Starting this year, all charter schools will be included in CDE's special education monitoring process.

January 31, 2019

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What is special education monitoring?
The California Department of Education (CDE) measures a series of data points aligned to the Special Education State Performance Plan (SPP) and the California Dashboard Indicators. The SPP is required by the federal Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in order to monitor state's implementation of IDEA. The California Dashboard is a tool the CDE uses to for school and Local Education Agency (LEA) accountability. The CDE conducts its special education monitoring activities through a review of special education compliance and performance indicators in all California LEAs.

What's new this year?
In the past, charter schools that operated as "schools of their authorizer" for special education purposes were not monitored separately but were included in their authorizer's review. Beginning in 2018-19 school year, CDE will review all independent charter schools, regardless of special education status. Specifically, each charter school will receive a special education Annual Performance Report (APR). The APRs demonstrate the school's/LEAs performance on all applicable SPP indicators, such as special education subgroup graduation rate, assessment scores, discipline, and participation in the least restrictive environment.

How do I know whether my school is compliant?
In December 2018 each special education local plan areas (SELPA) received a file with all of its member APRs (charter and district). If your school fell below target performance on an indicator, it was flagged for one or more of the following:

  • PIR - Performance Indicator Review

    Aims to measure outcomes of students with disabilities and to engage both general education and special education in an effort to build LEA capacity to improve the performance of students with disabilities. PIR is based on the following APR and Dashboard indicators: Dashboard Graduation Indicator; 2, Dropout; Dashboard Academic Achievement Indicator ; Dashboard Suspension Indicator; 5, Least Restrictive Environment; 6, Preschool Least Restrictive Environment 8, Parent Involvement; and 14, Post-school Outcomes; and Child Find.

  • DINC - Data Identified Noncompliance Review

    DINC Indicators include APR indicators: 11, Evaluation within 60 days of parent consent, 12, Part C to Part B transition, IEP in place by child's third birthday, and 13, All eight elements of secondary transition addressed in the IEP. Additional elements include: timely completion of annual and triennial IEPs. If noncompliance is identified, the state must require the LEAs with noncompliance to complete corrective action.

  • DISPRO - Disproportionality Review

    Aims to identify disproportionate representation by race, ethnicity, placement, and disability category of students with disabilities. Disproportionality review includes APR Indicators: 9, Disproportionate representation in special education by ethnicity; and 10, Disproportionate representation in specific disability categories by ethnicity. Additionally, it includes suspension and expulsion with significant discrepancy by disability and ethnicity and disproportionality by placement.

We recommend that charter schools proactively reach out to their SELPAs and request a copy of their APR report. Schools should review their data to ensure accuracy and work with their SELPA to make any necessary corrections of noncompliance as soon as possible.

What's next?
Once CDE completes data analysis, LEAs and their SELPAs will be notified of the necessary corrective actions in the spring of 2019. Additional resources, guidance, and technical assistance may be available from CDE.

If identified, PIR requirements include:

  • Improvement Plan (may submit LCAP in lieu of improvement plan as long as it addresses the indicator(s) that are not met)
  • Drill down activities
  • Participation including general education and special education personnel, Special Education Local Plan Area personnel, and local educational agency administrators
  • Record Review

If identified, DINC requirements include:

  • Correction of identified noncompliance
  • Analysis of root cause of missed timelines
  • Follow-up data submissions

If identified, Disproportionality requirements include:

  • Annual Review of policies, procedures, and practices
  • Correction of identified noncompliance
  • Follow-up data submissions, determination of noncompliance, issuance of corrective actions
  • If disproportionality persist over three years, it constitutes Significant Disproportionality, which requires an improvement plan and may cause fiscal implications for the LEA.

CCSA is planning several webinars to provide additional information on special education monitoring. For questions or support, please contact