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Monitoring Manual

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					Government of the Virgin Islands of the
           United States

         Department of Education
         State Office of Special Education




      Monitoring Manual


              La Verne Terry Ed.D.
                 Commissioner

                 Carrie S. Johns
                 State Director

                 Revision December 2010
                                                  Table of Contents
I. INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................ 3
    A.     MISSION STATEMENT ..................................................................................... 3
    B.     THE STATE OFFICE OF SPECIAL EDUCATION’S VISION ............................. 3
    C.     SCOPE AND OVERVIEW .................................................................................. 4
    D.     DEFINITIONS .................................................................................................... 4
       1.    Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) .............................................................. 4
       2.    Time by which an Individualized Education Program (IEP) must be in Effect . 5
       3.    Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) ..................................................... 5
       4.    Child with a Disability ....................................................................................... 6
       5.    Consent ............................................................................................................ 6
II. SOSE’s GENERAL SUPERVISION RESPONSIBILITY ............................................ 6
    A. GENERAL SUPERVISION SYSTEM .................................................................... 7
       1. State Performance Plan (SPP) .................................................................................. 7
       2. Effective Policies and Procedures ............................................................................ 8
       3. INTEGRATED OFF-SITE AND ON-SITE MONITORING ...................................... 8
       4. DATA ON PROCESSES AND RESULTS ................................................................ 8
       5. TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT .................. 9
       6.    EFFECTIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION .............................................................. 9
       7.    FISCAL MANAGEMENT ................................................................................. 9
III.     MONITORING PROCEDURES ............................................................................. 9
IV. IDENTIFICATION OF NONCOMPLIANCE .......................................................... 14
V.      CORRECTIVE ACTION PLANS; REWARDS AND SANCTIONS ...................... 15
MONITORING PROCEDURES, LETTERS, and FORMS ............................................ 18




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June, 2008
VIRGIN ISLANDS DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION-STATE OFFICE OF SPECIAL
EDUCATION



I. INTRODUCTION


The purpose of this Monitoring Manual is to operationalize the mandates of state and federal law
and the Virgin Islands Department of Education’s Special Education Rules (referenced to as
Rules). This manual reflects the procedures to be utilized in meeting the requirements of the
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the federal regulations and the state Rules
implementing it. This Manual is intended to guide the work of the State Office of Special
Education (SOSE) staff in preparing for and conducting monitoring activities by describing the
scope of the information that the Virgin Islands Department of Education’s (VIDE’s) SOSE
expects to review and analyze. This Manual also serves to make the SOSE’s monitoring
activities transparent for the state’s school districts (also referred to as the Local Educational
Agencies or LEAs) and for the general public.

It is the responsibility of the SOSE to ensure that all children with disabilities are educated in the
Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) to prepare them for further education, employment and
independent living. The SOSE adheres to the concept that a free and appropriate public
education (FAPE) refers to special education and related services determined by the
Individualized Education Program (IEP) team and documented on the child’s IEP, and must be
based on the child’s unique needs and not his or her disabilities category.

        A. MISSION STATEMENT

The mission of the Department of Education is to provide the Territory’s children with an
education which will make them competitive with their peers in the rest of the Caribbean, the
United States, and the world; that takes advantage of our uniqueness of being geographically
Caribbean and politically American; that integrates all disciplines; and that educates the whole
child.

        B. THE STATE OFFICE OF SPECIAL EDUCATION’S VISION

The vision of the SOSE is to maximize the educational potential of children with disabilities in
the Virgin Islands through an integrated and cohesive set of support programs, services and
activities that will result in the acquisition of life long skills and independence. The SOSE has
been established to ensure that eligible children with disabilities, ages three (3) through twenty-
one (21), who reside in the Virgin Islands have available to them a full continuum of FAPE
placement options including access to the general curriculum, accessible facilities, programs, and
services that are implemented in the LRE. The SOSE adheres to the principal that children with
disabilities should be educated in the general education setting to the maximum extent possible.
This office is mandated by the IDEA and Rules to monitor services provided to children and
youth in public, private and residential settings. This includes ensuring compliance with State
policies, federal legislation, and both the federal regulations and our local rules. In addition, the

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SOSE is responsible for procurement, allotment of federal funds, and maintenance of a technical
assistance and dissemination program.

The VIDE is responsible for developing and maintaining a system that ensures that each child
with a disability receives a free appropriate public education and that each family has the benefit
of a system of procedural safeguards. The federal law places the “general supervision”
responsibility with the SOSE to monitor and enforce. The SOSE ensures that each LEA provides
a FAPE to each child eligible for special education and related services from the time of the
child’s third (3rd) birthday through age twenty-one (21), or until the child graduates with a
regular diploma.


The SOSE recognizes that the creation of quality programming and successful outcomes for
children with disabilities requires more than technical compliance with procedural rules. The
SOSE believes, however, that legal compliance is the basis on which high quality programs are
built. Also, incessant conflict between parents and districts over unresolved compliance issues
diverts energy from other educational tasks that deserve attention. Similarly, the need to provide
compensatory education to reimburse parent expenses and to pay attorneys’ fees at the end of a
long conflict diverts critical resources away from what should be the main focus, which is
providing direct educational services. It is thus the responsibility of the SOSE to promote and
ensure compliance with special education statutes and regulations through a coordinated program
which includes: review of the state plan; complaint management; monitoring; technical
assistance; and funding decisions.



        C. SCOPE AND OVERVIEW

The United States Virgin Islands Department of Education is an Executive Department of the
Government of the Virgin Islands mandated under Titles 3 and 17 of the Virgin Islands Code.
The SOSE is the division operating under the direct supervision of the Office of the
Commissioner of Education, responsible for the general supervision, monitoring and
enforcement of all aspects of IDEA, Part B and the Virgin Islands Act 4667 (referred to as Act
4667). As stated by Title 17, Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 24, Section 285, the Department has
the authority to exercise general control over the enforcement of the laws relating to education in
the Virgin Islands. These duties include, but are not limited to, the administration and operation
of all publicly supported elementary and secondary education programs in the Virgin Islands,
such as, vocational, adult, special education, pupil transportation, and library services to non-
public schools in the territory.

