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

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OSEP Update

    A Newsletter for OSEP Grantees and Interested Stakeholders

October 2023

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In This Issue:

From the Director

Valerie C. Williams

Message From OSEP Director,
Ms. Valerie C. Williams

Dear Friends!

We had an anniversary celebration last week. Fifty years ago on Sept. 26, 1973, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was signed into law. The Rehabilitation Act was a major legislative milestone in the history of ensuring equity and greater access for Americans with disabilities. 

In Congress’ own words, some of the purposes for passing the Rehabilitation Act include:

  • Develop and implement comprehensive and continuing state plans for meeting the current and future needs for providing vocational rehabilitation services to handicapped individuals and to provide such services for the benefit of such individuals*, serving first those with the most severe handicaps, so that they may prepare for and engage in gainful employment;
  • Initiate and expand services to groups of handicapped individuals (including those who are homebound or institutionalized) who have been underserved in the past.
  • Promote and expand employment opportunities in the public and private sectors for handicapped individuals and to place such individuals in employment;
  • Provide assistance for the purpose of increasing the number of rehabilitation personnel and increasing their skills through training; and
  • Evaluate existing approaches to architectural and transportation barriers confronting handicapped individuals, develop new such approaches, enforce statutory and regulatory standards and requirements regarding barrier-free construction of public facilities and study and develop solutions to existing architectural and transportation barriers impeding handicapped individuals.

Not mentioned within Congress’ purposes was the creation the Rehabilitation Services Administration, our colleagues in OSERS, or the final provision of the Rehabilitation Act, “Nondiscrimination Under Federal Grants,” what we all know as Section 504.

Looking ahead, we need to reaffirm our work that empowers individuals with disabilities to live their lives to the fullest. While the unemployment rate for individuals with disabilities has gone down by nearly 50 percent since 2009 (from 14.5% to 7.6%), only 23% of Americans with disabilities are in the nation’s labor force — compared with 68% of people without a disability. 

One flourishing approach that can play a meaningful role in supporting young adults with disabilities that was not contemplated in 1973 are Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary Programs (CTPs). CTPs are college programs where students with intellectual and other disabilities have the opportunity to extend their education beyond high school in an inclusive post secondary environment. There are 328 programs in 49 states, with New York and Florida leading the way. We need to continue innovating and supporting new ideas. I’m looking forward to highlighting CTPs in our Expect, Engage and Empower: Successful Transitions for All! Initiative.

Happy Anniversary to all!

In solidarity,


*PS — It is important to note how 50 years ago Congress used the term "Handicapped Individual" to denote any individual who: has a physical or mental disability which for such individual constitutes or results in a substantial handicap to employment and can reasonably be expected to benefit in terms of employability from vocational rehabilitation service. Congress used the term “Handicapped” when it passed the predecessor to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), hence Public Law 94-142 was called the Education of the Handicapped Act. We have used the term “child with a disability” since 1990.

Dose of Data: Did You Know?

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New OSEP Fast Facts on Children Identified With Intellectual Disability

OSEP recently released a new OSEP Fast Facts:  Children Identified with Intellectual Disability, which explores Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 618 data. This Fast Fact takes a closer look at data on children whose primary disability is intellectual disability.

Highlights from this Fast Facts:

  • In School Year 2021-22:
    • The percentage of students with disabilities identified with intellectual disability was 6.02%. States reported a range from 2.29% to 14.82% of students with disabilities identified with intellectual disability.
    • Students identified with intellectual disability were more likely to be an English Learner than all students with disabilities (13.16% and 11.8%, respectively).
    • Students identified with intellectual disability were more likely to be served inside a regular class less than 40% of the day than all students with disabilities (47% and 13%, respectively).
    • When compared to all students with disabilities, Black or African American students were more likely to be identified with intellectual disability (25.62% and 17.01%), and white students were less likely to be identified with intellectual disability (37.61% and 45.43%, respectively). 
    • Students identified with intellectual disability, ages 14-21, exiting school were more likely to receive a certificate (34% and 10%, respectively) and less likely to graduate with a regular high school diploma (48% and 75%, respectively) than all students with disabilities.
OSEP Fast Facts - Children Identified with Intellectual Disability

