the transition process from high school to post-secondary settings. Among other topics, it discusses IEP planning, engaging students in the process to become better advocates for their own needs, and partnering with outside agencies such as vocational rehabilitation.

Secondary Transition: Student-Centered Transition Planning 

This self-paced module helps users better understand the benefits of student-centered transition planning, identify ways to involve students in collecting assessment information and developing goals, and be better able to prepare students to actively participate in their own IEP meetings.

Secondary Transition: Interagency Collaboration

This self-paced module defines and discusses the purpose of interagency collaboration and addresses the importance of partnering with agencies to improve outcomes for students with disabilities who are transitioning from high school.

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Smart Beginnings Transition Sessions

In the meantime, consider joining OSEP for three days of Smart Beginnings 2023 this month to learn about resources for supporting children with disabilities as we head into a new learning year.

Each day will focus on a specific audience, but participants are encouraged to attend sessions outside of their roles as the content presented will vary. While Smart Beginnings is not a transition-specific event, there will be transition-related sessions over the course of the three days.

Aug. 15, 2023
Educators and Administrators


Aug. 16, 2023
Parents and Families


Aug. 17, 2023
Early Childhood


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"Our Future Matters: Informing the Federal Interagency Strategy" National Online Dialogue

OSEP and the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy invite you to participate in the "Our Future Matters: Informing the Federal Interagency Strategy" national online dialogue. This important virtual conversation aims to enhance policies and practices to facilitate a smooth transition to adulthood for youth with disabilities.

Through the dialogue, we will seek input on ways to enhance services for youth and young adults with disabilities in the following areas:

  • Education
  • Employment
  • Health and Human Services
  • Social Security

You can join this important conversation by visiting the dialogue now through Aug. 14. Simply log on, register, submit your ideas, or comment and vote on ideas submitted by others.

We hope you’ll participate and spread the word about this important opportunity to shape the future of transition services for youth with disabilities. Thanks for considering, and we look forward to hearing from you!

ED Updates

OSEP Releases Updated Guidance on State General Supervision Responsibilities under Parts B and C of the IDEA

On July 24, 2023, OSEP released a Dear Colleague Letter and Guidance on State General Supervision Responsibilities under Parts B and C of the IDEAThis guidance is a component of OSEP’s Results Driven Accountability system, emphasizing improved outcomes for infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities. OSEP is committed to supporting states in improving educational results and functional outcomes for all children with disabilities and enhancing the development of infants and toddlers with disabilities.

A robust general supervision system is necessary to ensure full implementation of IDEA. A state’s investment in establishing and implementing a comprehensive general supervision system should result in infants and toddlers having access to developmental opportunities and children with disabilities receiving appropriate education services that are necessary to prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living.

OSEP appreciates states’ efforts to improve early childhood, educational, and employment outcomes and to raise expectations for all people with disabilities, their families, their communities, and the nation.

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Join OSEP for Smart Beginnings 2023, Aug. 15–17, 3 p.m. EDT Each Day

Smart Beginnings 2023 is designed to help families, providers, and leaders better support and promote developmental outcomes and educational excellence for infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities.

During the virtual mini-conference, OSEP leaders and content experts will highlight action-oriented resources and evidence-based practices. Each session will address a different audience, but OSEP encourages participants to attend sessions outside of their roles as the content presented will vary.

Participants are eligible to earn continuing education units (CEUs).

Register now and learn more about the sessions and CEUs.

OSEP IDEAs That Work. Smart Beginnings 2023. Aug. 15-17
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Guiding Principles for Creating Safe, Inclusive, Supportive, and Fair School Climates

The Department’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) and its Safe and Supportive Schools’ technical assistance centers released a series of fact sheets on how school leaders and communities may support students’ social, emotional, behavioral, and academic well-being and success. The fact sheets highlight the important role student support teams (SSTs) can play in developing and enacting effective support for students and ensuring that teachers also have the skills and support needed.

The technical assistance centers will host webinars on the resource and fact sheets:

  • Introduction to the Department’s “Guiding Principles for Creating Safe, Inclusive, Supportive, and Fair School Climates” (Aug. 9, 3 p.m. Eastern Time)
  • Strategies for School and District Leaders (Aug. 23, 3 p.m. ET)
  • Strategies for Schools to Enhance Relationships with Families (Sept. 20, 3 p.m. ET)
  • Strategies for Educators and School-Based Staff (Oct. 4, 3 p.m. ET)
  • Strategies for Student and Teacher Support Teams (Oct. 18, 3 p.m. ET)


News From Our Centers

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The AEM Café is Ready to Serve!

Mark your calendars for the grand “reopening” of the AEM Café on Thursday, Sept. 14, as we kick off the new year with the “blend” (topic) of the month on Artificial Intelligence (AI). Meet CAST’s team of friendly Technical Assistance (TA) Specialists as they engage in lively discussions on topics surrounding accessibility. Whether you need fresh ideas, are struggling with a challenge, or are eager to share your ideas, we’ve got you covered! Please join us on the first Thursday of every month, 1 p.m. PT/4 p.m. ET. Reach out to the AEM Center team at aem@cast.org with any questions on how to get started!