        D. DEFINITIONS

1.      Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
The least restrictive environment requires the LEA to ensure that children with disabilities are
educated to the maximum extent possible with children who are non-disabled. Special classes or
other removal of children from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature
or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of
supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily, or, when provided
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supplementary aids and services, the nature or severity of the disability is so disruptive to the
environment that the education of other children in such classes would be significantly impaired.
34 CFR§300.115.

2.      Time by which an Individualized Education Program (IEP) must be in Effect
At the beginning of each school year, the SOSE must ensure that each public agency, including
the LEAS, has in effect for each child with a disability, ages three (3) through twenty-one (21),
an IEP. An IEP is a written statement for a child with a disability that is developed, reviewed,
and revised in a meeting in accordance with the IDEA and the Rules. 34 CFR § 300.112.
Implementation of an IEP for a child who is already identified as being a child with a disability
includes, at minimum, the following factors:

      a. the IEP team must review each child’s educational program at least annually;
      b. placement must be based on the IEP;
      c. unless the IEP requires some other arrangements, each child is to be educated in the
         school that he or she would attend if non-disabled. If there is no appropriate program
         in the child’s school that he or she would ordinarily attend, then preference is to be
         given to the school closest to that child’s home;
      d. the rationale for placement outside the regular classroom shall be based on each
         child’s needs and documented on the IEP; and
      e. the services and placement needed by each child with a disability shall be based on
         the child’s unique needs and not on the child’s disability category.
34 CFR §§ 300.320-300.324.

3.      Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)
Services to eligible special education children, ages three (3) through twenty-one (21), must by
law, be provided at no expense to the parents. However, this does not include incidental fees that
are normally charged to all parents, regardless of whether the child is disabled or nondisabled.
FAPE requires that service be provided in all identified areas of eligibility based upon each
child’s individual capabilities and needs.

FAPE is defined as special education and related services which:

        a. are provided at public expense, under local school or public agency supervision and
           direction, and without charge to parents;
        b. meets the standards of the state educational agency and the state board of education;
        c. includes preschool, elementary school, or secondary school education in the state;
        d. includes all children who have been suspended or expelled from school; and
        e. are provided in conformance with individualized education program (IEP)
           requirements.

FAPE is required to provided to:

        a. eligible children beginning no later than the child’s third birthday;
        b. children who have not graduated from high school with a regular high school
            diploma;
        c. children who have not turned 21 years of age and who have not yet graduated from
            high school may be allowed to complete the remaining academic year in which they
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         turn twenty-one (21), with IEP team approval and approval from the State Office of
         Special Education;
      d. children with an IEP who drop out of school, may return at any time and request to be
         provided with FAPE until the child either graduates with a high school diploma or
         reaches age twenty-one (21).
34 CFR §§ 300.101 and 300.102.

4.      Child with a Disability

A child with a disability is defined as a child who meets the eligibility requirements for one or
more of the disability categories identified at 34 CFR §300.8 and the Rules (Rule II.G), who is
enrolled in school and:

        a. who has been identified as having a disability;
        b. whose disability adversely affects his/her educational performance;
        c. whose unique needs cannot be addressed exclusively through education in general
           education classes with or without individual accommodations; and
        d. who is determined to be eligible for special education services.

5.      Consent

Consent means that the parents have been fully informed of all relevant information relating to
the activity to which the parents’ consent is sought, in the parent’s native language. 34 CFR §
300.9 (a). The parent must understand and agree in writing to the activity and the consent must
include the activities being conducted as well as which records are being released and to whom.
34 CFR § 300.9(b).

Upon receipt of parental consent for evaluation, each child is mandated to receive a
comprehensive evaluation in all areas of suspected disability, followed by a meeting with
members of the IEP team which includes the parent, to determine eligibility for special education
and related services. Following a determination of eligibility, the IEP team, develops an IEP to
address the child’s needs in special education programs and related services. If the team
determines that a child is a child with a disability under the IDEA, the IEP must be developed
and a placement determined based on the child’s needs and the underlying tenant of putting the
child in the LRE environment. 34 CFR § 300.9.



II. SOSE’s GENERAL SUPERVISION RESPONSIBILITY


Under 34 CFR § 300.149 and Act 4667 §285, the State Educational Agency (SEA) through its
State Office is responsible for ensuring that:

        1. the requirements of the IDEA and Act 4667 are carried out; and
        2. each educational program for children with disabilities administered within the
            Territory, including each program administered by any other Territorial or local
            agency,
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June, 2008
                (a) is under the general supervision of the persons responsible for educational
                    programs for children with disabilities in the Territory; and
                (b) meets the educational standards of the State Educational Agency;

        3. the State Office must have in effect policies and procedures to ensure that it complies
           with the monitoring and enforcement requirements at 34 CFR §§300.600 through
           300.602 and §§300.606 through 300.608 and § 285 of Act 4667;
        4. the SOSE must comply with the requirements of the Nadine Jones Consent Decree; and
        5. the SOSE must also comply with the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (relating to
            homeless and migrant children.) 34 CFR § 300.149.

            A. GENERAL SUPERVISION SYSTEM

The General Supervision System consists of the following components:

               State Performance Plan with Measurable Targets;
               Policies, Procedures and Effective Implementation;
               Integrated On-Site and Off-Site Monitoring Activities;
               Data on Processes and Results;
               Targeted Technical Assistance and Professional Development;
               Effective Dispute Resolution;
               Fiscal Management

Although the components are described separately, they connect and interact to form a
comprehensive system. Each component informs and gains information from the others.

1. State Performance Plan (SPP)

The SPP is the territory’s accountability mechanism for monitoring its performance under Part B
of the IDEA, including how the State complies with the IDEA requirements to provide: Free
Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), eliminating
Disproportionality based on inappropriate identification procedures, Effective General
Supervision, Child Find and Effective Transitions. Annually, the SOSE must report to the
Secretary and to the public through its Annual Performance Report (APR) an analysis of the
Territory’s performance on meeting the targets of each Indicator. The SPP/APR is made
available to the public, by the SOSE, through posting on its website (www.usviosep.org),
distribution to the media, and distribution through public agencies.