Source: U.S. Department of Education, EDFacts Data Warehouse (EDW): “IDEA Part B Child Count and Educational Environments Collection,” 2021-22. https://data.ed.gov/dataset/71ca7d0c-a161-4abe-9e2b-4e68ffb1061a/resource/22294e78-ff8b-48cf-8f5e-5a84f183ec22/download/bchildcountandedenvironment2021-22.csv.

Note: Percentages do not equal 100% due to not including the counts of children who receive services in a residential facility, homebound/hospital, correctional facility, or are parentally placed in private schools.

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2021 and 2022 State IDEA Data Displays

OSEP is excited to release the 2021 and 2022 State Part B Data Displays and the Part C and Part B 619 Data Displays. The data displays are used to provide a clear, quick, and accurate snapshot of each state’s/entity’s education data regarding children served under the IDEA.

IDEA Part B Data Displays present annual data related to children with disabilities, ages 3 through 21, based on data from various sources including IDEA Section 618 data, IDEA Annual Performance Report data, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) data, Census data, Common Core Data, and Consolidated State Performance Report data.

IDEA Part C and Part B 619 Data Displays present annual data related to infants, toddlers, and children with disabilities, birth through age 5, based on data from various sources including IDEA Section 618 data, IDEA Annual Performance Report data, and Census data.

The data displays can be accessed at the following webpages:

Please visit OSEP’s page on the U.S. Department of Education’s Open Data Platform to find future releases of the data displays.

Expect, Engage and Empower: Successful Transitions for All!

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Save The Date!

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) will host the first session for the 2023-2024 OSERS Symposium Series, Belonging: Building and Sustaining Environments that Support High Expectations, Engagement, and Empowerment for All!, virtually on Oct. 25, 1-2:30 p.m. ET

About the Event

The 2023-2024 OSERS Symposia Series will provide an opportunity for the field to join OSERS in the challenge to raise expectations, engage families earlier, and fully empower all individuals who support transition services to improve postschool outcomes for children and youth with disabilities and their families. OSERS believes that education and vocational rehabilitation services can work seamlessly to deliver high-quality transition programming that will prepare youth with disabilities for lifelong success. Such effective delivery under IDEA and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) relies on purposeful collaboration between educators, vocational rehabilitation professionals, service providers, and especially youth and families.

Watch the kickoff event for the Expect, Engage, Empower initiative.

The first session in this series will focus on the importance of building a sense of belonging for children, youth, and young adults with disabilities in school, college, and workplace settings. If you haven’t already, click the button below to register. 

Register Here

Additional updates on important resources, events, and information will be posted on OSEP’s Expect, Engage, Empower: Successful Transition for All homepage.


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


Technical Assistance 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 Work website.

The OSEP Monthly TA Calls generally occur on the second and/or fourth Thursdays of the month at 4 p.m. ET. Please check the OSEP Monthly TA call for the schedule of topics and registration links.

We plan to cover the topics of General Supervision and the Differentiated Monitoring and Support process during the October calls.

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State Performance Plans / Annual Performance Reports 

State leaders with active EDFacts Metadata and Process System (EMAPS) accounts should have received an email from edfacts@ed.gov regarding Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) login guidance for the upcoming SPP/APR submission period. Part B State Directors and Part C Coordinators must ensure that staff who have access to the APR Tool complete the required Login.gov account set up prior to Oct. 27.

If you have already established a Login.gov account in order to access EDPass, no further action is required (as long as the email address with which you’re receiving this communication is the same as the Login.gov account).

Refer to the EMAPS ED Facts’ email for additional guidance or reach out to the Partner Support Center at: edfacts@ed.gov or 877-457-3336 (877-HLP-EDEN).

