The Agency of Education (AOE), as the State Education Agency (SEA), is responsible for the overall provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to eligible Vermont students with disabilities and does this through the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). At the center of this law is the state’s obligation to ensure the delivery of FAPE to all students residing within the state, ages 3 through 21. In ensuring FAPE, the AOE, is responsible for general supervision and monitoring to confirm that the requirements of IDEA are carried out so that each educational program for children with disabilities meets educational standards for Vermont. In Vermont, the AOE is required to establish monitoring activities, and enforce regulations governing special education programs.
Vermont’s integrated general supervision and monitoring system (GSMS) for students ages 3 through 21 focuses on:
- A coherent system for LEAs which seamlessly integrates LEA Special Education Determinations with monitoring and support activities used to make those determinations.
- A strong focus on results (in addition to compliance) as a source of support and technical assistance for LEAs.
- 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.
- 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.
Components of GSMS
Detailed information can be found in the current version to be posted September 2020. The 8 components of GSMS are:
- 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.
- Policies, procedures and effective implementation that are aligned and supportive of the implementation of IDEA.
- Data processes and results that are used for decision making about program management and continuous improvement efforts.
- 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., SSIP.
- Effective dispute resolution integrated to inform monitoring activities, and to determine stakeholder understanding/barriers to improving student outcomes.
- Integrated monitoring activities selected to ensure continuous examination of performance for compliance and results.
- Improvement, correction, incentives and sanctions are intended to improve educational results and functional outcomes for each and every Vermont child/student with a disability.
- 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.
Local 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. Determinations for school years 2018-2020 will be available in summer 2020.
Monitoring activities vary based on levels of intensity required based upon the local special education determinations status. Monitoring activities may include file reviews, desk audits, on-site visits, and selective monitoring reviews. LEAs will be notified at the beginning of each school year of their LSED status, level of expected monitoring engagement, status of any improvement or corrective action plan activities from the previous school year, and notification of on-site visit if applicable. On-site visits will typically be scheduled either in the late fall or late spring and will be coordinated as often as possible with on-site visits by other SEA teams (examples: fiscal, VTmtss, Title, EQA, etc.). A final report of monitoring activities will be issued to the LEA during the summer. This final report will include a brief summary of monitoring activities for the school year, a summary of common themes and trends found in the data, findings of noncompliance if appropriate, and general supervision requirements.
- List of LEAS in 2019-2020 Monitoring Cycle
- List of LEAS in 2020-2021 Monitoring Cycle
- Timelines Document - available summer of 2020
- Monitoring Forms
The below tools will assist schools and families throughout cyclical monitoring. Some are being redeveloped as per recommendations of the public comment period and will be made ready for the field as they are completed.
- Adverse Effect Training Documentation
- Classroom Observation Tool
- Cross Walk Document for IDEA/SBE Rules
- File Review Document
- Indicator 11 – Child Find Data Collection Sheet
- Indicator 13 – Post-secondary Transition Plan Data Collection Sheet
- Interview Questions
- LEA Self-Review for FAPE
- LEA Special Education Determination (LSED) Rubric
- LEA Special Education Determination (LSED) Template
- On-Site Monitoring - Purpose and Process
- Special Education Monitoring Staff Survey
- Special Education Program Monitoring Parent Survey
- Vermont Special Education Acronym List
Grants Management System (GMS)
All monitoring activities related to the IDEA B Grant awarded to school districts will be conducted through the agency’s Grants Management System.
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).