In accordance with 20 U.S.C. §1416(b)(1) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education
Improvement Act (IDEA) amendments of 2004, not later than one year after the date of
enactment of IDEA 2004, each State must have in place a performance plan that evaluates the
State’s efforts to implement the requirements and purposes of Part B and describe how the State
will improve such implementation.




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2. Effective Policies and Procedures

The SOSE’s policies and procedures are aligned with the IDEA Part B requirements and Act
4667. These policies and procedures include descriptions of activities to identify noncompliance
and the range of sanctions the state office can use to enforce compliance. The SOSE is required
as part of its annual grant application for federal funds, to provide assurances to the United States
Department of Education (the Department) that it has in effect policies and procedures to meet
all eligibility requirements of Part B of the Act and its applicable regulations. 34 CFR Part B.
The LEAs, likewise, must provide written assurances to the state in their annual Applications for
Funds under the IDEA that they have in effect policies and procedures to ensure implementation
of the IDEA, including FAPE in the LRE. 34 CFR §§ 300.200 and 300.201.

Prior to the adoption of any policies and procedures needed to comply with this section
(including any amendments to such policies and procedures), the SOSE is required to ensure that
there are public hearings, adequate notice of the hearings, and an opportunity for comment
available to the general public, including individuals with disabilities and parents of children
with disabilities. (20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(19); 34 CFR§300.165). The Virgin Islands Special
Education Rules, revised July 2007, are the Virgin Islands equivalent to the federal regulations
and are incorporated into the SOSE’s procedures. The Rules complement the IDEA regulations
and include all elements relative to the education of children with disabilities in the territory.

To further facilitate implementation of the IDEA, the SOSE utilizes Interagency Agreements and
Memoranda of Understandings (MOUs), as needed.

3. INTEGRATED OFF-SITE AND ON-SITE MONITORING

The SOSE utilizes a variety of methods to measure that the districts’ are compliant in their
implementation of the IDEA and the Rules. Based on data and other information provided by
the LEAs, SOSE assesses the level of each LEA’s performance and compliance with SOSE’s
policies and procedures as well as the LEAs policies and procedures to the extent that they have
not adopted SOSE’s. The extent and duration of performance concerns are considered in the
determination of whether to implement interventions and/or impose sanctions.

4. DATA ON PROCESSES AND RESULTS

Data is collected from LEAs through the IDEA § 618 annual federal data reports, Tables 1 – 7,
and is utilized by the SOSE to report progress to the Department in its State Annual Performance
Report (APR), which is due annually on February 1st. Data collected by the SOSE on the State
Performance Plan (SPP) Indicators are examined, verified, and reported to U.S. Department of
Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and the public via the SOSE’s
website and made available in district offices, the Commissioner’s offices, curriculum centers,
and the State Offices of Special Education. The SOSE also utilizes the data and information from
sources such as monitoring activities, alternative dispute resolution activities, and informal
complaints from parents, guardians, or organizations. The SOSE verifies data through multiple
methods and activities including monitoring activities such as desk audits, by obtaining
information from Goalview Data Student Management System (Goalview) and from the School
Administration/Student Information System (SASI) to make a comparative determination of data
accuracy, as well as, by conducting on-site verification visits.
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The SOSE uses the data collected to determine patterns and trends in the Territory and in each
LEA, to identify areas that may need improvement, corrective action and/or technical assistance;
as well as, to evaluate performance Territory-wide, and of each LEAs, on the SPP indicators.
The SOSE routinely posts data and other pertinent information on its website for the public’s
review and as mandated under Section 618, including posting the SPP/APR and LEA
Determinations. The SOSE is also responsible for implementing and coordinating No Child Left
Behind (NCLB) school improvement activities with its SPP improvement activities.

5. TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

The SOSE provides technical assistance and training to LEA staff to ensure that all staff
responsible for providing FAPE to children with disabilities in the Territory are fully informed
about their obligation to maintain a full continuum of placement options..

Technical assistance is an integral part of the SOSE’s system of general supervision which
includes a range of assistance for LEAs to improve performance. In accordance with the federal
regulations found in Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 300, the IDEA, Act
4667, the Nadine Jones Consent Decree, and the Rules, the SOSE carries out technical assistance
and training activities, as needed, to assist teachers and administrators in all public agencies to
ensure that they are fully informed about their responsibilities to provide FAPE in the LRE for
all children with disabilities in the Territory. Technical Assistance and Professional
Development are provided when a need is indicated by analysis of data, results of monitoring
activities and upon request.

6.      EFFECTIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION

The SOSE’s Monitoring and Compliance Unit is responsible for monitoring the overall
performance of the LEAs and for ensuring the timely resolution of complaints, state complaints
and due process requests. SOSE and LEA administrators, hearing officers and mediators are
trained annually in the IDEA requirements for dispute resolution processes which include:
resolution meetings, mediation, state complaint investigation and due process hearings. Results
of the dispute resolution system are analyzed to determine systemic issues in the LEAs, as well
as, the overall effectiveness of the dispute resolution system.

7.      FISCAL MANAGEMENT


III.    MONITORING PROCEDURES


The SOSE utilizes monitoring strategies that are integrated across components of
its general supervision system. Multiple methods and various data sources are used to
monitor each LEA. Monitoring activities include: desk audits, facilitated self-assessments,
surveys, off-site reviews, on-site monitoring activities and monitoring the LEA’s implementation
of corrective action plans. The SOSE uses the results of its integrated monitoring activities to
make § 616 determinations for each LEA, and to report the LEA’s performance on SPP targets.

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Monitoring is conducted in various areas of the LEA’s function including: LEA plans, policies,
procedures, areas of statewide interest, complaint investigations, administrative orders, and areas
where there have been repeated deficiencies. These areas are explained more fully under Target
Monitoring as these are the topics of investigation generally associated with that specific type of
monitoring.
The SOSE’s monitoring procedures and protocols are tailored to address specific performance
goals in the SPP. The data collected by the SOSE is used to assess results- based indicators and
to assess the LEA’s improvement, compliance, and progress. Data is collected from: § 618
federal reports, the dispute resolution system, cyclical and focused monitoring, reports required
by OSEP as part of the special conditions imposed on the jurisdiction for its grant award under
Part B of the IDEA, and based on the stipulations in the Nadine Jones Consent Decree.

