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General Supervision and Monitoring System

The General Supervision and Monitoring System (GSMS) is the Vermont Agency of Education’s approach for monitoring, documenting, and enforcing accountability of the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The GSMS ensures continuous improvement, resulting in improved educational and functional outcomes for all children with disabilities ages 3 through 21, and that each Local Education Agency (LEA) responsible for educating children with disabilities meets IDEA program requirements. 

Section List

Vermont General Supervision System for Special Education

The GSMS for students ages 3 through 21 focuses on:

  1. A coherent system for Local Education Agencies (LEAs) which seamlessly integrates LEA Special Education Determinations with monitoring and support activities used to make those determinations.
  2. A strong focus on results (in addition to compliance) as a source of support and technical assistance for LEAs.
  3. Coordination with existing agency structures, processes and protocols to avoid adding new or additional structures, and where possible to reduce burden and duplication at the state and local level.
  4. Vermont’s GSMS is aligned with the five (5) domains outlined in the Vermont State Plan and utilizes data sets produced from multiple state initiatives to provide differentiated support and technical assistance to ensure that each and every Vermont student is receiving a free and appropriate education (FAPE) as defined in IDEA.

Vermont Monitoring Team

Tristan McNamara, MA, Ed.D., Program Manager 

Simona Kragh, MA, MA, Ph.D., Monitoring Coordinator 

Rebecca Plude, Monitoring Technician 

Please send any questions or requests for assistance to the AOE - SpEd Monitoring Group

Components of GSMS

The 8 components of GSMS are:

  1. The State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report (SPP/APR) which measures state/local progress on 17 specific indicators. This serves as the primary accountability mechanism for states and LEAs.
  2. Policies, procedures and effective implementation that are aligned and supportive of the implementation of IDEA.
  3. Data processes and results that are used for decision making about program management and continuous improvement efforts.
  4. Targeted technical assistance and professional development are directly connected to the SPP/APR and can vary from minimal to substantial intervention. All technical assistance and improvement activities are based on SEA priorities, i.e., State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP).
  5. Effective dispute resolution integrated to inform monitoring activities, and to determine stakeholder understanding/barriers to improving student outcomes.
  6. Integrated monitoring activities selected to ensure continuous examination of performance for compliance and results.
  7. Improvement, correction, incentives and sanctions are intended to improve educational results and functional outcomes for each and every Vermont child/student with a disability.
  8. Fiscal management and accountability for each and every student (ages 3 through 21) includes a review of fiscal resources to ensure funds are being used in accordance with federal and state requirements.

LEA Special Education Determinations (LSED)

The U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) requires states to make annual determinations on the performance of each Local Education Agency (LEA) in implementing the requirements and purposes of IDEA, with regard to the provision of special education and related services. Determinations are a way of designating the status of LEAs into one of four categories as outlined in federal regulations. These categories are:

  • Meets Requirements
  • Needs Assistance
  • Needs Intervention
  • Needs Substantial Intervention

Determination levels for LEAs are based on total points awarded with the determination levels guiding the type and intensity of the technical assistance provided to LEAs. Based upon the LSED status, LEAs can expect a variety of monitoring activities.

Determinations for school years 2005-2017 may be obtained by completing a data request form.

LSED Templates

Monitoring Activities

The State of Vermont Agency of Education holds that coordinated efforts across the education system are necessary to achieve a positive effect on the school and life trajectory of students with disabilities. The goal for Vermont’s differentiated monitoring process for students with disabilities (age 3-21) is to determine areas of an LEA’s special education program which require strengthening, adjustment, and/or correction in fiscal and program management, and to ensure that students in each LEA receive FAPE in the least restrictive environment (LRE).   

Based upon their LEA Special Education Determination (LSED) status, previous performance as reported via monitoring activities, and position within the regularly scheduled cyclic monitoring schedule, LEAs can expect a variety of technical assistance as well as escalating monitoring activities. 

Cyclic Monitoring

The special education program monitoring team reviews submissions from LEAs over a three-year rotational cycle. Special Education program monitoring activities open annually in September with LEA submissions due in February. AOE reviews are conducted February through June with LEA notifications/close-outs disseminated during the summer months. 

On-Site Monitoring Report

Monitoring Tools

The list of monitoring tools below is provided to assist schools and families better understand special education program monitoring. Use of these monitoring tools is not limited to the categories listed below. Categorization is for ease of reference according to the monitoring activity for which the tool is most commonly used. All monitoring activities related to the IDEA B Grant awarded to school districts will be conducted through SharePoint. The link to a dedicated, secure folder is sent to each LEA. For assistance regarding the access to and use of the SharePoint folder, please contact the Special Education Monitoring Team at

Cyclic/Selective Monitoring Tools
Targeted or On-Site Monitoring Tools
Monitoring Resources

Annual Performance Report Indicators

The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) require states to use the indicator targets established in the State Performance Plan (SPP)/Annual Performance Report (APR) under 34 CFR §300.601 and the priority areas described in 34 CFR §300.600(d) to analyze the performance of each LEA. The annual targets for state improvement are set periodically by stakeholder groups and the IDEA B State Advisory Panel. The indicators used in the SPP/APR measure both compliance and results in the areas of graduation and dropout rates, statewide assessment (participation and proficiency), suspension/expulsion, least restrictive environment/placement, parent involvement, child find (including disproportionate representation by race/ethnicity that is the result of inappropriate identification), early childhood environments and outcomes, transition services (Part C to B, Post-secondary, and secondary), dispute resolution, as well as Vermont’s progress towards improving outcomes for students through the State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP).