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Start of School | Special Education Guidance

Priority Overview
OSSE is committed to advancing excellence for ALL students. For the 2024-25 School year, OSSE will issue Special Education policy and non-regulatory guidance to support Local Education Agencies (LEAs) in carrying out Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) obligations, including best practices and recommendations for LEA practice. OSSE remains focused on providing resources to support effective implementation by schools and LEAs for identifying, transporting and educating students with disabilities.  
For questions, please contact Victoria Glick at [email protected].
Top Things to Know
  • The Special Education Institute will be held on August 15 at the Kellogg Center, where TAL, K12, CIO, and DAR, in partnership with external vendors, will provide LEA leadership teams with learning opportunities in special education, including inclusive practices, parent engagement, secondary transition, Stepwell (the new monitoring tracking data system), SEPR data analysis, early childhood transition, and continuous improvement activities.  The focus will be on best practices, compliance, and organization capacity building within each LEA’s organization.   
  • OSSE will issue updated special education policy and guidance: 
    • Early Childhood Transition Policy (updated): clarifies implementation requirements regarding the transition of children with disabilities from IDEA Part C early intervention services to IDEA Part B school-based special education and related services. 
    • Policy Bulletin: Parent Participation and Engagement (*new*): summarizes regulatory requirements governing parent participation in the special education process and LEA obligations to effectively engage parents and families. 
    • Special Education Transportation Eligibility Guidance (*new*): guidance intended to support IEP teams in determining eligibility for special education transportation as a related service by connecting transportation eligibility criteria, IEP team considerations, and student-level data. 
    • Special Education Bus Accommodations Guidance (*new*): provides descriptions and eligibility considerations for OSSE DOT vehicle services and accommodations to support IEP teams in making appropriate designations. 
    • Special Education Process Handbook (updated): comprehensive overview of requirements and best practices from referral through exiting special education. 
    • Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) Toolkit (updated): resource for District of Columbia LEA special education administrators, educators, related service providers, and other school staff to support the implementation of special education services and best practices across the full continuum of alternative placements to effectively serve all District students. 
  • OSSE will provide LEAs with a Start of School Special Education Bulletin with information pertinent to all LEA Special Education Points of Contact (SPED POCs), including updates and reminders regarding SPED POC roles and responsibilities, policy and guidance, data systems, monitoring activities, and nonpublic placement processes.  

  •  OSSE will provide nonpublic placement oversight process reminders to LEAs at an upcoming LEA Leader Meeting.     

  •  The 2023 Special Education Performance Report (SEPR) is available to review. SEPR is an annual report designed to provide LEAs and families with meaningful information about LEA progress toward improving outcomes for students with disabilities. The 2024 SEPR (using 2022-23 school year data) will be shared before the end of the calendar year.    

Key Dates & Deadlines
  • August 15, 2024 – Special Education Institute at the Kellogg Center – Registration is requested 
  • Sept. 23, 2024 - Full day McKinney-Vento training 
  • Sept 30, 2024 – LEA data manager must complete School-based Homeless Liaisons’ Identification online submission form via IDS  
  • Sept 30, 2024 – LEA send HEP email with updated name & contact info to be published on the homeless liasion contact list.  
  • Sept 30, 2024 - LEA and school-based homeless liaisons confirm receipt of their SLED/Qlik Sense credentials and can access their homeless student data via email/phone.