The SOSE’s Monitoring Process is a three-tier process, designed to focus federal, state
and local resources on improved educational results for children with disabilities, while also
maintaining a focus on compliance. The SOSE is committed to going beyond paper compliance,
as it moves towards focusing on student success. The monitoring process is designed to allow
the LEAs to be an integral part of the monitoring experience, thereby encouraging on-going self-
assessment and self-monitoring.

The IDEA requires the SOSE to adopt and use procedures to ensure that local educational
agencies within the State who are responsible for providing education to students with disabilities,
meet the educational standards of the State. 34 CFR §300.600(a)(2)(I)(ii).

Below is a more detailed description of the types of monitoring and what they entail, listed in
order from least invasive to most intense.

    A. Off-Site Monitoring

The SOSE uses the following procedures when it conducts off-site monitoring reviews:

TIER-I: Tier-I activities include on-going monitoring of the LEA’s activities through monthly
and quarterly reports submitted by the Special Education Director of each LEA in the
jurisdiction. Specific information is requested from the LEAs, such as: child count data
(obtained on December 1, annually), data on the number of pupils who are receiving special
education and related services, personnel vacancy data, and the numbers of due process requests,
formal state complaints, and numbers of mediations and resolution meetings. The Monitoring
and Compliance Unit of the SOSE is responsible for reviewing and analyzing the data reports
and for submitting follow-up correspondence to the LEAs when and where there are issues of
noncompliance. Tier 1 monitoring activities include but are not limited to the following:

    1. Desk Audits. Desk audits are a review of randomly selected children’s educational
records from Goalview. The purpose of desk audits is to verify data, as well as to assist with the
identification of areas of noncompliance, such as: parental consent to evaluate, timely
reevaluations, timely triennial evaluations and written IEPs, and compliance with hearing
determinations. It is also used to ascertain if there is evidence of correction for any previously
identified noncompliance and to identify areas that require technical assistance or more intense
monitoring activities. The desk audits also provide an opportunity for the SOSE monitoring staff
to verify LEA compliance by the least intrusive method, as opposed to conducting on-site visits.
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    2. Surveys. Surveys are another non-invasive tool used to obtain information from
 larger groups of stakeholders such as parents and others who are not located within the LEAs
directly. For example, during the 2007-2008 school year, the SOSE entered into a Memorandum
of Agreement (“MOA”) with the Eastern Caribbean Center of the University of the Virgin
Islands to conduct a survey on parent satisfaction with special education. The results of the
survey were used to inform the SOSE and the public about parent perceptions of the usefulness
and fairness of the special education system for children and families. The results of this survey
were used to inform the SOSE of its areas of strengths and weaknesses and provided guidance on
where changes and improvements need to be made. Surveys are also utilized to obtain data on
post-school outcomes to help develop improvement activities at the LEA and State levels.


    3. Facilitated Self Assessments. Facilitated Self-Assessment (FSA) is a web-based, self
-monitoring tool used to assist the LEAs in evaluating their own performance and compliance on
each of the indicators of the SPP. Embedded in the FSA are the State’s protocols for each
indicator and the procedures for monitoring compliance in each area. The FSA allows the LEA
to be introspective and gauge its own performance in addition to helping it see and discuss its
strengths and weaknesses with the monitoring team prior to any on-site monitoring activities.

  A. On-Site Monitoring
The SOSE uses the following procedures when it conducts on-site monitoring activities:

Tier-II: Tier-II activities include on-site monitoring such as cyclical and focused monitoring.

1. Cyclical Monitoring - Approximately 11 schools within the LEAs are selected annually for
cyclical monitoring on a rotating basis. (See Appendix __ for a list of schools and when they are
scheduled for cyclical monitoring). The primary goal of cyclical monitoring is to examine: all
areas of compliance and non-compliance relating to Part B of the IDEA. Some of the areas
examined include: strategies used by the LEA; examination of critical child-centered documents;
classroom observations; interviews of parents and LEA personnel; and analysis of the LEA’s
policies and procedures. The monitoring activities are designed to allow the team to view the
same subject matters in different ways and from different sources, so that an accurate and valid
comparison can be made.

The three (3) components of the Cyclical Monitoring are:

           Facilitated Self-Assessment (FSA) (See off-site monitoring section above).

           Interviews – The SOSE’s monitoring team interviews parents, regular and special
            education teachers, students, and administrators to ascertain each of these
            stakeholder’s perceptions; level satisfaction; and their level of understanding of the
            special education and related services programs at the school. Student interviews are
            only conducted at the junior high and high school levels with those students who wish
            to participate.



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           Study of Service Delivery – During the Study of Service Delivery portion of cyclical
            monitoring, the SOSE’s monitoring team randomly selects student files for review
            using Goalview. Files of approximately 11% of the district’s special education
            students from across the total number of schools involved in the cyclical monitoring
            process each year, with a minimum of 15 and a maximum of 50 files per LEA, are
            selected and then reviewed from the child’s initial date of screening for services
            through the implementation of the students’ IEPs. Children selected for this review
            generally include those who were recently identified in each area of disability, in
            addition to children’s names that are randomly selected from a list generated by
            Goalview. The Study of Service Delivery component entails reviewing children’s
            records, interviewing children’s teachers and parents, and observing classes. This in-
            depth study allows the reviewer to focus on essential areas such as
            comprehensiveness of the evaluation, the relationship between the evaluation and the
            IEP, the degree of parent involvement, placement rationale, and whether the child is
            actually receiving the program identified in their IEP. This monitoring process allows
            the monitoring team to see how the LEA’s special education process and policies
            work for individual children.