IDEA Part B SPP/APR Comment Period

The Information Collection on the IDEA Part B SPP/APR is out for the 30-day comment period, which ends on Oct. 13. Please refer the Federal Register if you would like to submit comments.

2023 SPP/APR Letters

The 2023 SPP/APR letters and DOCX files are posted on the IDEA Website.

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IDEA Part B/C Grants

The Part C Grant Application package expires on Dec. 31. The new package materials were entered into the Federal Register for the start of the 60-day Public Comment period on September 28, 2023, until November 27, 2023. Updates were made to Section III (Use of Funds) to incorporate the guidance provided in the FFY 2023 Part C Grant Memo regarding how to account for proposed expenditures under Section III C (Direct Services). In addition, a question has been added to Section III F (Totals) regarding subgranting of IDEA funds. OSEP will notify states when the updated Part C grant package enters the Federal Register. We look forward to receiving your feedback during the public comment period.

The 2023 Grant Award Letters are posted on our website.

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Differentiated Monitoring and Support 

OSEP monitors all IDEA Part C and B programs through its Differentiated Monitoring and Support 2.0 system (DMS 2.0). DMS 2.0 is a cyclical monitoring process that focuses on states’ general supervision systems. OSEP will be announcing the engagement months for those states in Cohort 3 and those states that will be in Cohort 4 in October.

To review monitoring reports, resources, and other support 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.

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Information Collections

The following information collections are out for public comment in the Federal Register. Please refer to the respective links to make comments regarding each collection.

  1. IDEA Part B SPP/APR
    (1820-0624) closes on Oct.13.
  2. State and EIS Record Keeping and Reporting Requirements under Part C
    (1820-0682) closes on Nov. 13.
  3. Annual State Application Under Part C of the IDEA of 2004
    (1820-0550) closes on Nov. 27.

ED Updates

Waiver Requests for the 1.0 Percent Cap on Participation in the Alternate Assessment Aligned with Alternate Academic Achievement Standards for School Year 2023–24 Assessment Administration

On Sept. 20, the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) and the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) jointly issued a memo regarding the submission of waiver requests for the 1.0 percent cap on participation in the alternate assessment aligned with alternate academic achievement standards (AA-AAAS) for school year 2023-24 assessment administration. With the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015, which amended the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), a state may not assess more than 1.0 percent of students with an AA-AAAS in the grades assessed.

Timeline to Apply

A state’s request for a waiver of the 1.0 percent cap requirement, whether new or an extension, must be submitted 90 days before the beginning of the State’s AA-AAAS testing window. If a state is interested in submitting a waiver request, the Department encourages the state to submit the request as soon as possible. If a state does not have all the required information, it should still submit its waiver request to meet the 90-day requirement. However, the Department is unable to fully evaluate and provide a response to the waiver request until all the required information has been provided.  

Should you have questions, contact the OESE Assessment team at: ESEA.Assessment@ed.gov.

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ED Games Expo

The U.S. Department of Education held its 9th annual ED Games Expo, Sept. 19-22. The annual event showcased game-changing education technology (EdTech) created through more than 50 programs, including those presented as part of the Special Education & Technology Showcase.

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Research Highlights From the National Center for Special Education Research

The Institute for Education Science’s (IES) National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) funds research designed to expand knowledge and understanding of learners with and at risk for disabilities, from infancy through postsecondary settings.

Spotlight on FY 2023 Early Career Development Grant Awardees: Supporting Latine Transborder Caregivers and Their Young Children with or at Risk for Autism presents an interview with Dr. Ana Dueñas on her background, how she began this line of research, the unique challenges and needs of this study population, and the impact she hopes her research will have on society.

Behavior and School Discipline for Students with Disabilities highlights NCSER-funded research that aims to alleviate the behavior challenges leading to exclusionary disciplinary practices, which often disproportionately impact students with disabilities.

