Dear Colleague Letters

OSEP releases letters to share information and guidance on various topics when a need arises or there are changes to current practice or procedures.  Below are two Dear Colleague Letters, one addresses Highly Mobile children and youth, the second addresses the bullying of students with a disability.

Link to OSERS Dear Colleague Letters: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/memosdcltrs/index.html

 

 

Dear Colleague:

Ensuring a high-quality education for highly mobile children is a critical responsibility for all of us. Highly mobile children include children experiencing frequent family moves into new school districts, such as military-connected children, migrant children, children in the foster care system, and children who are homeless. While these children often possess remarkable resilience, they also experience formidable challenges as they cope with frequent educational transitions. The purpose of this letter is to address concerns expressed by stakeholders regarding the unique educational needs of highly mobile children with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and to seek your assistance in improving the educational stability of, and post-school outcomes for, these highly mobile children.

Read the full letter and guidance at: http://www.azed.gov/special-education/files/2013/09/osep-highly-mobile.pdf

Dear Colleague:

We know that it is vital that all students, including students with disabilities, are engaged in positive, safe, and nurturing school environments in which they can learn, develop and participate.  Today, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) is issuing guidance in the form of a Dear Colleague Letter that provides an overview of school districts’ responsibilities to address bullying of students with disabilities.

Under IDEA, States and school districts are obligated to ensure that students with disabilities receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment.  This guidance specifically states that bullying of a student with disabilities, regardless of whether or not the bullying is related to the student’s disability, is considered a denial of FAPE if it results in the student not getting meaningful educational benefit.

The release of our guidance coincides with the start of the school year and we want schools to be equipped with the tools to prevent bullying.   The enclosure to OSERS’ Letter, “Effective Evidence-based Practices for Preventing and Addressing Bullying,” offers practices that can be used as part of any bullying prevention and intervention program.  States and schools should reevaluate their policies and practices ensuring that problematic behaviors, including bullying, are addressed.  Every effort should be made to structure school environments and provide supports to students and staff so that bullying does not occur.

Letter: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/memosdcltrs/bullyingdcl-8-20-13.pdf

Enclosure: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/memosdcltrs/bullyingdcl-enclosure-8-20-13.pdf

Click here for the blog by OSERS Acting Assistant Secretary Michael Yudin.  The Dear Colleague Letter and the Enclosure are included in the blog.

 

 

On Wednesday, June 19, 2013, The U.S. Department of Education issued a Dear Colleague Letter on Braille. This information is helpful in clarifying the application of the IDEA requirements regarding Braille instruction for children who are blind or visually impaired.

“The U.S. Department of Education is committed to ensuring that children who are blind and visually impaired have access to Braille instruction and Braille materials,” said Michael Yudin, Acting Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the Department of Education.  “The ability to read and write Braille competently and efficiently is critical to ensuring students who are blind and visually impaired graduate from high school college and career ready.”

The purpose of this letter is to provide guidance to States and public agencies to reaffirm the importance of Braille instruction as a literacy tool for blind and visually impaired students, to clarify the circumstances in which Braille instruction should be provided, and to reiterate the scope of an evaluation required to guide decisions of IEP Teams in this area. This letter also identifies resources that are designed to help strengthen the capacity of State and local personnel to meet the needs of students who are blind or visually impaired.

OSEP Dear Colleague Letter on Braille, June 19, 2013
http://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/memosdcltrs/brailledcl-6-19-13.pdf

For this letter, and other OSEP Memos, Dear Colleague Letters and Policy Letters, please click here.