Cyclical and focused monitoring, which are described below, have a distinct schedule and set of
protocols that are followed. Approximately one month prior to an on-site visit, the Compliance
Manager or designee holds a planning meeting, in person or by phone, with the Insular
Superintendent and other designated staff from the LEA to discuss an overview of the
monitoring process. This meeting would encompass deadlines for completing the FSA,
scheduling on-site visits so that the monitoring team can review files, interview parents and
teachers (and students when appropriate) and provide an opportunity for the Compliance
Manager or designee to explain and answer any questions the LEA may have regarding the
purpose of parent and educator surveys, the timelines for submission of requested information, or
any other aspect of the monitoring. A follow-up written memorandum memorializing the
activities to be conducted prior to the on-site visit, as discussed during the planning meeting, as
well as the agreed upon schedule for on-site activities, is sent to the Insular Superintendent and
the District Director of Special Education.

Monitoring is conducted annually and is continuous. In addition to the planning conference and
on-site visit, the Compliance Unit reviews the completed FSAs and all other documentary
information submitted by the LEAs. A checklist indicating the LEA’s compliance based on the
submitted information is subsequently completed and becomes a part of the Consolidated
Monitoring Report. Following review of the documentary material submitted by the LEA, and
after analysis of the interviews, observations and file reviews, the monitoring team provides
feedback to the LEA and details areas of compliance, noncompliance and whether an
improvement plan or corrective action plan is needed. The final report for both cyclical and
focused monitoring, details strengths and weaknesses and indicates what action, if any, is
necessary to be taken by the LEA. After the report is distributed, a meeting is held, led by the
Compliance Manager or designee, with the Insular Superintendent, the District Director of
Special Education and other designated staff to discuss the results of the monitoring and SOSE’s
expectations for follow-up by the LEA.


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2. Focused Monitoring – Focused Monitoring is conducted on an “as needed” basis to
determine non-compliance with federal and territorial regulations. The primary goal of focused
monitoring is to positively impact educational results and functional outcomes for all children
with disabilities while ensuring that LEAs meet state and federal requirements. It centers
attention on those requirements that are most closely related to improving educational results
for children with disabilities. The focused monitoring process includes assessing each LEA’s
performance as measured by the SOSE’s monitoring protocols; reviewing selected programs
on-site; ensuring correction of noncompliance; and identifying areas in need of technical
assistance. When noncompliance is identified through on-site monitoring activities, a written
report is issued to the LEA, addressed to the Insular Superintendent and District Director of
Special Education, specifying expected actions that the LEA must take (e.g., submitting
corrective action plans to ensure that noncompliance is corrected in a timely manner, but in no
case later than one year from identification).



Tier-III Tier III activities are on-site and are utilized when there is reported noncompliance.

C. Target Monitoring – Target monitoring is employed when a specific problem or area
of noncompliance is brought to the SOSE’s attention. This method of monitoring employs the
same processes as Tier II. The idea of this type of monitoring is to work on-site and to review
files and/or interview staff, as needed, to confirm noncompliance and then to work with the LEA
to provide specific technical assistance in the areas of need and to develop an improvement plan
or corrective action plan (“CAP”), depending on the need.

Target Monitoring is intended to scrutinize the following areas:

        LEA plans, policies, and procedures – In this area, the SOSE analyzes LEA plans,
        policies, and procedures which relate to the identification, evaluation, programming, and
        placement of children with disabilities and the provision of a FAPE to identify specific
        issues of noncompliance. For example, the procedures and policies used to inform
        parents of their rights, the LEA’s screening protocols, their procedures for implementing
        public awareness of activities, and their policies related to behavior management may be
        requested and analyzed.

        Statewide issues – The SOSE may monitor issues of noncompliance previously
        identified in its annual report to the Department that have statewide impact. Some
        examples might include: incidents of inappropriate over-identification of children by
        disability, excessive placement of children in approved private schools, limited
        availability of placement options, lack of parental involvement in the multidisciplinary
        process, issues related to the development of comprehensive evaluation reports used to
        determine eligibility and to develop IEP’s, or issues relating to transition services.

        Complaint investigations – This aspect of target monitoring may entail an investigation
        of the number, kinds, and patterns of regulatory deficiencies resulting from formal


VIDE State Office of Special Education Monitoring Manual                                          13
June, 2008
        administrative complaints, including EDGAR (relating to financial expenditures) and
        complaints filed with the Office of Civil Rights.

        Administrative orders – SOSE staff may also investigate follow-up by the LEA of
        administrative orders and corrective action determinations resulting from hearing
        officers’ decisions, appealed decisions, SOSE formal complaint investigations, and
        directed compliance agreements from federal entities.

        Repeated deficiencies –This aspect of target monitoring hones in on investigating
        deficiencies identified in a previous school year that is identified again in the next year’s
        monitoring activities.

IV.   IDENTIFICATION OF NONCOMPLIANCE

Identification of Noncompliance

The SOSE, in September of every year, before its Annual Performance Report (APR) reporting
period, reviews its State Data System for the purpose of identifying noncompliance regardless of
the source of data establishing the noncompliance. The SOSE must make a finding of
noncompliance in a timely manner, unless, in verifying whether the data demonstrate
noncompliance, the SOSE determines that the data do not demonstrate noncompliance; or the
SOSE verifies that the LEA has corrected each individual case of noncompliance and that the
LEA is correctly implementing the specific regulatory requirement based on a SOSE review of
updated data.
If the SOSE identifies that compliance is less than 100%, it must make a finding of
noncompliance; or verify whether the data demonstrate noncompliance or verify that the LEA
has corrected the noncompliance before the State issues a written findings of noncompliance. In
addition, the State must verify that correction has already occurred or ensure correction of the
noncompliance when it finds any level of noncompliance. The nature of the corrective actions
may vary depending on the extent of the noncompliance and other factors.
Before the SOSE may conclude that the LEA has corrected the noncompliance, it must also
examine updated data to ensure that the LEA has achieved 100% compliance. The updated data
reviewed can be for less than the entire reporting period and a subset of all children. New
students records are reviewed for updated data. A finding remains open if the updated data
reviewed did not show 100% compliance. Any findings identified in the updated data review
found by the SOSE must be corrected as soon as possible but in no case later than one year.
Further updated data is reviewed until the LEA achieves 100% compliance.
In verifying the correction of noncompliance, the SOSE must verify that the LEA has corrected
each individual case of noncompliance and is correctly implementing the specific regulatory
requirements based on SOSE’s updated data.




