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
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.
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.
- LEA Special Education Determination (LSED) Rubric
- LEA Special Education Determination (LSED) Template
LEAs can expect a variety of technical assistance and support, as well as monitoring activities based on data reviews and LEA Special Education Determinations. These may include cyclic, targeted, or selective monitoring, and on-site visits. LEAs will be notified at the beginning of each school year of their 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(s) if applicable. On-site visits will typically be scheduled either in the late fall or late spring and will be coordinated as often as appropriate with visits scheduled by other SEA teams to minimize disruption in the school environment. A report will be issued that includes a brief summary of monitoring activities, a summary of common themes and trends found in the data, findings of noncompliance if appropriate, and general supervision requirements.
The special education program monitoring team reviews submissions from LEAs over a three-year rotational cycle. Special Education program monitoring activities open annually in late September with LEA submissions due in January and March. AOE reviews are conducted February through May with LEA notifications/close-outs disseminated during the summer months.
- Cyclic Monitoring Timelines SY2020-2021
- IDEA Cyclic Monitoring Manual
- IDEA FY21 Cyclic Monitoring - GMS Training Video
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.
Cyclic/Selective Monitoring Tools
- Adverse Effect Training Documentation
- Annual Date Review IEP Data Collection Worksheet
- Annual Date Review IEP Instructions
- Annual Date Review Triennial Evaluation Data Collection Worksheet
- Annual Date Review Triennial Evaluation Instructions
- Discipline Policy Review Tool
- Indicator 11 – Child Find Data Collection Sheet
- Indicator 11 – Child Find Instructions for Data Collection
- Indicator 13 – Post-secondary Transition Plan Data Collection Sheet
- Indicator 13 – Post-secondary Transition Instructions for Data Collection
- Special Education Evaluation Review Criteria
- Special Education Para Policy Review Criteria
- Special Education Policy Review Criteria
Targeted or On-Site Monitoring Tools
- Disability Determination Checklist – File Review Companion
- File Review Document
- On-Site Monitoring - Purpose and Process
- Special Education Program Monitoring Parent Survey
- Special Education Program Monitoring Staff Survey
- Corrective Action Plan Cover Sheet
- OSEP Memo 09-02
- Statutory Authorization for Monitoring Activities
- Vermont Special Education Acronym List
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).