Published: August 13th, 2019

PSM UPDATE: 2019-2020 ESS Monitoring Manual Now Available Online

The monitoring manual that will be used by the Arizona Department of Education, Exceptional Student Services (ADE/ESS), throughout school year 2019-2020 is available on the Program Support and Monitoring web page. The monitoring system is designed to ensure public education agencies’ (PEA) compliance with State and Federal requirements for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 2006 (IDEA) and the Arizona Revised Statutes and to support PEA analysis of student outcomes. Although ADE/ESS uses a six-year cycle for monitoring, we continue to implement a yearly review of each PEA’s data related to special education. Compliance and results indicator data, PEA Determinations, and annual site visit data are all reviewed annually by the assigned program specialist in collaboration with the PEA director.

Regardless of where your PEA is in the monitoring cycle, I urge you to begin to evaluate your special education program against the indicators in the monitoring guide. You are free to forward the link to this guide so that your staff is aware of the requirements for each of the major components in special education. They are also available on the Arizona Department of Education web page. If you have any questions, please contact your program specialist. Contact information can be found on the Program Support and Monitoring web page under “Contact Us.”

Posted in Updates |
Published: August 13th, 2019

DATA AND ECE UPDATE: ADE Early Childhood Survey Requirement

ADE/Exceptional Student Services (ESS) and ADE/Early Childhood Education (ECE) sections request that all public education agencies (PEAs) entitled to IDEA Consolidated preschool funds complete a survey that opened on June 17, 2019. The Early Childhood Survey will assist the agency in providing timely technical assistance regarding the operations of early childhood special education programs by PEAs statewide. The survey will be a required activity of each district or charter school serving children with disabilities (3 through 5 years old) and will remain open from June 17, 2019 through September 30, 2019. Instructions for accessing the survey can be found on the ADE web site.

Please email Suzanne Perry (602.542.1113) if you have any questions about the ECE Survey or email Eric Ashenfelter (602.542.4102) if you need help with technical troubleshooting.

Posted in Updates |
Published: August 2nd, 2019

DATA UPDATE: New Infographic to Assist in LRE Reporting for Student Data Submissions

ADE/Exceptional Student Services (ESS) has fielded questions throughout the past year relating to students receiving special education (SPED) services and least restrictive environment (LRE) reporting. As a result, ESS has developed an infographic that helps delineate time spent inside the regular classroom against time spent outside the regular classroom. It can also be applied to help delineate appropriate LRE reporting for students in educational environments.

On the ESS web site are the definitions for the placements and the environments along with the infographic to support the field on their data submissions.

Please email the ESS Data Management Team with questions. Thank you.

Posted in Updates |
Published: July 25th, 2019

VOUCHER INFO: Changes to Home School District Effective August 1, 2019

Special Education Directors,

Following the passage of Senate Bill 1177 during the last legislative session, the definition of home school district (HSD) has changed. The Arizona Department of Education/Exceptional Student Services (ADE/ESS) has reviewed this statutory change and the attached guidance is being provided to clarify which PEA is a child’s home school district for the purposes of vouchering a student. The guidance in this memo takes effect August 1, 2019.

If there are any questions or concerns, please email the Exceptional Student Services Voucher Unit.

Posted in Updates |
Published: July 12th, 2019

PROGRAM SUPPORT & MONITORING UPDATE: Hot Topic – ELs and Students with Disabilities

Given recent findings and questions from the field, the ESS/Program Support & Monitoring Hot Topic reviews the requirements for English Learners (ELs) under the IDEA. Specifically, July’s Hot Topic addresses the requirements for consideration of EL with regard to eligibility determination and IEP development.

Additionally, there have been some changes regarding EL testing requirements provided to the field by ADE/OELAS. The OELAS communication, “ELs with Disabilities,” explains the testing and exiting requirements for all ELs, including those with disabilities. Also of note is the guidance document, “EL and Title III Addendum,” recently released by the USDOE, addressing EL requirements.

ESS realizes this is a complex issue and wants to assist however we can. We are planning on including ELs and Students with Disabilities as a topic on the upcoming Talk with ADE schedule. Additionally, per the ADE/OELAS communication, an ADE EL/Special Education Taskforce will be convened in the fall to discuss these issues.

In the interim, for questions regarding IDEA requirements and compliance, please contact your ESS program specialist. For questions regarding AZELLA and/or EL programming, please contact your regional OELAS program specialist.

Posted in Program Support and Monitoring, Updates |
Published: June 24th, 2019

DATA/OPERATIONS UPDATE: Exceptional Student Services (ESS) Portal is Now Open on ADEConnect

Exceptional Student Services (ESS) has launched the ESS Portal, which will give users a single platform for all Special Education applications in one place! Over the next year, ESS will work on providing an easier and cleaner application interface to all public education agencies (PEAs) required to use Special Education applications. Users who have permission to any ESS application will see the ESS Portal application under ADEConnect. Over time, ESS will be reviewing permissions for all its applications and streamlining the number of applications. This will reduce confusion and save time for everyone using these applications. Please see this screenshot of the ESS Portal, as well as an explanation of some of the current features:

  • Red and green dots (blue arrow) indicate which applications are open for collection/input and which are closed
  • Grayed out sections (orange arrow) indicate applications for which the user does not have permission
  • Upcoming Data Events (green arrow) highlights items that are either due soon, are critical dates in data collections, or are critical process times in applications

As ESS moves into the 2019-2020 school year, there are other enhancements to the ESS Portal in the works. We will add data dashboards for students with disabilities for all PEAs down to the student level. Additionally, we will be consolidating some applications to and making them easier to use, so users can save time on data collection and avoid unnecessary clicks in applications. We are excited to see how the portal will help PEAs and students! Please email the ESS Data Management team with any questions or call 602-542-3962

Posted in Updates |
Published: June 19th, 2019

FISCAL INFO: MOE Eligibility and FY2020 IDEA Grants

Please see the updates from the ESS Program Management Team and share with your Business Manager.

