Information Update Bulletin 10.09

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November 2010

TO:District Administrators, CESA Administrators, CCDEB Administrators, Directors of Special Education and Pupil Services, and Other Interested Parties
FROM:Carolyn Stanford Taylor, Assistant Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy
SUBJECT:Special Education Procedural Compliance Self-Assessment
 

As part of its general supervision system to ensure compliance with state and federal special education requirements, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) monitors approximately 440 local educational agencies, including independent charter schools, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. In addition, DPI monitors the Wisconsin Educational Services Program for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and the Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Each of these public agencies will have implemented the Special Education Procedural Compliance Self-Assessment (Self-Assessment) during the current Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) State Performance Plan cycle, ending with the 2010-2011 school year.

Wisconsin’s public agencies have been divided into five cohorts of approximately 88 agencies each. Beginning in the 2006-2007 school year, one cohort performed the Self-Assessment each year. Each cohort is developed to be representative of the state for pupil enrollment, areas of disability, gender, ethnicity, and race. Public agencies with average daily membership of 50,000 or more participate each year. Public agencies may be advanced on the schedule based on concerns identified by the DPI Special Education Team. The Self-Assessment schedule may be viewed at http://sped.dpi.wi.gov/sped_spp-sa-select.

The Self-Assessment uses samples of students’ individualized education program (IEP) records, interviews, and other sources. It includes selected requirements of IDEA 2004 and state law, which are closely related to improving student outcomes. The requirements in the Self-Assessment are related to Wisconsin’s Continuous Improvement and Focused Monitoring System (CIFMS) priorities and IDEA State Performance Plan indicators. They were selected with guidance provided by the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. DPI also collects data for Wisconsin State Performance Plan Indicators 11 and 13 through the Self-Assessment. Indicator 11 is the percent of children evaluated for special education eligibility within 60 days of parental consent to conduct the evaluation. Indicator 13 is the percent of children whose IEP includes a postsecondary transition plan.

The requirements in the Self-Assessment fall into six topical areas: parent participation, evaluation, IEP team, IEP content, discipline, and private schools. DPI may modify the content of a public agency’s assessment to include other potential compliance issues identified by the DPI special education team. A compliance standard has been developed for each requirement in the Self-Assessment. The department strongly recommends all public agencies review the standards for assessing each of the Self-Assessment items to ensure compliance with them. These standards may be viewed at http://sped.dpi.wi.gov/files/sped/pdf/sa-stand-dir.pdf. Annually, DPI selects public agencies to validate the accuracy of their Self-Assessments. DPI verifies all identified noncompliance is corrected within one year. The public agency must demonstrate all student-level noncompliance has been corrected and the public agency is currently in compliance with procedural requirements.

A total of 86 public agencies conducted the Self-Assessment during the 2009-2010 school year. When a public agency identified agency-level noncompliance on a requirement, it was required to develop and implement a corrective action plan to address the noncompliance. Any student-level noncompliance detected is corrected by the public agency as soon as possible. All noncompliance must be corrected no later than one year after identification. The attached table ranks requirements, in the 2009-2010 Self-Assessment, by the number of public agencies found to have district-level noncompliance and required to develop a corrective action plan (CAP). The 2008-09 results are provided for comparison. The table includes the standards for assessing each of these items. DPI analyzes this data to identify statewide needs and develops technical assistance to improve outcomes.

During 2009-10, the most common item requiring a CAP was the requirement IEPs include a postsecondary transition plan. Data reported for this item is used by the department to determine the statewide compliance rate for State Performance Plan Indicator 13 (secondary transition). Wisconsin promotes effective transition practices through the Wisconsin Secondary Transition Initiative (WSTI). DPI has expanded training and technical assistance over the last three years to improve compliance with Indicator 13. For more information on Indicator 13, go to http://www.wsti.org/.

Five of the most common items requiring CAPs are evaluation requirements. Nine of the most common items requiring CAPs are IEP requirements. Of the fifteen most common items requiring a CAP, nine showed improvement over the previous year: items T-8, E-8, I-6, I-9, I-10, I-11, I-15, I-16, and I-17. The remaining six most common items requiring a CAP showed slippage over the previous year: items E-2, E-3, E-4, E-5, I-7 and I-12.

The department strongly encourages all public agencies to review the standards for these 15 most common items requiring a CAP to ensure compliance.

Resources are available to assist public agencies in completing the Self-Assessment. A complete manual, PowerPoint presentations, webcasts, and a question and answer document are available on the DPI website. Go to http://sped.dpi.wi.gov/sped_spp-selfassmt. Also public agencies may contact their Cooperative Educational Services Agency (CESA) about assistance offered by their CESA. If you have questions about this bulletin, contact Paul Sherman at (608) 267-9157 or paul.sherman@dpi.wi.gov, or Patricia Williams at (608) 267-3720 or patricia.williams@dpi.wi.gov.

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