Focused Monitoring Activities

OVERVIEW
   
 

Agency staff use a variety of methods to monitor local educational agencies (LEAs) including focused monitoring activities and desk review activities to investigate LEA performance, especially in areas of low performance or noncompliance. It is critical that these activities:

  • be implemented fairly and consistently across districts/programs;
  • identify areas of noncompliance;
  • trigger effective corrective actions, technical assistance, improvement strategies, fiscal decisions, and other investments, sanctions, and incentives that ensure timely correction; and
  • lead to status determination of districts/programs.
   
FOCUSED MONITORING ACTIVITIES & SCHEDULES
   
 

Focused monitoring is a process that purposefully selects priority areas to examine for compliance based on student results while not specifically examining other areas for compliance to maximize resources, emphasize important variables, and increase the probability of improved results.

A Special Education Monitoring Stakeholder Group was formed to comply with IDEIA 2004. This group is comprised of various stakeholders concerning the education of children with disabilities including school administrators, teachers, parents, related service providers and Agency of Human Services staff. The Stakeholder Group meets annually to review the data concerning performance indicators in the State Performance Plan (SPP) and sets priorities for the upcoming year by choosing the indicator(s) for focused monitoring.

Then, the Monitoring Team ranks all 60 LEAs based on their performance in the chosen indicator. Based on staffing capacity, the Monitoring Team selects three to five LEAs each year to do an extensive on-site review of programs related to the chosen performance indicator from the SPP for the academic year.

   
   
  2014 Visits
   
 
Supervisory
Union
Dates/
Facilitator
Addison Rutland Supervisory Union

April 21-25, 2014
- - -
Lynne Themistocles

   
   
  2013 Visits
   
 
Supervisory
Union
Dates/
Facilitator
Franklin Northwest Supervisory Union

March 18-22, 2013
- - -
Ernie Wheeler

Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union

February 4 - 7, 2013
- - -
Ernie Wheeler

   
   
   
  2012 Visits
   
 
Supervisory
Union
Dates/
Facilitator
Addison Northwest Supervisory Union

April 9 - 13, 2012
- - -
Alicia Hanrahan

Burlington School District

March 26 -30, 2012
- - -
Ernie Wheeler

   
   
  2011 Visits
   
 
Supervisory
Union
Dates/
Facilitator
Chittenden Central Supervisory Union

May 2 - 3, 2011
- - -
Alicia Hanrahan

March 14-18, 2011
- - -
Alicia Hanrahan

February 7-11, 2011
- - -
Alicia Hanrahan

   
  2010 Visits
   
 
Supervisory
Union
Dates/
Facilitator

January 11-15, 2010
- - -
Alicia Hanrahan

Washington South 
February 1-5, 2010
- - -
Ernest Wheeler
Hartford School District
March 8-12, 2010
- - -
Troy McAllister
(Contact: Ernest Wheeler)
Franklin Northeast
May 10-14, 2010
- - -
Ernest Wheeler
September 27 - October 1, 2010
- - -
Alicia Hanrahan
   
  2009 Visits
   
 
Supervisory
Union
Dates/
Facilitator

January 12-16, 2009
- - -
Troy McAllister
(Contact: Alicia Hanrahan)

February 2-6, 2009
- - -
Ernest Wheeler
March 9-13, 2009
- - -
Alicia Hanrahan
Windham Central
March 23-27, 2009
- - -
Troy McAllister
(Contact: Ernest Wheeler)
Orleans Central
April 6-10, 2009
- - -
Ernest Wheeler
Windham Northeast
December 7-12, 2009
- - -
Troy McAllister
(Contact: Alicia Hanrahan)
   
  2007 - 2008 Visits
   
 
Supervisory
Union
Dates/
Facilitator

February 11-14, 2008
- - -
Alicia Hanrahan

March 17-21, 2008
- - -
Troy McAllister
(Contact: Ernest Wheeler)
April 14-18, 2008
- - -
Ernest Wheeler
   
IMPROVEMENT PLANNING & PROCESS
   
 

When areas needing improved performance have been identified, the department uses an improvement planning process to ensure correction of noncompliance in a timely manner (within one year) and meeting of measurable and rigorous targets. States also use incentives to reward performance. Department staff will provide follow-up and track improvement and correction of noncompliance on an ongoing basis. When performance has not improved and noncompliance is not corrected in a timely manner, there is a range of formalized strategies for enforcement.

Improvement Plan Process
Upon receiving their final report following a focused monitoring visit, the LEA is required to develop and submit a proposed Improvement Plan to the department within a period of 30 calendar days from the date of the final report. The Improvement Plan should be a comprehensive, interdisciplinary plan that targets LEA-wide improvement. In developing the plan, the LEA should consider the "areas of noncompliance," "supporting evidence," "corrective actions," "required evidence of correction" and "required evidence of change" sections of the final report. The department team leader will provide technical assistance and consultation during the development of the Improvement Plan.

In order to assure that the Improvement Plan is comprehensive, interdisciplinary, and LEA-wide, the plan must be developed by the collaborative team. The team may include the superintendent (or an administrator with the authority to commit LEA time and resources), the special education director, the professional development coordinator, curriculum coordinators, general education teachers, special education teachers, parents and others as necessary. This plan must not be a uniquely special education response developed in isolation from other LEA initiatives. The department team leader provides technical assistance to the team in the vein of a facilitator. The team leader may not provide the technical assistance that the LEA identifies it needs, but rather may function as a liaison for needed services.

The process used by the improvement plan team to develop the report will include:

1.
  Use of the department template to develop the Improvement Plan.
2.
  A review of the areas of noncompliance and the expected evidence of change in the final report.
3.
  The coordination of the Improvement Plan with other LEA initiatives.
4.
 

The following components per activity:

  • What specific tasks/activities are planned to address the targeted area
  • Why these particular tasks/activities were deemed most appropriate
  • When the tasks/activities will be completed
  • Who will complete the tasks/activities
  • Why this activity will work to bring the LEA into compliance
  • Who will monitor the progress and completion of activities
  • Resources (fiscal, human) within/outside the LEA that will be used to implement change
  • Deliverables, products, materials, documentation, or action plans that will be developed
  • How progress will be monitored to ensure that the expected changes take place (self-assessment) and
  • Outcomes/Impact related to the targeted area
 

The Monitoring Team will review the LEA's proposed Improvement Plan, requesting clarifications and revisions, as necessary. Upon approval of the Improvement Plan, the LEA is issued an approval letter that outlines the schedule of reporting the LEA's progress monitoring to the department. The purpose of this Monitoring Progress Report is to provide the LEA with a format in which to demonstrate evidence of their efforts to correct the deficiencies identified through the focused monitoring process. In addition, the process allows the LEA to monitor and evaluate the success of their Improvement Plan activities. The scheduling of the progress reports depends on the complexity of the Improvement Plan and the individual needs of the LEA.

Within eight (8) months of the approval date of the Improvement Plan, an Evidence of Change review meeting is scheduled between LEA representatives and the department team leader to assess whether the LEA has met the required evidence of change at the expected standard. Based on the results of the meeting, determinations will be made regarding whether (1) the LEA has met the standards required and the improvement plan is officially closed, (2) the LEA has not met the standards required and additional time will be allowed with Improvement Plan amendments, or (3) sanctions will be imposed.

Page Last Updated on December 4, 2014