A message from the
Massachusetts Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)

May 2022
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DESE Special Education Updates
Key updates and announcements for special education leaders
  1. Upcoming Special Education Leaders' Meeting
  2. IEP Improvement Project
  3. Mileage Reimbursement Changes
  4. PD Provider Registry
  5. Pyramid Model Initiative Conference Summary
  6. In Case You Missed It
Upcoming Special Education Leaders’ Meeting 
The next Special Education Leaders’ Meeting will be held on Friday, May 13th, from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM. 

The Zoom link for this meeting will be sent to Special Education Leaders in a separate email. 
IEP Improvement Project
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is working to improve outcomes for students with disabilities via a collaborative, multi-stage initiative called the IEP Improvement Project. In a key development of that project, we are excited to announce that a draft IEP form is available for initial public review. We encourage you to examine the draft form and share it with any others who might be interested in assisting in this stage of the work.

Key Design Elements
As you review the draft form, you will notice the following elements that guided the design:
  • Simplified format (length, usability, language)
  • Data-driven and student-centered process
  • Strength-based approach
  • Focus on Least Restrictive Environment
  • Transition planning more directly included in the IEP process
  • Purposeful inclusion of student and family/caregiver voices
Next Steps
In the months ahead, the Department and its partners will work to improve the draft IEP form based on the feedback received. Future active stakeholder engagement will occur this summer, and we will purposefully seek out input from anyone who wants to offer feedback on this new draft IEP form. In the coming weeks, we will follow up with more information about how you can offer your feedback. For now, we encourage you to get to know the draft form, and we will be eager to hear what you think.
Mileage Reimbursement Changes
As you know, under the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's regulations "if a parent provides transportation to an eligible student requiring special transportation consistent with the requirements of 603 CMR 28.05(5)(b), the school district shall reimburse such parent the prevailing rate per mile for state employees." 603 CMR 28.07(6). Effective March 20, 2022, the prevailing rate per mile is 58.5¢ per mile. 58.5¢ per mile per mile represents an increase of 13.5¢ over the previous rate of 45¢ per mile. In accordance with the regulations, mileage is determined based on a direct route between the student's home and school. Also, no parent is obligated to provide such transportation.
PD Provider Registry
The Department is pleased to announce that the 2022 Spring Professional Development (PD) Provider Registry application is now available. The application is for providers interested in becoming approved and added to DESE’s online registry, approved providers seeking approval for additional content areas, and providers who need to renew their three-year approval status. The Department welcomes applications from a variety of new and continuing professional organizations, non-public schools, not-for-profit organizations, private and for-profit organizations, individuals, educational partnerships, corporations, educational agencies, and associations whose PD programs demonstrate characteristics of the Massachusetts Standards for High Quality Professional Development.
The online application will be available through Wednesday, May 18 on DESE’s PD Resources & Tools for Providers page. Applications will be reviewed starting on Monday, May 23 in order of receipt, with an expected turnaround time of one to two months. Providers are encouraged to consider offering online PD opportunities. Anyone with questions about the application should email
Pyramid Model Initiative Conference Summary
Massachusetts participated in the National Training Institute on Effective Practices conference, held April 18-22, 2022, in Tampa, FL. The conference provided participants with an intensive learning experience on the Pyramid Model framework and how states and participating programs can improve the social emotional outcomes of young children with disabilities through the use of a research-based, tiered system of support. Two of the external coaches for the state's Pyramid Model initiative, Liz Daniels and Marcela Simpson, along with MA DESE Special Education Planning and Policy staff, Juin Liu, showcased Massachusetts' work and accomplishments with Pyramid Model implementation.  

Pictured below are attendees: Rob Corso - Executive Director of the Pyramid Model Consortium, Marcela Simpson - External Coach, Liz Daniels - External Coach, and Juin Liu - MA DESE Special Education Early Learning and Literacy Supervisor.
In Case You Missed It
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