The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) allows, and sometimes requires, public education agencies (PEAs) to use funds provided under Part B of the IDEA for coordinated early intervening services (CEIS). This provision permits PEAs to use Part B funds to develop and provide CEIS for students who are currently not identified as needing special education, unless they are compelled to provide CCEIS.
2. Why would a PEA use CEIS?
The rationale for using IDEA funds for CEIS is based on research showing that the earlier a child’s learning problems or difficulties are identified, the more quickly and effectively the problems and difficulties can be addressed and the greater the chances that the child’s problems will be ameliorated or decreased in severity. Conversely, the longer a child goes without assistance, the longer the remediation time and the more intense and costly services might be.
3. What are the reporting requirements for CEIS?
The regulations require, in 34 C.F.R. § 300.226(d), each PEA that implements CEIS to report to the State on the number of children who received CEIS and the number of those children who subsequently received special education and related services under Part B during the preceding two-year period. Student reporting for CEIS is done through AzEDS and for each school year and more information can be found in the Technical Assistance Manual for CEIS Reporting.
4. How should a PEA count and track students who received CEIS when funds are used for professional development or a school-wide intervention initiative?
It would be appropriate for a PEA to count, and subsequently internally track for two years, the number of students in need of additional support who received instruction from personnel who participated in the professional development program. It would not be appropriate to count every student who was taught by these personnel if some of the students were not in need of additional support or were already receiving special education services.
PEAs should only count the students and the personnel who participated in the activity for the fiscal year it occurred. A similar method might be used to count students who benefit from a school-wide intervention initiative supported with CEIS funds. Students who meet the PEA’s criteria of needing additional support and participate in the initiative should be counted as receiving CEIS in the fiscal year the activity occurred. Students who participate in an initiative for more than one year should be counted each year they participate. For more details, please see Examples of Fiscal and Child Tracking for Voluntary and Comprehensive Coordinated Early Intervening Services (CEIS).
5. How should a PEA count and track students who received CEIS when funds are used to provide behavioral and educational evaluations?
PEAs may use CEIS funds to provide behavioral and educational evaluations to determine the supports that are needed by students to succeed in a general education environment. However, funds may not be used for evaluations that are intended for use in determining eligibility for special education and related services. Students who are evaluated to determine the supports necessary for success in a general education environment should be counted as receiving CEIS.
6. How may CEIS funds be used to implement Response to Intervention (RTI)?
CEIS funds may be used to support RTI as long as the CEIS funds are used for services to nondisabled students in need of additional academic or behavioral support and to supplement, not to supplant, other funds used to implement RTI. PEAs must ensure that CEIS funds are used to provide services only to students who need additional academic and behavioral support and not to students who currently receive special education and related services.
For example, one RTI framework includes a three-level continuum of instructional support. In this framework, tier one applies to all students in a general education setting. It would not be appropriate to use CEIS funds for tier-one activities that support these students, because these activities are designed to provide high quality instruction to the entire class or school and are not principally intended to address the needs of students who are struggling. Tier-two activities provide specialized, small-group instruction for students determined to be at risk for academic and behavioral problems. It would be appropriate to use CEIS funds to support these tier-two activities for at-risk, general education students. If students who are receiving special education and related services participate in the small group instruction, it would not be appropriate for CEIS funds to be used for these students as CEIS may not be provided to students that are currently identified as needing special education or related services. Tier three includes specialized individualized instructional or behavioral support for students with intensive needs. As in the case of tier-two activities, CEIS funds could be used for activities that support general education students at risk for academic and behavioral problems but could not be used for students who are receiving special education or related services.
7. What activities can be used with CEIS funds?
A PEA may use CEIS funds for:
Hiring or contracting with individuals or organizations for tutoring services to carry out activities. Tutors may:
Participate in or provide professional development to enable teachers and other school staff to deliver scientifically based, academic and behavioral interventions and, if appropriate, the use of adaptive and instructional software.
Support, reinforce, or follow up on the provision of educational and behavioral services provided by and under the supervision of an appropriately certified general education teacher.
Professional development for teachers and other school staff to enable such personnel to deliver scientifically based, academic interventions, including scientifically based literacy instruction and, where appropriate, instruction on the use of adaptive and instructional software.
The professional development may be provided to all personnel who are responsible for students who need additional academic and behavioral supports to succeed in a general education environment but who have not been identified as needing special education. Under limited circumstances, personnel who are solely responsible for students receiving special education services or students who do not need additional support may participate in professional development funded with CEIS funds. These personnel may participate so long as the cost of the professional development does not increase, the quality of the professional development does not decrease, and including those personnel would not exclude other personnel who are responsible for students who need additional support.
Salaries and fringe benefits of aides that are PEA employees or for costs for contracted aides who provide services to students receiving CEIS. Aides must work under the supervision of an appropriately certified teacher and must perform duties consistent with the role of an aide while not assuming the role of a teacher.
Paying for extended contracts or extended hours for staff directly involved with the coordination, supervision, or delivery of academic or behavioral interventions and progress monitoring.
Salaries and fringe benefits, or portion thereof, of staff that directly coordinate or supervise the delivery and monitoring of academic or behavioral interventions.
RTI Coordinator. This position must align with the PEA’s activities as reported in the CEIS narrative. CEIS funds may not be used to fund coordination of services intended to benefit all students or only students with disabilities. For more information on RTI, please see Question 6.
School guidance counselor, school psychologist, or social worker. Staff would be hired to implement behavioral interventions, progress monitoring, other CEIS evaluations, and related professional development. These positions may not deliver reading or math instruction under CEIS funding unless they also hold the appropriate endorsement to deliver reading or math instruction.
Purchasing nominal items of low value to be used as part of the coordinated delivery of academic or behavioral interventions. The items should be educational in nature. The amount charged to the CEIS grant must be reasonable and prudent. The following are not allowed as incentives: cash, cash cards, gift cards, or electronic devices (such as iPads, Kindles, etc.).
Progress monitoring of supplemental interventions provided to those students determined to need additional academic and behavioral supports to succeed in general education. CEIS funds may not be used for universal screening or assessment administered to all students in a grade, school, or PEA.
Travel costs generated as a result of implementing activities funded by CEIS, such as for professional development.