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Feb. 13, 2016 State Advisory Panel on Special Education Minutes

Saturday, February 13, 2016
  • Welcome and Introductions
  • John Copenhaver -Technical Assistance for Excellence in Special Education (TAESE) at Utah State University provided training to the Panel.
    • Has provided training to SAPs in at least 25 states.
  • Websites for SAPs are viewed by other state SAPs.

Motto is “Keeping the main thing the main thing.”

  • State Special Education Advisory Panel has a great deal of influence on improving results for children and youth disabilities.
  • Take role seriously.
  • When you’re not here, neither is your stakeholder group.
  • OSEP-“Panels are extremely important to us.
  • ”Know your acronyms ie. IDEA-SEAP-SSIP-OSEP-RTI/MTSS
  • Discussion of accidental release of student personal identifying information
    • Response letter to go out.
    • Credit monitoring to be offered.

SAP advises the State Education Agency (SEA).

Review of laws in the history of special education

History is important - Language in how we refer to people with special education needs has changed over the years.

Accountability at all levels

                Student = IEP

Establish a link between the ICC and the Panel

                Try to meet annually.

                Partnership= Part B& Part C

Membership of Panel

                The membership of the panel should be representative of the culture in DC

                Majority of members of SAPSE must be individuals with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities.

                Parents of a child with disabilities must have a child aged birth -26.

Important Priorities

  • Read your by-laws
  • Tenure-By-laws state members serve 1 or 2 year terms
  • Takes at least 2 years to get grounded in acronyms
  • We all serve at the pleasure of the Mayor and that service or lack there of.
  • Excess missed meetings shall be reported to the mayor’s office.

Representation - Consideration of best practice of adding a new stakeholder role to the panel

  • Post-secondary student who has gone on to work.         
  • Student must be comfortable in a meeting environment who is also mature.
  • Significant role as representative of a stakeholder group.

Reaching out for stakeholder input

  • Professional Organizations, Committees, Individuals, Conferences, Agencies

Purpose of Panel

  • To provide advice
  • Should be a working panel
  • Serve as advisory to the State Office of Education
  • Not an advocacy group
  • No place for advocacy at Panel meetings.
  • There are advocacy groups in DC
  • Role is to give advice, to inform, to counsel, to recommend, to suggest, to guide.

Exercising Advisory Responsibilities

  • Panel Issue/Priority
  • Resource/Information /Data
  • Member Perspective/Experience
  • Stakeholder Input
  • Member Discussion
  • Objective Advice


  • Improved service for children with disabilities.
  • Might come back to any of the levels

State Director

  • Best Practice in taking information to the director of the state agency.
  • Provide Advice one pager.

Roles of State Special Education Director

  • One of the most stressful and complicated jobs in education.
  • To provide relevant and current information to the panel etc.

Understanding the Advisory Panel Functions

  • Advise the SEA of unmet needs within the State in the education of children with disabilities.
  • Publically comment on any rules or regulations proposed by the State re: education of children with disabilities.
  • Advise the State in developing evaluations and reporting on data to the Superintendent under Section 618 of the Act.
  • Advise the State in developing corrective action plans to address finding identified in federal monitoring reports under Part B of the Act.
  • Advise the State in developing and implementing policies relating to the coordination of services for children with disabilities.
  • Provide the Advisory Panel with the DPH findings and decisions and make those findings and decisions available to the public.
  • Should be able to review due process findings as well as mediations to illuminate any issues that should be considered.
  • Ask for once a year comprehensive review of dispute resolutions broken out by ward.
  • Try to understand the dispute processes.
  • Publish the findings of the disputes and make them available to the public.
  • Be careful on the data and make sure you drill down to see why the outcomes are the way they are.
  • Waiver of non-supplant requirement. State must consult with the Advisory Panel regarding provisions of FAPE.
  • Can request from the Director where the budget allocations go.

By-Laws Content Review (refer to By-Laws)

Name –State
Duties-Article III

  • Having a member who has a child who has been incarcerated would be something that we want to have on the panel.
  • What are best practices on what information we should know?
    • Included in director’s state of the state.
    • Gives heads up on emerging issues
    • Commenting publically on the State Program Plan
    • Might be the Annual Performance Report
  •     Undertake any other duties as may be assigned by the Mayor, the State Superintendent of Education , or as requested in federal law.
  •     Keep annual report as the main guidance
  •     Who writes the Annual Report?

SAP is supposed to write the Annual Report.
Currently, not as robust as it could be.

  • A lot of states offer the technical support and usually is a collaborative effort.
  • Could look at other state report as examples.
  • Nice way to start is by having a message from the Chair.
  • Most important is to provide advice to the Mayor


  • The Advisory Panel should have 21 members.
  • The members appointed by the Mayor to the Panel shall include, but not be limited to: Parents or guardians of children up to the age of 26.
  • Representatives
  • No term limits are recognized, but terms are for one or two years.
  • Orientation of new members is required.
  • Use of government email addresses.
    • Use of emails is recommended since private emails are discoverable.
  • Panel members who are unable to attend can send a substitute.
    • Needs to set expectations to attend meetings virtually.
      • Maybe set attendance requirement of a certain number of meetings.
    • If the Secretary cannot make the meeting, OSSE should provide substitute.
  • Panel is required to meet four times a year.
  • Most SAPs meet for a full day per quarter.
    • Advantage is access to the Education office members.
  • May or June retreat would be helpful to pull together information for the report.
  • Make sure priorities are the right ones for students in DC.
    • Pick three or four priorities.
  • Retreat makes that possible.
  • Good panels are fluid and flexible
  • Gap analysis would give us a look at what is needed or addressed.
  • May seems to be the month to plan a retreat.
    • Request for data should be made before May to use during the retreat.


  • Consider providing meals and travel stipend Setting Annual Priorities

Setting Annual Priorities

  • Study current and emerging critical issues that impact services for children with disabilities.

Annual Report

  • July 1st has been a challenge to produce the report.
  • Needs to be a collaborative effort between State and Panel
  • Advice should be based on data
  • User friendly and short
  • Consider a joint annual report with the ICC

     Reviewed suggested content

*Most important: Advice and Guidance

Emerging SAP Roles Slide

Dispute Resolution

Effective Practices Slide

Close working relationship with the director

Membership Orientation

Working together is so critical. Each one of us is important. Asked for electronic version of the presentation.

State Advisory Panel (SAP) on Special Education for the District of Columbia