DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
SUPTS. MEMO NO. 40
Sept. 15, 2006
Billy K. Cannaday, Jr.
Superintendent of Public Instruction
National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS): Additional Assurance Required for IDEA Part B Grant
One of the topics addressed by IDEA 2004 is the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS), which is designed to streamline access to instructional materials for students who are blind or have other print disabilities (see Attachement B, NIMAS in IDEA 2004).
Every state is required to adopt the NIMAS. NIMAS outlines a set of specifications for document source files created by K-12 curriculum publishers or other content producers that can be used to create accessible formats of print instructional materials. Curriculum materials covered by NIMAS include printed textbooks and printed core materials that are written and published primarily for use in elementary and secondary school instruction and that are required by a state or school division for use by students in the classroom. Each state must provide an assurance to the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (US-OSEP) as part of the State's IDEA Part B application that students who need curriculum materials in alternate formats are provided with those formats in a timely manner to ensure access to the general education curriculum.
state may choose to "opt-in" or "opt-out" of the National Instructional Materials Access
Center (NIMAC). NIMAC will create a national repository of NIMAS source
files that can then be converted into formats that are accessible by students
who are blind or have other print disabilities (see Frequently Asked Questions
about NIMAS & NIMAC, Attachment C. Note that this version of the FAQ is a
late-stage draft. Answers may change in the future as new information about
NIMAS becomes available.)
Each division has the option of participating in NIMAC. Whether a division does or does not participate in NIMAC, the division will be responsible for ensuring that each child who requires instructional materials in an alternate format will receive them in a timely manner. The Virginia Department of Education recommends that divisions choose to participate in NIMAC, because this national effort to centralize the distribution of instructional materials in alternate formats will help guarantee timely provision of such materials to students.
For divisions that choose to participate in NIMAC, contracts with publishers executed on and after December 3, 2006, for textbooks and other printed core materials must include a provision that requires the publisher to produce NIMAS files and send them to the NIMAC (this should not add any cost to the contract). Curriculum publishers have been involved in discussions relating to NIMAS and are well aware of its requirements. An example of contract language used in some states can be found under Districts Responsibilities at http://www.doe.mass.edu/sped/2006/nimas.html.
In lieu of, or in addition to, choosing to participate in NIMAC, each LEA may contract with curriculum publishers directly to purchase accessible, student-ready versions. In most cases, however, you will find that publishers will not have such versions for sale.
is a one-page form entitled NIMAC Participation Assurance Statement (Attachment A). The superintendent of
each division is required to review this assurance statement, and to indicate
if you will "opt-in" to the NIMAC or opt-out. If you opt-out, you must still provide
materials in an alternate format and in a timely manner. Please complete the assurance statement
(attached), and return it before November 6, 2006, to: Debbie Pfeiffer,
Virginia Department of Education,
For more information:
Time School Divisions
9:00 a.m. 10:00 a.m A G
11:00 a.m. 12 noon H P
2:00 p.m. 3:00 p.m. R Y