Accountability and Technical Assistance in Special Education Determination 2010-2011- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Special Education

Accountability and Technical Assistance in Special Education Determination 2010-2011

To:Superintendents of School, Charter School Directors, and Administrators of Special Education
From:Marcia Mittnacht, State Director for Special Education
Date:July 6, 2011


Previously, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) informed you of a federal requirement to make annual "determinations" in the area of special education for each school district. We use five (5) levels of accountability and assistance in the area of special education: Level 1 "meets requirements," Level 2 "meets requirements - at risk, " Level 3 "needs technical assistance," Level 4 "needs intervention," and Level 5 "needs substantial intervention." This memorandum outlines the determination process for 2010-11, determinations that we will use to develop and deliver technical assistance during the summer of 2011 and the school year 2011-12.

This year, ESE again links special education "determinations" to student performance indicators, district AYP reports, and special education compliance. Also, for the first time, we are looking at information using the growth formula recently developed by the Department. We look first at performance. We continue our focus on the area of English Language Arts because of its close association with special education referrals and its inclusion in most individualized educational programs, although we are also looking at mathematics and overall growth. After we make initial determinations based on performance, we review non-compliance in detail. This year we reassigned two (2) districts to a better level (than the initial performance determination level) because of their strong performance in correcting non-compliance over the past year. We reassigned five (5) districts to a lower level because of issues with serious non-compliance.

Although these numbers represent a decrease in the number of districts with positive performance outcomes from last year, we are pleased to report the majority of districts are in either Level 1 or 2 (325 districts and 45 districts, respectively) and nineteen (19) districts assigned to Levels 3-5. The attached pages provide more detail on how we have made a determination level for each district for 2010-11. We will send each district notice of its determination soon.

ESE continues to strengthen its efforts to coordinate targeted technical assistance to districts in special education and other program areas. We seek to help you provide students with disabilities the support that they need to perform at the highest levels. We appreciate your commitment to this important and challenging work, and thank you in advance for your review of the attached document.

Last Updated: July 8, 2011

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