New Hampshire State Department of Education
Special Education Program Approval & Improvement Process
The New Hampshire Department of Education (NHDOE) is responsible for assessing the impact and effectiveness of State and local efforts to provide a "Free Appropriate Public Education" (FAPE) to children and youth with disabilities, ages 3-21. The NHDOE has contracted with Southeastern Regional Education Service Center (SERESC) to work with families, students, educators and communities of New Hampshire to shape its special education program approval work in a way that drives and supports results for children and youth with disabilities.
Mission, Vision and Core Values
The purpose of the Special Education Program Approval and Improvement Process is to ensure that children and youth with disabilities ages 3-21 are afforded a free and appropriate public education and are provided opportunities to learn. The process ensures that students with educational disabilities have access to; can participate in; and can demonstrate progress within the general education curriculum, thereby improving student learning. The Special Education Program Approval Team assists the NH Department of Education by assessing the impact and effectiveness of State and local efforts, monitoring Local Educational Agencies' (LEAs) implementation of IDEA per federal mandate, reviewing current educational research and providing technical assistance to the field.
The Mission of Special Education Program Approval and Improvement Process is to improve educational results for all learners.
All students are ensured access, participation and progress in the school's Core or Tier I Curriculum taught by certified or qualified content specialists. Instructional targets for each grade and content are clear, common, and understood by all practitioners for all students. Learning targets are clear for each student. There are common formative assessment/methods for measuring student progress/mastery toward meeting instructional targets for all students. There is a process and systematic response in place for when some students aren't able to demonstrate learning mastery for each instructional target. There is time dedicated and protected for teams of grade or content level staff to meet and analyze student-learning outcomes and develop responses to meet the needs of those students who need additional instruction or enrichment. There are consistent protocols and processes in place for teams to use when meeting including: Team roles, norms, cut scores, data sets, interventions, etc. Students with an IEP are guaranteed the supports necessary to access, participate and progress in the general education curriculum. There is a process for evaluating the school's effectiveness in implementing aligned curriculum, instruction delivered with fidelity and formative assessments to measure student learning and a system in place for responding when some students do not learn what is expected. There is strong parent and family engagement within the educational community.
Because the Special Education Program Approval and Improvement Team values the rights of students and student learning, we work to ensure that all students are guaranteed access, participation and progress in the general education curriculum and that all students are part of one proactive educational system. We believe all students can learn to high levels when provided with scientific, research-based instruction. Each student is unique and learns in different ways. Educational decisions are based on data and outcomes following a problem-solving method. Instructionally relevant, valid and reliable assessments serve different purposes and assist in identifying the continuum of student needs. Staff must receive professional development, follow-up modeling, and coaching to ensure effectiveness and fidelity at all levels of instruction. We value a collaborative partnership among the New Hampshire Department of Education, school leadership, general and special educators, parents and students. A systems approach to school improvement and data-driven decision-making are critical aspects of the Special Education Program Approval work. Our values include lifelong learning and professional excellence; integrity; ongoing reflection and self-assessment; strong collaboration; accountability and strong leadership.
During the 2006-2007 school year the NHDOE Bureau of Special Education, in partnership with SERESC, worked with 3 school districts in the design and piloting of a New Special Education Program Approval Model, called "Focused Monitoring." Focused Monitoring is a point of convergence for IDEA 2004 and No Child Left Behind (NCLB), demonstrating that two federal mandates cannot only co-exist, but work together to benefit all students.
Case Study Compliance Review
The Special Education Program Approval and Improvement Model is designed as a self-assessment review for all New Hampshire private schools. The core Case Study Compliance Review is required of private schools at the time of their NHDOE Special Education Program Approval. An in-depth yearlong improvement process is an optional activity available to each site during their approval year.
Both the Case Study Compliance Review and the Yearlong Improvement Process involve teams of general and special educators, parents, students, administrators and school board members working together to assess the work of the school and review related outcomes for students with educational disabilities. The NHDOE Special Education Program Approval and Improvement Process is designed to result in improvement planning that addresses issues of non-compliance as well as identifying goals, activities, and timelines for continuous improvement.
SAU and Private School Final Reports Forms and Resources Approved Private Special Education Programs Request for Out of State Programs Entered into NHSEIS (Form 1) Program Approval and Improvement Process Year End Reports Request for Out of State Programs Entered into NHSEIS (Form 2) NHDOE Special Education Program Approval
and Improvement Process
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