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Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act

Sept. 26 marked the 50th anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The Department’s Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), in conjunction with other partners, released the following to commemorate the event:

50th Anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act

News From Our Centers

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The Updated AEM Glossary Has Arrived!

Need some assistance in breaking down key terms aligned with accessible educational materials (AEM)? The national center on AEM announced that the AEM glossary, which provides definitions of key terms, has been updated. Consider bookmarking and/or downloading this resource! 

It is intended to be used as a reference by a general audience. Have a recommended term and definition for the AEM Glossary? Contact AEM at aem@cast.org.

National Center on AEM: resource alert! AEM Glossary
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CITES 2.0 Launches October 2023

Center on Inclusive Technology & Education Systems (CITES) is pleased to share that in Oct. 2023, the Center's next five-year round of funding launches and continues through 2028. CITES 2.0 will extend the existing Center’s work to provide state-aligned, intensive technical assistance support to four local educational agencies (LEAs) within two states (two LEAs in each state). As part of the work, CITES will leverage Active Implementation Frameworks to support sustained and scalable systems change tools to ensure alignment with state-adopted frameworks, such as Multi-Tiered System of Supports or Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, as well as state accountability systems.

Reach out to the CITES team with questions at cites@cast.org

Deficit Narratives: How We Can Change Our Perspective

Deficit narratives imply that the children, not the schools or programs, need to change in order to improve outcomes and experiences. So, how can we turn those statements around to place the responsibility on schools and programs to ensure equitable outcomes for all children, regardless of their identity characteristics, geographic location, socioeconomic status, or any other label? Read DaSy’s latest blog post Deficit Narratives: How We Can Change Our Perspective to learn about small steps on changing the perspective from a deficit narrative to a systems narrative.

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Resources for Families of Children
Who Are Deafblind

Key Topics for Families on the National Center on Deaf-Blindness website have tips, strategies, and supports that families of children who are deafblind can use to help them navigate their child's services and their family's everyday life. The topics are arranged by categories that include early intervention, educational services, learning at home, and transition.

A boy is pushing his younger brother who is deafblind in a wheelchair. They are outside and both are smiling broadly.

Personnel Development Resources

Take a Seat at the Table: The Role of Educator Preparation Programs in Teacher Apprenticeship Programs

Educator preparation programs (EPPs) have an opportunity to strengthen existing district partnerships and lead the way in co-designing teacher Registered Apprenticeship Programs (RAPs), including the launch, operation, and continuous improvement of programs.

This webinar will expand upon the report Take a Seat at the Table: The Role of Educator Preparation Programs in Teacher Apprenticeship Programs. In the webinar, the American Institute for Research will provide concrete strategies and examples of the role that EPPs can play in teacher RAPs, drawing on National Guideline Standards that were developed by the Pathways Alliance and recently published by the U.S. Department of Labor. Leaders from Ball State University and Missouri State University will share their experiences with designing, implementing, and funding teacher RAPs. 

To join this webinar, complete the registration form. Participation in the webinar is free, and additional colleagues are welcome!

Take a Seat at the Table: The Role of Educator Preparation Programs in Teacher Apprenticeship Programs

Showcasing Implementation in Action

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Coaching in Early Intervention

Early childhood coaching is a training and professional development strategy to support teachers and other professionals who work directly with young children and their families. The University of Nebraska’s Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and Schools is promoting evidence-based practices among early intervention coaches, which improve infant and toddler outcomes.

Visit their webpage to read more or watch their two-minute video.

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EdTech for All: Video Series 

In Tennessee an initiative called Teaching All Students is focused on increasing access to content and career readiness instruction to all students, particularly those with complex and cognitive disabilities. Teams that include a school administrator, district special education director, general education teacher, and special education teacher participate in shared training.

As a part of the training, school teams identify work streams, actions, and beliefs foundational to achieving their goals. The teams then commit to planning and scheduling identified actions first.

Read more about their project here.

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 X (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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