USDOE Issues Guidance and Solicits Ideas on Implementing IEP Goals at Students’ Enrolled Grade Levels

The US Department of Education (ED) has disseminated a Dear Colleague letter emphasizing that NCLB and IDEA regulations require students’ IEP goals to be aligned with curriculum from the grade level the child is enrolled in so that students with disabilities have meaningful access to state academic content standards (guidance-on-fape-11-17-2015.pdf). The overall focus of the requirements is to prepare students with disabilities for further education, employment, and independent living.

The letter also requests your comments so that better implementation of the requirements can occur (both in all special education populations and with English language learners). ED is interested in examples of models of alignment of IEP goals with state content standards that are working well at the state and local levels. If you are interested in commenting, please e-mail your comments to [email protected] or write to US Department of Education, 550 12th Street SW, PCP Room 5139, Washington, DC 20202-2600.


OSERS Policy Clarifying Terms Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, and Dysgraphia In IDEA

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (OSERS) has received communications from stakeholders, including parents, advocacy groups, and national disability organizations, who believe that state and local educational agencies (SEAs and LEAs) are reluctant to reference or use dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia in evaluations, eligibility determinations, or in developing the individualized education program (IEP) under the IDEA

This policy guidance letter clarifies that there is nothing in the IDEA that would prohibit the use of the terms dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia in IDEA evaluation, eligibility determinations, or IEP documents.


2016 IDEA Basic Entitlement Allocations Reasons for Decrease

The 2016 IDEA Basic Entitlement Application is available in the Arizona Department of Education Grants Management system and the 2016 IDEA Basic Entitlement Allocations are posted on the ESS website at Individual local education agencies (LEAs) may see a decrease in their allocations. There are multiple reasons why this could have occurred.

  • The IDEA grant to Arizona did not increase; therefore, the allocation amount to distribute to all eligible LEAs remained the same as FY 2015.
  • During 2015, approximately 145 charter schools submitted the IDEA Charter School Expansion Act (CSEA) application, in which they identified special education eligible students enrolling in their charter during 2015. Within that application, they reported the district/charter from which the student withdrew. Each of these students was moved from the prior LEA to the new/expanding charter in the base special education counts for each of these prior district/charters and the new/expanding charter.
  • Individual LEAs may have had a decrease in their 10/1/14 enrollment and poverty counts as compared to counts reported 10/1/13.
  • Districts may have had a decrease in the reported number of parentally placed private school or home schooled students within their district boundaries reported 10/1/14 as compared to the reported counts on 10/1/13. This would affect the total enrollment used in the formula.
  • There was an increase in the number of Arizona LEAs eligible for IDEA funds due to new non-profit charter schools opening during the 2014/2015 school year.
  • The increases in the total special education base count, total enrollment, and students living in poverty resulted in the funds being spread further among eligible LEAs.


2016 IDEA Basic Entitlement Application

The Arizona Department of Education/Exceptional Student Service division is pleased to announce the release of the 2016 IDEA Basic Entitlement application. The purpose of these funds is to assist in assuring that all children with disabilities, aged 3 through 21, have available to them a free appropriate public education (FAPE) which emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs. A LEA may use the funds under Part B for the excess costs of providing special education and related services. It is strongly recommended that you download the 2016 IDEA Basic Application Download and worksheets prior to the final online application submission. You may confirm your FY 2016 allocation by viewing the 2016 IDEA Basic Entitlement Allocations at


Dear Colleague Letter related to IDEA Dispute Resolution.

Some public agencies may be filing due process complaints concerning the same issue that is the subject of an ongoing State complaint resolution, ostensibly to delay the State complaint process and force parents to participate in, or ignore at considerable risk, due process complaints and hearings. As noted in the Dear Colleague Letter, this moves parents into a more adversarial and costly dispute resolution process and is not in the best interest of children. Note that this letter clarifies existing requirements relative to the IDEA provisions for State complaints and due process, and does not change the requirements or add additional burden.


Students with Visual or Hearing Disabilities Now Have Access to Children’s TV Programs

Dozens of children’s and family TV episodes may now be viewed by children with visual or hearing disabilities using closed captioning and auditory descriptions. The U.S. Department of Education recently announced that free, video-on-demand children’s programming through the Accessible Television Portal project would allow students who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, or hard of hearing access to children’s television programming. Children in K–12, their teachers, interpreters, and family members are eligible to register for the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP).

More than 40 programs such as, The Magic School Bus, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Ocean Mysteries, Expedition Wild, and Inventions That Shook the World are available with several seasons and episodes ready for use. Go to to apply for the program. After the approval process, accessible content can be used with, and by, students in the classroom and at home via the web, mobile phones and tablets, mobile apps, and set-top boxes. Be sure to make your teachers aware of this opportunity for their students.


Department of Education Sets Up New Family Policy Website

The US Department of Education (ED) has established a family policy website to dispense information about the two federal laws concerning privacy in schools—the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA). The website includes videos, resources for parents and school officials, and ways to contact ED with privacy questions. You’ll find the website at