MOE Eligibility
Please see the linked PowerPoint to learn more about the MOE Eligibility Testing requirements that will go into effect this July. The FY 2020 Budget that will be submitted to School Finance by July 15, 2019, will be subjected to the MOE Eligibility test in the ESS Maintenance of Effort Application. The PowerPoint will walk you through how to submit data if your Budget fails to meet the Eligibility Standard.

Substantially Approved Date
Please note: The FY2020 IDEA Consolidated – Entitlement Grant applications have a different Substantial Approval Date process than other ADE grants due to federal IDEA fiscal requirements. ESS is required to wait until July 16, 2019, to review MOE Eligibility statuses and then change a public education agency’s (PEA’s) Substantially Approved Date based on whether the budget meets the Eligibility standard. This date is contingent upon when an adopted budget must be submitted to School Finance. Once your PEA’s application is approved by the ESS Program Specialist, the Substantial Approval Date will revert to July 1 if your application was submitted prior to July 1 or to the most recent date that the grant was updated to LEA Authorized Representative Approved if that occurs after July 1. If your Substantial Approval Date is after July 1, your PEA will be unable to obligate funds prior to that date.

FY 19 Completion Reports
The FY19 IDEA Consolidated – Entitlement grant’s project period end date is September 30, 2019. Completion reports will be available in the Grants Management Enterprise (GME) System for PEAs that would prefer to close out the FY19 books immediately after June 30, 2019. The official due date for the completion report isn’t until 90 days after the end of the project period, so you have until December 30, 2019 to submit your data.

Expanding Charter Requests
If your charter school is expanding and meets the definition of Significant Expansion as found on http://www.azed.gov/specialeducation/operations/, please e-mail ESS Program Management to notify your intent to expand and receive a new calculation for your IDEA allocation. The deadline to notify ADE for consideration of FY20 reallocation will be August 1, 2019.

As always, please e-mail ESS Program Management for any questions regarding your IDEA Consolidated – Entitlement grants. Thank you.

Posted in Updates |
Published: June 6th, 2019

2019 PSO Data Collection Season Has Started!

The PSO application in ADE Connect will be open starting 12:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 1, 2019, and will promptly close at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, September 30, 2019. Please plan accordingly to ensure that you can collect and enter all surveys into the online platform prior to the closure of the data collection season.

As a reminder, the 2019 PSO Survey is different than in previous years.

  • The survey has a total of 14 questions.
  • The hard copy of the new PSO Survey has been updated and matches the web-based version on ADE Connect. You can find the hard copy here.
  • For more information about the changes to the 2019 PSO Survey, please view the PSO Survey Essentials recorded presentation, which is also available on our ADE PSO site (under the “Conducting the Survey” tab).
    • Access the PSO Survey Essentials PowerPoint here.
    • UPDATE: Although the response option of “Other” will still be available on questions 3 & 8, the short-answer feature has been disabled. We apologize for any confusion.

Please visit our PSO page for additional information regarding the survey. Additionally, ADE/ESS will provide training on the revised PSO Survey during Arizona’s Annual Transition Conference, August 19-21, 2019, and through regional and web-based training as needed. Should you be interested in requesting training on PSO, please submit your request through the Secondary Transition Training Request Form.

As a reminder, Transition Specialists are monitoring the PSO inbox ([email protected]) and are prepared to address your questions or concerns regarding PSO. They look forward to supporting you throughout the various stages of this initiative. Please reach out as needed.

Posted in Transition News, Updates |
Published: May 16th, 2019

EXTERNAL PD OPPORTUNITY: College and Career Competency FREE Online Courses Available

Special Education Administrators, please see this flyer from our ADE/Secondary Transition team partners at the University of Kansas. This is the same content that is covered in the ESS College and Career Competency Team Training (CCCTT) capacity building series, but customized for individual participation. Please forward to middle school and high school staff – don’t miss out on this FREE professional development opportunity!

Learn more about the College and Career Competency Framework by visiting: www.cccframework.org.

Posted in Transition Training, Updates |
Published: May 8th, 2019

PS & MONITORING UPDATE: SY 2019-2020 Monitoring Guidesteps and Student File Forms Released

The Arizona Department of Education/Exceptional Student Services (ADE/ESS) is excited to announce the release of the SY 2019—2020 Monitoring Guidesteps and Student File form! This release is the earliest ESS has ever been able to provide this important resource to the field. We hope this helps all public education agencies (PEAs) in planning for the upcoming school year.

Each year, the ESS/Program Support and Monitoring (PSM) team reviews this document, along with findings of noncompliance and technical assistance provided to the field, to enhance the document and make it a better product for PEAs. An overview of this year’s enhancements is included below. As always, please contact your PEA’s assigned program specialist for any questions or assistance needed.


  • Cross-check for reporting in AZEDS re: eligibility and LRE
  • Collection of why progress reporting was called out, when called out
  • Frequency and duration for special education services
  • Progress monitoring for secondary transition services
Posted in Updates |