P.O. BOX 2120



May 12, 2006


TO: Division Superintendents


FROM: Patricia I. Wright

Acting Superintendent of Public Instruction


SUBJECT: Special Education State Performance Plan and Monitoring Requirements Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-446)



The purpose of this memo is to provide information on steps the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is taking to implement the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004), Public Law 108-446, with regard to the development of and submission of a State Performance Plan (SPP).


Section 616 (b) of the reauthorized IDEA, requires states to develop and submit a State Performance Plan (SPP) to the U.S. Department of Education (USED). States are required to focus primarily on specific activities for:


- improving educational results and functional outcomes for all children with disabilities; and


- ensuring that States meet the program requirements with a particular emphasis on those requirements that are most closely related to improving educational results for children with disabilities.


In addition, this section of the IDEA requires States to monitor local educational agencies (LEAs) using quantifiable indicators to adequately measure performance in each of the following three priority areas:


- provision of a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment;


- state exercise of general supervisory authority, including child find, effective monitoring, the use of resolution sessions, mediation, and a system of transition services; and


- disproportionate representation of racial and ethnic groups in special education and related services, to the extent the representation is the result of inappropriate identification.


Virginias State Performance Plan was developed with broad stakeholder input and includes 20 performance indicators, specified by the USED. Fourteen (14) of the indicators are specific to school divisions. Rigorous and measurable targets have been or will be developed for all 20 indicators. The performance plan also describes VDOEs activities to improve results for students with disabilities.


Several of the indicators will require the department to collect new data from school divisions, including information resulting from parent and student surveys. School divisions will be informed once the department has specifics from the USED on which data will need to be collected and how to report these data.

In order to meet these new requirements under the IDEA 2004, a subcommittee of a stakeholder group is working with the departments monitoring specialists to redesign the states monitoring system to focus primarily on the requirements of the SPP. It should be noted that VDOE is still required to monitor school divisions for compliance with all regulatory and procedural requirements under the IDEA.


Finally, as required in the reauthorized IDEA, starting in 2007, states must report annually to the public on the performance of each school division on the targets in the SPP. Again, school divisions will be informed once the department has specifics on which data will be reported to the public and how the data will be reported.


VDOE staff members have provided school division special education staff information about the State Performance Plan requirements and will continue to do so through meetings and electronic communications as more information becomes available from the U.S. Department of Education.


Virginias State Performance Plan was submitted to the U.S. Department of Educations Office of Special Education Programs on December 2, 2005, with revisions to the plan submitted on January 20, 2006.


The revised plan is available for review at the Office of Special Education and Student Services page on the Department of Educations website (


Questions related to Virginias State Performance Plan should be directed to Mr. Paul J. Raskopf, Director of Financial and Data Services, at or at (804) 225-2080. Questions specific to monitoring activities related to the State Performance Plan should be directed to Dr. Sandra E. Ruffin, Director of Federal Program Monitoring, at (804) 225-2768 or at





Copy: local Directors of Special Education