In This Issue:
From the Director
Message from Acting OSEP Director, Dr. David Cantrell
Summer is quickly approaching, and the 2020-21 school year will soon be behind us. Our Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) team, in collaboration with offices across the U.S. Department of Education (ED), has been working on COVID-19 Resources for Schools, and Families. Topics include the American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds, creating safe and healthy learning environments, addressing lost instructional time, and supporting educator and staff well-being, to name a few. Additionally, we have been working hard to identify key areas of priority based on what we are learning from you. As I listen to your comments and feedback, there are common needs, questions and topics that we are preparing to address in the coming months.
I am excited to announce that today, June 1st, the Department is kicking off the 8th annual ED Games Expo! On Wednesday, June 2nd, OSEP is participating along with the Administration for Children and Families at the Department of Health and Human Services in a joint Showcase on Early Childhood and Special Education Technology. This showcase will highlight technology tools designed to address the needs of families and students from early childhood through adolescence, with considerations for children with disabilities. Presenters will include federal leadership, technology developers, educators, researchers, families, and students. We hope you can join us!
We have recently received a call to action in support of the Department’s Safer Schools and Campuses Best Practice Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse provides resources for communities, schools, educators, and families as we work together to continue to reopen our schools for in-person learning and support the needs of all students, particularly historically underserved students and those who have been impacted greatest by the pandemic. The Department is seeking additional resources and exemplars on returning to school for children with disabilities. If you have resources or exemplars to share, please send your resource or exemplar to the Bestpracticesclearinghouse@ed.gov.
Thank you for all that you do to support infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities and their families. As Arthur Ashe said, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” We know you are doing the best you can every day!
David Cantrell, Ph.D.
Office of Special Education Programs
Other ED Updates
OSEP recently released the Letter to Tymeson (May 12, 2021) which addresses requirements related to the provision of physical education, including adapted physical education, to children with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), including personnel qualifications and licensure to provide specially designed physical education.
Summer Learning and Enrichment Collaborative: Save the Dates!
The Department, with support of the Comprehensive Center Network, launched the Summer Learning and Enrichment Collaborative, a partnership between ED, the National Governors Association, and the Council of Chief State School Officers. The purpose of the upcoming meetings is to support state and local teams, their community partners, and other education stakeholders as they plan and implement learning and enrichment activities during the summer and beyond. Each session will have a short opening plenary along with concurrent discussions offering practical tools, strategies, and opportunities for peer-sharing in the following areas: building school-community partnerships, effective use of fiscal resources, attracting/supporting staff for summer programs, evidence-based learning, and enrichment strategies, addressing a full range of student needs, and tailoring supports to specific populations.
Please save the dates for the following upcoming meetings held on
Thursdays from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm (EDT):
June 10th, June 24th, July 8th, July 22nd, and August 12th.
Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Programs and Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Programs
On May 26, 2021, the Department released a document to answer Frequently Asked Questions about how funding under the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund, including the American Rescue Plan ESSER (ARP ESSER) program, and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund may be used in response to the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on students in pre-K–12 education
Questions and Answers on Civil Rights and School Reopening in the COVID-19 Environment
The Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently issued a Question and Answer document that provides answers to common questions about schools’ responsibilities under the civil rights laws that OCR enforces.
Confronting COVID-19-Related Harassment in Schools
A new resource is available from OCR and the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division: Confronting COVID-19-Related Harassment in Schools. In OCR’s Reading Room in the Race and National Origin Discrimination section, you’ll find this resource in English, Chinese-simplified, Chinese-traditional, Korean, Tagalog, and Vietnamese, with additional translations expected later this month.
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
As we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we also continue to recognize the increase in harassment and violence directed at Asian American and Pacific Islander individuals. We want to be sure students and families are aware of their rights in school settings and of how to access help if needed, including from OCR.
Condemning and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States
President Bident issued a memorandum early in his presidency on Condemning and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. In it, President Bident wrote: “The Federal Government should combat racism, xenophobia, and intolerance against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and should work to ensure that all members of AAPI communities — no matter their background, the language they speak, or their religious beliefs — are treated with dignity and equity.”
Upcoming CIID Webinar “What’s a Data Standard?”
Join the Center for the Integration of IDEA Data (CIID) on June 29, 2021 at 3:00 pm eastern for a webinar entitled "What's a Data Standard?" Experts will provide a walk-through that will help SEAs understand how to use Common Education Data Standards to standardize the reporting and analytic capabilities of special education data, enhancing both collaboration and comparability. Presenters will specifically address IDEA, Part B data managers' and special education program staff's needs and identify fundamental changes that can transform states' capacity for data use.
Did You Know?
Since 2012, the number of children ages 5 (in kindergarten) through 21 served under IDEA, Part B, has increased by more than half a million students (738,154) or more than 12%.
Source: OSEP Fast Facts: School aged children 5 (in kindergarten) through 21 Served under Part B, of the IDEA
State Performance Plans / Annual Performance Reports
OSEP continues to busily review both the State Systemic Improvement Plan and clarifications to prepare for the Annual Performance Report (APR) Determinations. OSEP will conduct a OSEP Monthly Technical Assistance call on Thursday, June 10, 2021 at 4:00 pm EDT regarding APR Determinations.
Additionally, the GRADS 360o web-link will transition to https://osep.communities.ed.gov/#program starting on June 30th. The current URL will automatically redirect to the new web-link until the transition occurs, but please establish your new bookmarks now.
IDEA Part B/C Grants
OSEP appreciates states’ timely submissions of their 2021 IDEA Part B and C grant applications. OSEP is busily reviewing States’ grant application to prepare to issue grant awards on July 1, 2021.
Special Note: While applications were submitted electronically by the May due dates, hard copy applications are due by August 2, 2021. Review the “Procedures for Receiving a FFY 2021 Grant Award” within the FFY 2021 IDEA Part B and Part C Grant Application Packages for submission instructions.
On the May 27, 2021 OSEP National TA Call, important updates were provided about the American Rescue Plan supplemental funds and how OSEP will disseminate revised allocation tables to Part B and Part C programs in the next few days. Please view the recording of the call to learn more information. OSEP will send an email to all States with additional guidance when the allocation tables become available.
Differentiated Monitoring and Support
OSEP held a technical assistance call on May 27, 2021, as a part of the Differentiated Monitoring and Support (DMS) 2.0 Pivot activities. OSEP’s Monthly Technical Assistance call in May highlighted the format and organization for the DMS 2.0 protocol templates and the new Engage OSEP website.
OSEP has also been conducting monthly COVID-19 calls with states. The intent of these calls is to ensure states have the support they need during these uncertain times, to answer any questions they may have related to the pandemic, and to help us better understand the issues that are occurring as a result of COVID-19 at the state and local level. These discussions will inform the pandemic-related technical assistance (TA) and guidance we provide moving forward and share best practices.
OSEP plans to continue conducting DMS Technical Assistance Calls on the fourth Thursday of each month at 4:00 pm ET. Please check the OSEP Monthly TA Call page for additional information to register and access 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.
This Month's Featured Resource
Key Points to Share about ED’s Handbooks for Reopening Schools
The Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR) developed infographic summaries of the Department’s two handbooks to help schools reopen safely. The infographics give OSEP-funded parent centers, families, educators, and others quick access to the valuable information within those volumes. While there is no substitute for reading the actual volumes in their entirety, these infographics provide a taste of the kind of detailed guidance found in the full publications.