How to Improve District Special Education Compliance & Monitoring (Part 2)

In Part 1, we shared how school districts can strengthen their special education programs to address IDEA Part B and state special education requirements. Here’s how special education administrators leverage Stepwell for Districts to build that foundation for success.

Work in one online, collaborative workspace

Stepwell for Districts provides educators with a single platform for local compliance monitoring and Results Driven Accountability. Progress notes and other documentation are stored in one location, reducing the risk of losing valuable information. Depending on the district’s IEP solution, data for Student Record Reviews and Educational Benefit Reviews can be seamlessly integrated. Built-in messaging, automated alerts and system notifications keep educators on task and on track to meet state deadlines. Dashboards and data visualizations give educators additional visibility into the statuses of tasks, reports, communications and timelines. Staying organized helps districts avoid costly errors and meet students’ needs.

Establish results-driven workflows

You can only blaze a path forward if you know where you’re going. The pathway to compliance can be challenging to map if you’re engrossed in a manual process that doesn’t present a full picture.

Districts are often required to collect information on hundreds of students and adhere to IDEA guidelines spanning data collection, monitoring and correction policies. To achieve this, districts follow a series of steps requiring precise recordkeeping and follow-through. Manual program management can eat hours of staff time and leave room for error.

Stepwell for Districts simplifies IDEA compliance management with built-in, automated workflows. Together, these workflows create a structure that helps local educators adhere to requirements, identify improvement areas and respond to findings. Stepwell’s collaborative platform includes:

  • Policies and Procedures Review to identify written policies and procedures that are not aligned with state or federal requirements. This review automatically generates a summary of noncompliant district-level findings.
  • Student Record Review to monitor student records across the district for issues of noncompliance and assign correction tasks to school administrator.
  • District Monitoring Activity to aggregate student-level findings at the district level. After receiving the results, district administrators can review findings and issue correction activities to initiate system-level improvements.
  • Educational Benefit Review (coming early 2024!) to evaluate the quality, completeness and consistency of district IEP development and implementation. By reviewing the contents of a sample of IEPs over three years, educators can determine whether individual students’ IEPs resulted in educational benefits.
  • District Correction Activity to improve systems and processes following the Student Record Review and/or Policies and Procedures Review. Teams can work collaboratively to conduct guided data analysis, develop plans and address planned action steps.
  • Student Level Correction Activity to track completion of corrective action required for noncompliant student records.

Stepwell guides district leaders as they work to fulfill IDEA requirements while identifying process bottlenecks and program strengths and weaknesses.

Use data to make impactful programmatic decisions

If you had historical data showing how you could improve service delivery and better allocate student resources, wouldn’t you use it? Unfortunately, many districts lack the tools to analyze their special education program data consistently and effectively.

With Stepwell for Districts, you can use the information that’s provided during the IDEA compliance monitoring process to transform how student services are delivered. The platform includes data visualization tools and a reporting engine that helps you tell your district’s story. Using its built-in aggregation tools, district leaders can slice and dice data to help answer questions such as:

  • How many indicators did we meet this year compared to last year?
  • How successful was the district in completing its IEPs on time?
  • How well are IEPs providing educational benefit to our students?
  • Can we address any root causes of issues so they don’t happen again?
  • What trends are we seeing that we can investigate to better prepare for the future?

Addressing IDEA requirements will always be complex. However, they ultimately exist to ensure positive outcomes for students with disabilities. District and school educators share this same goal. By taking the steps to make IDEA compliance monitoring a priority, your district can simultaneously meet state and federal requirements and gain new insights to improve the quality of your special education program.