VIDE State Office of Special Education Monitoring Manual                                           14
June, 2008
V.     CORRECTIVE ACTION PLANS; REWARDS AND SANCTIONS

        A. Corrective Action Plans

Corrective Action Plans are employed when critical issues of noncompliance are identified or,
when repeated non-compliance occurs. In such circumstances, the SOSE Monitoring Unit would
have completed cyclical, focused and/or target monitoring activities as discussed above. As
explained previously, the next step after meeting with the Insular Superintendent and District
Director of Special Education is the development of a corrective action plan (CAP). The purpose
of the CAP is to develop a strategy, with resources, to correct the noncompliant issues.
Accordingly, the CAP is to specify the remedial actions to be taken at the local level and the
timelines for correcting the specific issues of noncompliance that were discovered during the
monitoring activities. (See Appendix ___ for an example of a template for a CAP). The SOSE
monitoring unit continues to monitor the corrective action plan developed by the LEA for at least
a one-year period, or longer if needed.

The primary reason for using a CAP is that unless the cause of a condition is identified and
eliminated, the condition will likely continue to exist. In each case of procedural error or non-
compliance, there are two areas of correction necessary: the correction of the noncompliance at
its source , and correction of the system of internal controls that failed to identify and eliminate
the cause of the specific area of noncompliance. The main objective of the CAP is to: achieve
and maintain compliance; have the LEA’s decide how best to correct the noncompliance
themselves; and ensure systemic changes that will create significantly improved results and
outcomes for children with special needs and their families.

The development of the CAP should include the following basic elements. It should identify
changes that are necessary within the LEA, its supports, and practices to achieve and maintain
the desired results and outcomes for children with disabilities. It should build-in techniques that
the LEA can use to self-monitor and self-evaluate the effectiveness of the CAP. It should detail
how the LEA will review and revise its plans if the original plan outlined in the CAP is
ineffective in correcting the areas at issue; and it should detail how the LEA will prove to the
SOSE that it has corrected the areas of non-compliance and has techniques to prevent recurrence.


Steps and timelines for developing a CAP:

     1. The LEA uses the Final Monitoring Report from Cycle, Focused or Target Monitoring to
        review each area of noncompliance and each finding of irregularity.

     2. The LEA develops the corrective action plan and identifies local participants and
        resources to implement the elements in the plan.

     3. For each issue identified in the final report, the LEA identifies the desired outcomes for
        children with disabilities and their families.




VIDE State Office of Special Education Monitoring Manual                                         15
June, 2008
    4. The LEA then determines by reviewing the final report, which indicators or cluster of
       indicators correspond to the noted areas in need of improvement.

    5. In its CAP, the LEA identifies and details activities and resources to achieve the desired
       compliance outcomes.

    6. The LEA also sets deadlines for completing each activity and for reporting back their
       progress to the SOSE.

    7. The LEA has sixty (60) calendar days from the date of issuance of the Final Monitoring
       Report to develop the Corrective Action Plan and provide it to the SOSE.

    8. The SOSE has thirty (30) days to review the CAP and provide written notice to the LEA
       as to whether the CAP is accepted or needs modification. If the CAP is in need of
       modification, the SOSE works with the LEA to develop the revised CAP to ensure that
       the plan is effectively developed to correct the noncompliant issues and areas that were
       noted as findings in its Monitoring Report.

Once the CAP has been fully implemented successfully, the deficiency is considered closed,
however, the SOSE will continue to monitor the LEA on these issues to ensure on-going
compliance. If the CAP is not fully implemented and there is insufficient progress towards
implementation, the Monitoring Unit notifies the State Director, who in turn informs the Insular
Superintendent of the LEA at issue. If there continues to be insufficient progress after the
Director of the State Office of Special Education contacts the Insular Superintendent, the LEA
will be given thirty (30) days to demonstrate substantial progress with the CAP at risk of
sanctions being imposed. If there continues to be noncompliance and a lack of substantial
progress, then the State Director will impose sanctions, while the LEA is still obligated to fully
implement the CAP, which will continue to be monitored by the SOSE.


            B. Sanctions

The SOSE monitoring activities serve to identify areas in which the LEAs are noncompliant, as
well as pinpointing areas in which they have made notable progress or can be commended for
innovative and effective practices. To have a viable, useful, and effective system of general
supervision, the focus must be on improving educational results and functional outcomes for all
children with disabilities; and ensuring that the SOSE meets the program requirements of the
IDEA and the Rules. 34 CFR § 300.600

The SOSE has developed a set of rewards and sanctions as follows:

Rewards may include: the SOSE facilitating a sharing of successful practices by the LEA
that has developed an innovative or effective program; a letter of praise sent to the
Commissioner of Education detailing the LEA’s success; a positive press release or “halo” in the
local newspaper; and/or publicly presenting the persons responsible for the LEA’s
accomplishment or success.


VIDE State Office of Special Education Monitoring Manual                                         16
June, 2008
Alternatively, sanctions may include: technical assistance; corrective action plans; publicly
announcing or publishing the LEA’s failures along with corrective action timelines; partial
withholding of federal funds earmarked for the LEA until the noncompliance is corrected; total
withholding of federal funds earmarked for the LEA until the noncompliance is corrected; and if
these sanctions do not work, the SOSE may assume partial or full control over the operation of
the LEA’s programs that are noncompliant.




TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE


Technical assistance is used not only as a sanction, but also to enhance program quality.
Technical assistance may be provided directly from the SOSE or from other consultants who
provide technical assistance at the state level, such as the National Early Childhood Technical
Assistance Center (NECTAC), Regional Resource Center F (RRCF), National Secondary
Transition Technical Assistance Center (NSTTAC), and the Southeast Regional Resources
Center (SERRC).


AUTHORITY
   Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as amended 2004
   Section 292 of Act 4667 U. S. Virgin Islands Education of the Handicapped Act
   Virgin Islands Department of Education Special Education Rules




VIDE State Office of Special Education Monitoring Manual                                          17
June, 2008
MONITORING PROCEDURES, LETTERS, and FORMS


    1.      Insular Superintendent’s Letter of Notification of Monitoring

            -   List of documents and reports required from district, with enclosed required
                forms:
                     i. Overview
                    ii. Most Recently Identified Children
                   iii. Teacher’s Caseloads, Class Size Report
                   iv. Distribution of School-Aged Children
                    v. Extracurricular and Non-Academic Activities
           -    Sample Annotated School Calendar
           -    General Monitoring Schedule




VIDE State Office of Special Education Monitoring Manual                                       18
June, 2008
                                              GOVERNMENT OF
                                THE VIRGIN ISLANDS OF THE UNITED STATES
                                                    -----0-----
                                       DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
                                        State Office of Special Education
                                                   1834 Kongens Gade
                                           St. Thomas, Virgin Islands 00802-6746

                                                        (DATE)

Insular Superintendent
School District
(Address)

Dear Insular Superintendent:

          The Virgin Islands Department of Education has the responsibility to ensure that all school districts
providing services either directly or by contractual arrangements administer special education services and programs
that are in compliance with applicable state and federal laws and regulations. In order to fulfill this responsibility,
the State Office of Special Education has established administrative procedures that provide ongoing monitoring of
program implementation, including evaluation of the appropriateness, effectiveness, and accountability of special
education services and programs provided by school districts.

         This letter is being sent as official notification of monitoring to be conducted by the State Office of Special
Education in your school district during the week of (Week of Monitoring). The on-site review team will employ a
variety of strategies designed to gather information regarding the district’s application of state and federal special
education mandates. The strategies they will use for the monitoring review may include interviews with
administrative and instructional staff, parentsa review and analysis of policies and procedures, document review,
and studies of service delivery. The monitoring team chairperson will obtain a random sample of children from your
school district from Goalview about 30 days prior to the on-site visit. The chairperson will randomly select a sample
of approximately 11% of children with disabilities from Goalview’s list for the Study of Service Delivery portion of
their monitoring. In addition, on the enclosed form, you are required to provide the chairperson with a list of the 5
most recently identified children in each disability category, 5 children who most recently exited from special
education, 5 children who most recently transitioned from early intervention to school age, and 5 children who
graduated in the previous school year. Any combination of these children, totaling a minimum of 15 to a maximum
of 50, will comprise the Study of Service Delivery.

         In preparation for the review, the district must also compile certain policies, plans, and reports. Please refer
to the enclosure for details. Several school district personnel will be interviewed during the monitoring process
including building principals, regular and special education teachers, school psychologists, supervisors, and others.
Also enclosed is a general schedule for monitoring to give you an idea of the flow of events. The chairperson of the
team, (Chairperson), will work directly with you or your designee to answer your questions and finalize logistics.

        Following the on-site review, a report of findings will be presented to the school district administration.
The report will identify areas of noncompliance and will provide timelines for any needed corrective action.




        Thank you in advance for assisting the state office to meet this mandated monitoring requirement. We
VIDE State Office of Special Education Monitoring Manual                                                              19
June, 2008
recognize that this will involve disruption of your normal operations and we apologize for any inconvenience.
However, we believe that the outcome will be positive and will result in system-wide improvement in program
quality. You may address questions and concerns to the designated chairperson.

                                                             Sincerely,



                                                             Carrie S. Johns
                                                             State Director

Enclosures:      Documents and Reports Required from District (Forms Included)
                 Overview
                 Most Recently Identified Children
                 Teacher’s Caseloads, Class Size Report
                 Distribution of School-Aged Children
                 Extracurricular and Non-Academic Activities
                 Sample School Calendar
                 General Monitoring Schedule

Cc:      Assistant Commissioner of Education
         Deputy Superintendent
         District Director of Special Education
         Chairperson, Virgin Islands Advisory Panel on Special Education (VIAPSE)




      2. Chairperson’s Letter of Notification of Monitoring

VIDE State Office of Special Education Monitoring Manual                                                        20
June, 2008
                                             GOVERNMENT OF
                               THE VIRGIN ISLANDS OF THE UNITED STATES
                                                   -----0-----
                                      DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
                                       State Office of Special Education
                                             1834 Kongens Gade
                                    St. Thomas, Virgin Islands 00802-6746

                                                      (DATE)

District Director
(ADDRESS)

Dear Director:

         This letter is to inform you that the (NAME) School District has been scheduled for special education
cyclical monitoring by the Virgin Islands Department of Education, State Office of Special Education during the
week of (Date of Monitoring). As part of this process, the State Office affords each local task force the opportunity
to submit written information regarding special education issues which they believe should be brought to the
attention of the monitoring team. This information should be provided to the monitoring team chairperson, (Monitor
Chairperson from SOSE)), at the above address, no later than (Date-2 wks before monitoring).

          The information you provide will be reviewed and, where appropriate and to the extent possible, be
incorporated into the monitoring process. Although the monitoring team would wish to interview all individuals and
groups who may desire such a meeting, time constraints prohibit this. However, all written information provided
prior to the on-site review will be considered.

         Thank you for your cooperation and continued interest in special education.

                                                               Sincerely,


                                                               Carrie S. Johns
                                                               State Director

Cc:      Assistant Commissioner
         Insular Superintendent
         Deputy Superintendent
         Chairperson, Virgin Islands Advisory Panel on Special Education (VIAPSE)
         Chairperson Monitoring Team




VIDE State Office of Special Education Monitoring Manual                                                         21
June, 2008
       CYCLE 1                                 CYCLE 2                       CYCLE 3
 ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS                      ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS            ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

Pearl B. Larsen                       Juanita Gardine                 Lew Muckle
Charles H. Emanuel                    Claude O. Markoe                Evelyn Williams
Eulalie Rivera                        Eulalie Rivera                  Alfredo Andrews
Ricardo Richards                      Alexander Henderson             Yvonne Bowsky
Joseph Gomez                          E. Benjamin Oliver              Herbert Lockhard
J. Antonio Jarvis                     Dober                           Evelyn Marcelli
Jane E. Tuitt                         Ulla Muller                     Gladys A. Abraham
                                      Joseph Sibilly                  Juluis Sprauve
                                                                      Guy Benjamin

     JUNIOR /MIDDLE                    JUNIOR /MIDDLE SCHOOLS              JUNIOR /MIDDLE
        SCHOOLS                                                               SCHOOLS

Elena Christian                       John H. Wood son                Arthur A. Richards
Bertha C. Boschulte                   Addelita Cancryn

      HIGH SCHOOLS                             HIGH SCHOOLS                 HIGH SCHOOLS

St. Croix Central                     St. Croix Educational Complex   Charlotte Amalie
Ivanna Eudora Kean                    St. Croix Educational Complex
                                      Career and Technical

                                                                             ALTERNATIVE
                                                                              EDUCATION
                                                                      Edith Williams




    VIDE State Office of Special Education Monitoring Manual                               22
    June, 2008
                                     Part B – SPP/APR

                                 Monitoring Priorities
                                          &
                                     Indicators




VIDE State Office of Special Education Monitoring Manual   23
June, 2008
INDICATOR 1
 Percent of youth with individualized education programs (IEPs) graduating from high school with a
regular diploma. [20 U.S.C. 1416 (a)(3)(A)]

INDICATOR 2
Percent of youth with IEPs dropping out of high school. [20 U.S.C. 1416 (a)(3)(A)]


INDICATOR 3
Participation and performance of children with disabilities on statewide assessments:
    A. Percent of districts meeting the State’s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) objectives for progress
        for disability subgroups.
    B. Participation rate for children with IEPs in a regular assessment with no accommodations; regular
        assessment with accommodations; alternate assessment measuredagainst grade level standards;
        alternate assessment measured against alternate achievement standards.
    C. Proficiency rate for children with IEPs measured against grade level standards and alternate
        achievement standards.
    [20 U.S.C. 1416 (a)(3)(A)]
INDICATOR 4
Rates of suspension and expulsion:
    A. Percent of districts identified by the State as having a significant discrepancy in the rates of
        suspensions and expulsions of children with disabilities for greater than 10 days in a school year;
        and
    B. Percent of districts identified by the State as having a significant discrepancy in the rates of
        suspensions and expulsions of greater than 10 days in a school year of children with disabilities
        by race and ethnicity.
    [20 U.S.C. 1416(a)(3)(A); 1412(a)(22)]
INDICATOR 5
Percent of children with IEPs aged 6 through 21:
    A. Removed from regular class less than 21% of the day;
    B. Removed from regular class greater than 60% of the day; or
    C. Served in public or private separate schools, residential placements, or homebound or hospital
        placements.
    [20 U.S.C. 1416(a)(3)(A)]
INDICATOR 6
Percent of preschool children with IEPs who received special education and related services in settings
with typically developing peers (e.g., early childhood settings, home, and part-time early childhood/part-
time early childhood special education settings).
[20 U.S.C. 1416(a)(3)(A)]
INDICATOR 7
Percent of preschool children with IEPs who demonstrate improved:
    A. Positive social-emotional skills (including social relationships);
    B. Acquisition and use of knowledge and skills (including early language/communication and early
        literacy); and
    C. Use of appropriate behaviors to meet their needs.

VIDE State Office of Special Education Monitoring Manual                                                24
June, 2008
    [20 U.S.C. 1416(a)(3)(A)]




PART B – SPP/APR MONITORING INDICATORS




PART B – SPP/APR MONITORING INDICATORS
INDICATOR 8
Percent of parents with children receiving special education services who report that schools facilitated
parent involvement as a means of improving services and results for children with disabilities.
[20 U.S.C. 1416(a)(3)(A)]
INDICATOR 9
Percent of districts with disproportionate representation of racial and ethnic groups in special education
and related services that is the result of inappropriate identification.
[20 U.S.C. 1416(a)(3)(C)]
INDICATOR 10
Percent of districts with disproportionate representation of racial and ethnic groups in specific disability
categories that is the result of inappropriate identification.
[20 U.S.C. 1416(a)(3)(C)]
INDICATOR 11
Percent of children with parental consent to evaluate who were evaluated and eligibility determined
within 60 days
[20 U.S.C. 1416(a)(3)(B)]
INDICATOR 12
Percent of children referred from Part C prior to age 3 and who are found eligible for Part B who have an
IEP (or IFSP) developed and implemented by their third birthdays.
[20 U.S.C. 1416(a)(3)(B)]
INDICATOR 13
Percent of youth aged 16 and above with an IEP that includes coordinated, measurable, annual IEP goals
and transition services that will reasonably engage the child to meet post-secondary goals.
[20 U.S.C. 1416(a)(3)(B)]
INDICATOR 14
Percent of youth who had IEPsand are no longer in secondary school, but who have been competitively
employed, enrolled in some type of post secondary school, or both, within one year of leaving high
school.
[20 U.S.C. 1416(a)(3)(B)]
INDICATOR 15
General supervision system (including monitoring, complaints, hearings, etc.) identifies and corrects
noncompliance as soon as possible but in no case later than one year from identification.
[20 U.S.C. 1416(a)(3)(B)]
INDICATOR 16
Percent of written complaints with reportsissued that were resolved within the 60-day timeline, including
a timeline extended for exceptional circumstances with respect to a particular complaint.
[20 U.S.C. 1416(a)(3)(B)]
VIDE State Office of Special Education Monitoring Manual                                                 25
June, 2008
INDICATOR 17
Percent of fully adjudicated due process hearing requests that were fully adjudicated within the 45-day
timeline or a timeline that is properly extended by the hearing officer at the request of either party.
[20 U.S.C. 1416(a)(3)(B)]
INDICATOR 18
Percent of hearing requests that went to resolution sessions that were resolved through resolution session
settlement agreements.
[20 U.S.C. 1416(a)(3)(B)]
INDICATOR 19
Percent of mediations held that resulted in mediation agreements.
[20 U.S.C. 1416(a)(3)(B)
INDICATOR 20
State reported data (618 and State Performance Plan and Annual Performance Report) are timely and
accurate.
[20 U.S.C. 1416(a)(3)(B)]




VIDE State Office of Special Education Monitoring Manual                                                26
June, 2008