Grab a cup of TA at the AEM cafe

Making Sound Preschool LRE Decisions Guidance Document

The Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA) has developed the Making Sound Preschool LRE Decisions guidance webpage, which lists important actions in the IEP process that inform placement decisions. Organized by important actions within the IEP process, Making Sound Preschool LRE Decisions references corresponding IDEA rules and regulations to each action.

Listed within each action is a guiding principle followed by additional guidance and resources. Most of the principles in the document are from ECTA’s Center's Key Principles and Key Practices Underlying the IEP Process. States and local programs can adapt this document by adding their own strategies, resources, and guidance.

Although Making Sound Preschool LRE Decisions doesn’t represent all requirements of IEP development, it does focus on key actions for making a sound IEP placement decision. Those key areas encourage:

  • Discussing the guiding principles that should drive the team's decision-making process within the IEP process context.
  • Sharing barriers that impact the team's ability to implement the guiding principles.
  • Providing solutions and resources to address the barriers to high-quality inclusive opportunities.
A woman reading to two children..
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New Module: Early Intervention for Children Who Are Deafblind

The National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB) has just released ”Early Intervention for Children Who Are Deafblind,” the second module in the series Teaching Children Who Are Deafblind: Professional Development for Educators. The module provides much-needed practical information that’s essential for working with infants and toddlers. It can be incorporated into professional training platforms and accessed free on the NCDB website. Please share this important new training resource with educators and colleagues in your state. See the module trailer for a quick overview.

A female toddler who is deafblind sits on the floor with her mom and another adult female. The toddler holds a colorful ball near her face.
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State Partners Announced

The National Center on Inclusion Toward Rightful Presence announces the selection of model demonstration site partners for the next four years. Delaware Department of Education, New Mexico Public Education Department, Orange County Department of Education on behalf of the California Department of Education, and Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction will each select two districts and eight schools to join in the deep and meaningful work to change their system of support for students with intensive cognitive needs to ensure effective instructional support within general education that will not only change student outcomes, but also provide lasting systems for those learners who come next.


Showcasing Implementation in Action

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New Inclusive Technology Leadership Resources

Check out the Center on Inclusive Technology & Education Systems (CITES) updated district inclusive technology leadership practices. The CITES Framework development includes a process of evidence review and refinement based on current research and understanding gained from the project’s Framework Development Districts. The Leadership practices and action steps were updated in June and as part of that process, the Leadership Self-Assessment was also updated to an innovation configuration format. Be sure to check out the new tools and reach out to the CITES team with questions at cites@cast.org

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Ed Tech for All: Webinar Series

Office of Educational Technology is partnering with OSEP to host a series of webinars for educators and families/caregivers to highlight free/low-cost, evidence-based accessible ed tech tools. Two new webinars will be available during the month of August.

On 8/3, Bookshare described their FREE repository for accessible education Materials for students with print disabilities. 

On 8/29, STEMIE will share resources to help families and other caregivers learn why STEM concepts are important, what children are learning, and tips on how to guide children. They have a FREE downloadable app too! Here is the registration link.

The recording of the webinars will be available on OET's YouTube and OET’s Website.


In Case You Missed It

OSERS Staff Honor Judy Huemann’s Legacy

Judy Heumann, disability rights leader and former OSERS assistant secretary, left an impact on many laws that improve the lives of individuals with disabilities — including the Americans with Disabilities Act signed into law 33 years ago.

OSERS staff reflect on Judy's legacy in a video tribute.

Remembering Judy Huemann. Image of Judy Huemann.
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Students and Teachers Honored More Than 70 Years Later

Twenty-three Black deaf students and four Black deaf teachers from Kendall School Division II, a segregated elementary school on Gallaudet University’s campus from 1952–54, were honored at a ceremony July 22.

The students received or posthumously received diplomas from Gallaudet’s Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center.

The OSERS has oversight responsibility for Gallaudet University and three other special institutions.

Eighteen people pose outside in graduation caps and gowns. There is an image of a Gallaudet Proclamation on poster board.
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Disability pride month logo

Disability Pride Month

July was Disability Pride Month, and in celebration, OSERS highlighted work being done in the field of special education that celebrates disability pride and promotes positive disability identity for students.

Check out two OSEP interns’ Disability Pride Month blogs.


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 OSERS’ social media accounts, including Twitter, the OSERS Blog, and YouTube.
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Learn More about OSEP

OSEP is leading the nation's efforts to improve outcomes for children with disabilities from birth through age 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 lead purposeful and fulfilling lives.

Visit these sites to learn more about OSEP, state educational agencies (SEAs), and OSEP-funded TA Centers.

  • OSEP Home Page: Find the OSEP landing page on the 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 educational agency’s contact information 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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