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Early Childhood Special Education Services

The Agency of Education has overarching responsibility for compliance with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the corresponding Vermont state regulations regarding the provision of a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for students with disabilities. To accomplish this task, the Agency of Education employs a team of highly skilled professionals charged with assuring that all Vermont public and independent schools and early childhood education programs educate students with disabilities consistent with the content and intent of the law.

Early Childhood Special Education Services (ECSES) supports children ages 3 up to 6 years. ECSES is administered through local school districts to ensure access and participation in early childhood programs for each and every child who is determined eligible for services. ECSES enables young children with disabilities to be full participants in everyday routines and activities across a variety of settings (in their homes with their families, in child care, preschool or school programs, and in the community) throughout the early childhood years.


New or Revised Guidance

  • Early Childhood Special Education Orientation: ECSE 101: This training webinar is an overview of the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and other federal and state special education laws and regulations focusing on Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) for children ages 3 through 5. It includes an introduction of IDEA Part C Children​'s Integrated Services (CIS)​/Early Intervention (EI) and the collaborative relationship with IDEA Part B (3 through 21), ECSE developmental domains, and​ State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report (SPP/APR) indicators. Additionally, this training webinar includes foundational documents ​including the Vermont Guiding Principles and Equity Statements, which promote inclusive, high quality practices and environments for young children.

Presentation Slides

  • Creating High-Quality Inclusive Environments: Early childhood inclusion embodies the values, policies, and high-quality practices that support the right of each and every young child and their family in Vermont. The purpose of this webinar is to assist LEAs, administrators, educators, special educators, service providers, and early childhood programs and community partners in identifying, developing, and sustaining high-quality inclusive opportunities and environments for each and every child with and without disabilities.

  • ECSE Orientation: Early Childhood Special Education and the Individual Education Program, Creating Functional IEPs: An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a legal document, federally mandated under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), developed for each public school child in the U.S. who receives special education. This webinar focuses on learning or refreshing  knowledge on how to write individualized, functional, attainable, relevant, and measurable well-formed IEP goals and objectives, which is an important first step in addressing the unique needs of each and every child receiving Early Childhood Special Education services in Vermont.​

Early Childhood Educational Environments (Least Restrictive Environment - LRE) (Indicator 6)

Early Childhood Special Education Orientation: Indicator 6 - Preschool Environments: Early Childhood Special Education Orientation: Indicator 6 Early Childhood Educational Environments (Least Restrictive Environment- LRE): This training presentation includes Vermont foundational documents, as well as federal memos and documents that influence and promote inclusion within Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education. Additionally, educational environments as stated in the Early Childhood Special Education IEP will be defined, Indicator 6 federal reporting requirements under IDEA will be explained, how to utilize documents such as the Decision Tree​​ for reporting educational environments, and finally how to problem solve to create better outcomes for each and every child

Early Childhood Outcomes (Indicator 7)

Early Childhood Special Education Orientation: Indicator 7 Early Childhood Outcomes: This presentation slides includes background and focus of Indicator 7, purpose and definitions, alignment to the Vermont Early Learning Standards (VELS), the Early Child Outcomes Summary Process (ECOS) and reporting.

Vermont's Early Childhood Outcomes: A Guide for Professionals

Reporting Early Childhood Outcomes Entry Ratings Memo

Reporting Early Childhood Outcomes Exit and Progress Ratings Memo

ECSES defines the three early childhood outcomes as functional outcomes.

  • Outcome A: Positive Social and Emotional Skills and Relationships
  • Outcome B:  Acquisition and use of Knowledge and Skills
  • Outcome C: Taking appropriate actions to meet needs

Functional outcomes describe children's mastery and appropriate application of behaviors, knowledge, and skills in an intentional and meaningful way across daily routines, activities and settings. The overarching goal for each and every child is to be an active and successful participant in his/her own learning and development.

ECSES measures three early childhood outcomes as defined by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in the State Performance Plan (SPP) and Annual Performance Report (APR). The three early childhood outcomes are the result of the work of the Early Childhood Outcomes Center which is now part of the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA)

Vermont’s ECSES’ Early Childhood Outcomes Practices and Procedures aims to assist professionals in identifying and developing an understanding of the early childhood outcomes process and measurement system. The purpose of the ECSES’ early childhood outcomes measurement is to collect and analyze high-quality child outcomes data to meet federal reporting requirements as well as to inform state and local program improvement efforts, including:

  • Improving policies, procedures, and practices;
  • Informing focused monitoring and quality assurance;
  • Informing professional learning opportunities;
  • Informing research and funding; and
  • Gathering philanthropic and political support for early childhood special education services.

Practices and Procedures Memo to the Field (March 2018)

Part C Regional Interagency Agreements

Use the Part C Regional Interagency Agreement (IAA) ‘fillable’ form to ensure the provision of a Part C Comprehensive Child Find System as well as to support a smooth and effective transition for children with disabilities and their families who transition from Children's Integrated Services/Early Intervention (CIS/EI) services to Part B services at age three. The role and responsibilities of the regional CIS/EI program and LEAs shall be detailed and maintained through this agreement. Each regional IAA team, which is comprised of LEA and CIS/EI designees, shall develop, implement and maintain a regional IAA that is consistent with federal and state special education rules and the state Part C Interagency Agreement.

Early Childhood Special Education Orientation Indicator 12: IDEA Part C to IDEA Part B Transition and Reporting
AOE learning modules are designed to support individuals as an orientation to a new topic or to refresh existing knowledge and skills. The purpose of the module: IDEA Part C to Part B Transition and Reporting is to help Administrators, Special Education Directors, and Early Childhood Special Educators in defining and clarifying the transition reporting requirements for children who are transitioning from IDEA Part C services to IDEA Part B services.

Additional Resources:

IDEA Part C to B Transition Guidance and Implementation of ‘Potentially Eligible’ at Age 3 (Indicator 12)

These documents will provide additional guidance from the Agency of Education and the Agency of Human Services, Department for Children and Families in implementation of the newly revised Vermont Special Education Rule 2360.5. The guidance focuses on children exiting Children’s Integrated Services/Early Intervention services and who may be ‘Potentially Eligible’ for Part B Early Childhood Special Education services at age 3. Implementation of this section of the rule began on November 15th, 2013.

Additional Resources:


Email Katie McCarthy, ECSE Coordinator II/IDEA 619 or call (802) 828-5213.

Email Amy Murphy, Early Education Inclusion Coordinator or call (802) 828-5387.