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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
January 24, 2022

Dear County and District Superintendents, Special Education Local Plan Area Directors, Special Education Administrators at County Offices, Special Education Program Directors, Charter School Administrators, Principals, and Nonpublic School Directors:

2022 Special Education Monitoring and Engagement with Local Educational Agencies

On behalf of the Special Education Division (SED) at the California Department of Education (CDE), I would like to wish you a happy new year. We understand that the first half of the school year has been filled with enormous challenges. I am inspired each and every day by the commitment of our California educators to meet the diverse needs of our children with disabilities. The purpose of this letter is to describe the manner in which the SED at the CDE will engage with your local educational agency (LEA) this spring. In this time of uncertainty, I want to make sure that the SED’s activities are clearly outlined, so that collaboration with the SED staff will be transparent, clear, and consistent. The SED staff want to continue to engage and collaborate with LEAs to support our shared goal of student success in a post-COVID future.

As you know, the CDE is charged in supporting the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 616(e), Title 34, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). We understand that LEAs continue to face a wave of challenges during this school year and we wanted to provide you some information about CDE’s Monitoring activities for the rest of the school year that will help the planning process for the rest of the school year.

Priorities for Monitoring and Support for the 2021–22 School Year

I believe that when students with disabilities are placed in the right settings with the right support and provided access to the general education curriculum, behavior problems decrease and learning increases, resulting in better long-term outcomes. The work of the SED is centered around this belief. During the 2021–22 school year, the SED’s dedicated monitoring and support efforts are aligned around four priority areas:

  1. High Quality Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)
  2. Positive Behavior Supports
  3. Assessing Learning Needs for Students with Disabilities
  4. Equity and Disproportionality

Special Education Technical Assistance and Support Efforts for School Year 2021–22

The CDE is working with its technical assistance partners, including the Supporting Inclusive Practices project, the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports Coalition, the Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) Improvement Leads, the SELPA Content Leads, and the State Performance Plan Technical Assistance Project to curate a set of high-quality resources that align with high leverage practices. These will include a resource library, webinars, trainings, and individualized technical assistance to support the needs identified by the LEAs.

The SED is supporting a web-based resource hub to make finding effective resources quick and easy for our LEA education partners. The SED will also be working closely with LEAs to identify specific trainings or resources based on the needs of LEAs across the state. The individualized recommendations will be based on Learning Recovery and Alternative Dispute Resolution plans submitted by LEAs and SELPAs and through any monitoring activities. The CDE is sensitive to the fact that there is an abundance of resources currently available, which is why the CDE is curating a list of high-quality resources for LEAs and making individualized recommendations based on the need specific to the LEA.

2021–22 Annual Determination Letter

Each year, the CDE notifies LEAs of their Annual Determination in accordance with IDEA, Section 616(e) and Title 34, CFR sections 300.600–604, and 34 CFR sections 300.646–300.647. This letter is sent to LEAs every year in the beginning of the calendar year. The purpose of the notice is to provide the LEA notification of:

  • The Annual Determination under IDEA Part B
  • Selection of Monitoring Tier and Activities for the Upcoming Year
  • Official Significant Disproportionality Determination

The 2022 monitoring tier will be sent to you in March of this year and will be based on previous year’s monitoring tiers and any additional data collected and reviewed on initial assessments, triennial assessments, and annual and triennial IEPs. This year some LEAs selected for intensive monitoring and LEAs in targeted monitoring for disproportionality will be required to complete the Special Education Plan (SEP) 2.0. The CDE has been working to improve and streamline the SEP process with input from our educational partners. We will also solicit feedback from LEAs participating in monitoring on the new SEP. The Annual Determination letter will provide you more information about the monitoring process and the required monitoring activities and will be accompanied by a webinar on February 24, 2022, at 3 p.m. (Invitation to follow shortly).

I hope this communication is a helpful overview of the engagement that you can expect to see from the CDE, SED in the coming months. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to me by email at CDESPEDDIRECTOR@cde.ca.gov.

I look forward to our continued partnership and collaboration in the future and wish you, your staff and your students a productive, safe, and engaging new year.

Sincerely,

/s/

Heather Calomese, Director
Special Education Division

Last Reviewed: Monday, January 24, 2022

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