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Department of Education’s Statement on the Release of New Hampshire’s Special Education Determination Letters

The New Hampshire Department of Education supports the U.S. Department of Education’s (USED) Results Driven Accountability Initiative (RDA) that has produced a new evaluation system, which takes both compliance and outcomes for students with disabilities into account. From the start, the USED was committed to several key principles to guide the development of the new accountability framework, including transparency, stakeholder involvement and burden reduction.

“Our districts have high expectations for students with disabilities and we provide the resources and support necessary to meet these expectations,” said NH Commissioner of Education, Virginia M Barry, Ph.D. “Although the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) has focused on the complexities of compliance with the law, in NH we believe that in addition to compliance there must also be collaboration, communication, cooperation, and caring to support learning for all students.

The U.S. Department of Education has been issuing determination letters since IDEA was reauthorized in 2004, but the determinations were previously based solely on compliance issues. RDA brings into focus the educational results and functional outcomes for children with disabilities while balancing those results with the compliance requirements of IDEA.

This is the first year of the new system that rates states, 50% on compliance and 50% on outcomes, and as a result, NH demonstrated both a high level of compliance and performance. “NH will continue to use our compliance and performance results to focus our strategic initiatives to help school districts improve outcomes for students with disabilities,” said State Director of Special Education, Santina Thibedeau.

More information can be found at

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New Hampshire Department of Education
101 Pleasant Street | Concord, NH | 03301-3494
Telephone: (603) 271-3494 | TDD Access: Relay NH 711