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OSEP's January 2021 Update: Attract, Prepare, Retain Initiative | Proposed Guidance | Differentiated Monitoring and Support | Engage With Us

January 2021 OSEP Update

In This Issue:

Inside OSEP: Laurie's Letter

Message From Director Laurie VanderPloeg


Laurie VanderPloeg official portrait

Hello, Stakeholders.


On November 5, 2018 I had the distinct honor and privilege to open my office door as the new director of the Office of Special Education Programs. My life changed that day as I took on that new noble servant leader role. I never anticipated the excitement, the unpredictable and overwhelming challenges and the rewards and fulfillment I would feel. It surpassed any expectation I had. I am so proud of what we have accomplished, the relationships that were built, the partnerships, and the collective vision to improve the opportunities and outcomes for our infants, toddlers, children, youth with disabilities and their families.


I now finish this chapter in our OSEP history book. As I close my office door, I leave with real pride and appreciation for the opportunity to serve our children and families across the nation. Leaving is never easy, but I take great comfort in knowing that our great work will carry on through the efforts of an exemplary group of professionals—my OSEP team.

I would like to thank you and express my sincere appreciation for the warm reception, the ongoing support and words of encouragement I received from all of you. This is not a goodbye message but one until our paths cross again. Stay strong and stay healthy!


Warm Wishes,




Attract, Prepare, Retain Initiative

Attract Prepare Retain logo

The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) released 13 leverage briefs to address State and local efforts to enhance their strategies to attract, prepare, and retain effective personnel to serve children with disabilities, including personnel in K–12, early childhood, and related services. The briefs are designed to accompany the ongoing comprehensive efforts to craft effective solutions to this nationwide challenge. The briefs highlight strategies that emerged as key leverage points throughout OSEP’s 2-year focus on improving comprehensive efforts of States and locals to address the pipeline of attracting, preparing, and retaining effective personnel. The introduction provides resources and links to all the activities over the past 2 years. The briefs highlight leverage points across the following three critical areas:


  • Alternative Routes to Certification
  • Changing Public Perception
  • Funding and Loan Forgiveness
  • Grow Your Own Programs


  • Micro-credentials
  • Practice-Based Opportunities
  • Residencies
  • Simulations


  • Enhancing Professional Leadership
  • Induction and Mentorship
  • Ongoing Professional Learning
  • Educator Empowerment
  • Supportive Workplace Environments

The briefs and other resources can be found here.


Proposed Guidance

Proposed Guidance

Questions and Answers on Serving Children with Disabilities Placed by Their Parents in Private Schools

OSEP is pleased to announce that the updated Questions and Answers on Serving Children with Disabilities Placed by Their Parents in Private Schools is posted as proposed guidance until January 21, 2021.


Federal COVID-19 Resources

Department of Education Logo

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


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


ESSER II Fact Sheet

Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE)

The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSA) and Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER II Fund)

The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSA), was signed into law on December 27, 2020 and provides an additional $54.3 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER II Fund). ESSER II Fund awards to SEAs are in the same proportion as each State received funds under Part A of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended, in fiscal year 2020. This ESSER II Fact Sheet outlines the primary differences between ESSER Fund under the CARES Act enacted on March 27, 2020, and the ESSER II Fund under the CRRSA, Public Law 116-260 enacted on December 27, 2020. This CRRSA ESSER II Methodology and Allocation Table  shows State allocations for the ESSER II Fund. These allocations are based on the proportion of funds that each State received under Part A of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 in fiscal year 2020.


USDA Fact Sheet

New Fact Sheet on Federal School Meal Programs

Due to the novel Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) granted nationwide waivers (USDA waivers) through June 30, 2021, to support access to nutritious meals while minimizing potential exposure to COVID-19. On January 4, 2021, the Department published the Fact Sheet, “State-Administered Programs under the ESEA and the Nationwide Waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to Allow Meal Pattern Flexibility in the Summer Food Service Program and the National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option through June 2021” describing the connection between FNS programs and some state administered formula programs under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA).


CDC logo

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


OSEP-funded TA Center Resources

CPIR logo

New Parent Training Modules on Disproportionality in Special Education

The Building the Legacy training curriculum on IDEA 2004 has been revised to reflect the most current IDEA regulations with respect to disproportionality. The substantially expanded module includes two separate slideshows (one for general audiences and a second best suited for those who are or will be technically involved in monitoring for disproportionality with trainer guides and handouts for each slideshow.


Lead for Literacy Center Framework Overview Video

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 Center:
Practice Guide Summaries

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.


Lead for LiteracyCenter: Highlighting Key Considerations for Monitoring Reading Progress and Using Literacy Assessment

Kick off the New Year with the Lead for Literacy Center’s Lauren Artzi and David Fainstein as they present their National Association of Elementary School Principal webinar on February 16th. Participants will learn about types of progress monitoring data that inform reading instruction and quality indicators of useful data and assessments. They will also learn about the purpose and process for monitoring students’ reading progress in both traditional and virtual settings and important components of data-based decision making using school teaming structures.


Providing Literacy Instruction to Students with Disabilities

SRCL and CLSD Topical Meeting—Providing Literacy Instruction to Students with Disabilities

The Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy (SRCL) and Comprehensive Literacy State Development (CLSD) Programs in the U.S. Department of education hosted a meeting on November 19 on providing literacy instruction to students with disabilities. The presentations and recordings from the students with disabilities meeting are now posted on the website.


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 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).

  • OSEP also released a Universal Technical Assistance document regarding changes made to the FFY 2020-2025 SPP/APR Package on the IDEA.


Differentiated Monitoring and Support

The next DMS TA Call

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.



January 21 Presentation

OSEP will present on the FFY 2021 Grant Application Packages on the next regularly scheduled Monthly TA Call on January 21, 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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About the Author

The U.S. Department of Education is the agency of the federal government that establishes policy for, administers and coordinates most federal assistance to education. It assists the president in executing his education policies for the nation and in implementing laws enacted by Congress. The Department's mission is to serve America's students-to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.