How to Improve District Special Education Compliance & Monitoring (Part 1)

Complying with IDEA Part B regulations and providing reports required by state Offices of Special Education demands countless hours of time and energy from district special education administrators, faculty, and staff every year. If that commitment of administrative effort is complicated by a finding of programmatic non-compliance, an entirely new workstream begins. It can be overwhelming to think about the work involved—building a team tasked with addressing the identified systemic issues; gathering data relevant to a finding; studying it carefully to understand root causes; tailoring policies, programs and practices to address the issue; and then implementing the solution while monitoring the results. Capturing all activity related to monitoring compliance, improvement planning and implementation in one place almost becomes a requirement itself.

Building a Foundation for Success

Districts can build a strong foundation supporting special education programs to monitor compliance long before they result in a noncompliant finding. With this in mind, we created Stepwell for Districts to give local educators the tools to manage a Results Driven Accountability (RDA) program built on:

  • Root cause analysis: Districts and states should use data to understand the true nature of the problem to be solved.
  • Qualitative data collection: By expanding the type of data collected, states and districts get a more complete picture of how special education programs perform.
  • Capacity building: Empowering education teams to evaluate their special education results allows them to make appropriate improvements more efficiently.
  • Differentiated interventions: Based on data evaluation, teams should develop tiered monitoring and intervention cycles.
  • Transparency: Local districts should clearly understand accountability standards and how to meet them.
  • Incentivization of the right activities: Rather than rewarding superficial measures, districts should understand the outcomes of complex, results-based indicators.
  • Better improvement planning: Systems that address the root causes of failure and focus on improving results rather than simply correcting non-compliance yield stronger outcomes.
  • Active team engagement: When educators work together on improvement planning, they fully partner to ensure student success.
  • Cross-divisional work: Eliminating silos helps general and special education teams coordinate their efforts to support student success.
  • Front-loading technical assistance: By taking a more proactive, system-enhanced approach to providing special education monitoring support, districts can more easily comply with state and federal requirements.

Putting in place the right tools to support compliance monitoring and continuous improvement initiatives will save special education administrators time and ultimately result in better support for students.

Learn more about how Stepwell for Districts addresses these needs in Part 2 of this blog series.