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

November 2022
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DESE Special Education Updates
Key updates and announcements for special education leaders
  1. Upcoming Special Education Leaders' Meeting
  2. Supporting Successful Transitions from Early Intervention to Early Childhood Special Education
  3. Early Childhood Transition Survey
  4. Parent Focus Groups for the SPP/APR
  5. Restraint Data for SY2021-22
  6. Chapter 688 Electronic Referral System – Turning 22
  7. In Case You Missed It - Educational Stability Office Hours and Resources
Upcoming Special Education Leaders’ Meeting 
The next Special Education Leaders’ Meeting will be held on Friday, November 18, 2022 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
The Zoom link for these meetings will be sent to Special Education Leaders in a separate email.  
Supporting Successful Transitions from Early Intervention to Early Childhood Special Education
AnLar, an education consulting firm, is working with the Department of Public Health (DPH) and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to provide support to early intervention programs and public-school districts serving young children with disabilities. As part of this work, AnLar is offering regional meetings for technical assistance support around early childhood transitions
Please consider attending a regional meeting to:
  • Hear updates about what is happening in early childhood transition;
  • Learn strategies to support successful transitions from Part C early intervention to Part B special education services; 
  • Make connections with colleagues in your region.
Region Date and Time (Eastern) Registration
(Berkshires/Pioneer Valley) 
November 15 @ 12:30pm - 1:30pm Registration Link
Central  November 16 @ 1pm - 2pm Registration Link
Greater Boston  November 17 @ 1:30pm - 2:30pm Registration Link
Southeast  November 29 @ 1pm - 2pm Registration Link
Cape Cod  November 30 @ 12:30pm - 1:30pm Registration Link
North Shore  December 1 @ 12pm - 1pm Registration Link
Early Childhood Transition Survey
AnLar is conducting an initial survey of each district and Early Intervention Services (EIS) agency in Massachusetts. The results will help them to develop appropriate technical assistance resources.
Each district or EIS agency should have only one representative complete this survey. That person should ideally be someone familiar with early childhood transitions and the processes used in the district and/or agency. The deadline to complete the survey is Friday, November 11, 2022. This nine-question survey will take you approximately 6 minutes to complete and can be accessed here:
Parent Focus Groups for the SPP/APR
The Office of Special Education Planning and Policy (SEPP), in collaboration with the Federation of Children with Special Needs (FCSN), is proud to announce meetings for parents and caregivers during the months of November - January that will provide information about statewide special education data and accountability. For more information about these meetings, including topics and times, please visit:
Restraint Data for SY2021-22
Please be advised that DESE plans to post student restraint data for the 2021-22 school year online this Thursday, November 10. As in previous years, the data documents instances in which students in Massachusetts public schools, public school collaboratives, and approved day and residential special education schools were restrained by staff during school hours, as reported by each school. It will take the same form as what is posted now for 2020-21 at

If you have any questions about the data, please email
Chapter 688 Electronic Referral System – Turning 22
Please ensure your school has an active Access Administrator. All school districts are required to complete the Virtual Gateway Services Agreement and identify an Access Administrator. VG Services agreement as well as Information regarding the Access Administrator role and the designation form is located at: Virtual Gateway Provider Users |
If your district is registered but you have not submitted Authorized User information, or would like to add or remove an Authorized User, please access the User Request Form at:  User Request Forms |
The Access Administrator will then signs and forward the completed form to
Email Notifications
If you are not receiving notifications on an active referral, please submit Customer service ticket to Systems Support Helpdesk (EHS) to ensure a distribution list is active for your school district.
Adding/removing a name from the active distribution list is as simple as submitting a customer service ticket requesting an Update.
Be sure to specify:
  • Email subject: Turning 22 Distribution List Update – School Name
  • The name of the distribution list to be updated
  • Name(s) and email(s) to be added/removed
If you do not know the distribution list for your school, please contact the BTP office.
Lastly, If you are a newly registered school District please contact the BTP office to ensure proper mapping of your school in the system before attempting to submit any referrals
For assistance with additional questions, please contact
In Case You Missed It - Educational Stability Office Hours and Resources
The Office of Student and Family Support (SFS) has announced this year's Office Hours forum, hosted by the Educational Stability Team, for homeless liaisons, foster care points of contact, and Department of Children and Families (DCF), district, and provider staff to ask questions, discuss current issues, and share best practices for supporting highly mobile students and their access to a public education. Office Hours will include a 45–60 minute webinar and an additional half hour to allow for follow-up Q&As. The forum will occur the first Wednesday of each month from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and the third Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. For more information on topics at each forum, please click here

Additionally, Training Modules have been developed in-house by the Team. These modules are each 30 to 60 minutes long, topic-focused and Massachusetts-specific. Module topics include: Awareness, Identification and Educational Rights, Enrollment, and Transportation. Feel free to use them for your own reference or as part of staff training. The Team will be adding modules on an ongoing basis, so please stay tuned to the Educational Stability Office Hours and Training Resources website.
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