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Considerations for Supporting a Successful Start to the 2020-2021 School Year for Students With Disabilities

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  • Topics

    Improvement and Implementation Science > Action Planning, Infrastructure Development > Local Education Agency Capacity, Policy > IDEA, Stakeholder Engagement > Communication Strategies, Systems Alignment
  • SSIP Phase

    SSIP Phase III

  • Author

    Rorie Fitzpatrick and Jamie Wong, NCSI

To successfully launch the 2020-2021 school year for students with disabilities, state education agencies (SEAs) have an essential leadership role to play in supporting local school systems to plan for multiple scenarios, including services delivered in-person, through distance learning, and via blended approaches. There are two overarching categories to think about as states support districts and other local school systems with planning: 
1.    Learning Considerations for individual students and student groups
2.    Legal Considerations for meeting compliance obligations under IDEA
Across the country, local context and conditions for school reopening will vary across states, and possibly also be different within states. Accordingly, strong state leadership will extend to supporting a variety of individual circumstances. This leadership includes the need to support local systems to develop and implement clear plans for how they will ensure a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for students with disabilities within context-specific service delivery models and approaches. This document identifies some key concepts for school launch as particularly focused on students with disabilities and suggests questions that SEA leaders consider in order to support local system success. These considerations are not the be-all, end-all; this document serves to flag some of the most important things for SEAs to address and can be useful for SEAs across the country.

June 2020