CCSA Answers: Charter schools in the California Department of Education's Special Education Monitoring Process

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February 7, 2019 Question: Are charter schools included in the California Department of Education's Special Education monitoring process?

Answer: Yes. 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.

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 the 2018-19 school year, the 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. CCSA recommends that charter schools proactively contact 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.

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