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Approved Special Education Schools

Collaborative Program Review System

Scope of Program Review System

As one part of its' accountability system, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education oversees local compliance with education requirements through the Program Review system. All reviews cover selected requirements in the following areas:

Special Education (SE)

  • selected requirements from the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA-2004); the federal regulations promulgated under that Act at 34 CFR Part 300; M.G.L. c. 71B, and the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education's Special Education regulations (603 CMR 28.00), as amended effective March 1, 2007.

Civil Rights and Other General Education Requirements (CR)

  • selected federal civil rights requirements, including requirements under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, together with selected state requirements under M.G.L. c. 76, Section 5 and M.G.L. c. 269 §§ 17 through 19.
  • selected requirements from the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education's Physical Restraint regulations (603 CMR 46.00).
  • selected requirements from the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education's Student Learning Time regulations (603 CMR 27.00).
  • various requirements under other federal and state laws.

Approved Public Day Program Standards

  • selected requirements from the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Special Education regulations from 603 CMR 28.09.
  • selected requirements from the Massachusetts Program and Safety Standards for Approved Public or Private Day and Residential Special Education School Programs 603 CMR 18.00

Program Review System Elements

Team:Depending upon the size and the number of programs to be reviewed, a team of two or more Department staff members conducts a review.
Timing:Each collaborative is scheduled to receive a Program Review every six years and a mid-cycle follow-up visit three years after the Program Review.
Criteria:The criteria the Office of Approved Special Education Schools (OASES) uses for monitoring the collaborative programs are included in this information package, along with citations to state and federal statutes and regulations. These criteria cover the areas of special education, civil rights, and approved public day standards necessary to determine that they are being provided in accordance with applicable state and federal laws and/or regulations.

Methods used in reviewing programs include:

  • Review of documentation about the operation of the collaborative programs.
  • Interviews of administrative, instructional, and support staff across all selected programs and grade levels.
  • Interviews of parent advisory council (PAC) representatives (only if the collaborative has a PAC) and other telephone interviews as requested by other parents or members of the general public.
  • Review of student records. The Department selects a representative sample of student records for the onsite team to review, using standard Department procedures, to determine whether procedural and programmatic requirements have been implemented.
  • Parent surveys: All parents of students attending the collaborative during the review are sent a survey that solicits information regarding their experiences with the collaborative.
  • Observation of classrooms and other facilities: The onsite team visits a sample of classrooms and other school facilities used in the delivery of programs and services to determine general levels of compliance with program requirements.

At the end of the onsite visit, the onsite team will hold an informal exit meeting to summarize its preliminary findings for the Collaborative Director and anyone else he or she chooses. Within approximately 45 business days of the onsite visit, the onsite chairperson will forward to the collaborative director a Draft Report containing comments from the Program Review. The collaborative will then have 10 business days to review the report for factual accuracy before the publication of a Final Report. The Final Report will be issued within approximately 60 business days after the conclusion of the onsite visit and posted on the Department's website at Collaborative Program Review Reports webpage.

Please note that a Final Report is generated approximately 60 business days after the conclusion of a Mid-cycle Review and is posted on the Department's website at the Collaborative Mid-Cycle Review Reports page.

The Final Report will include the following:

Ratings. The onsite team gives a rating for each compliance criterion it reviews; those ratings are "Implemented," "Partially Implemented," "Not Implemented," and "Not Applicable."

Findings. The onsite team includes a finding for each criterion that it rates "Partially Implemented," or "Not Implemented," explaining the basis for the rating. It may also include findings for other related criteria.

Response: Where criteria are found "Partially Implemented or "Not Implemented," the collaborative must propose corrective action to bring those areas into compliance with the relevant statutes and regulations. This corrective action plan will be due to the Department within 20 business days after the issuance of the Final Report and is subject to the Department's review and approval. Department staff offer technical assistance on the content and requirements for developing an approvable CAP. The approved CAP will be posted on the Departments website at Collaborative Corrective Action Plans webpage.

Last Updated: February 24, 2021

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
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