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

March 2022
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DESE Special Education Updates
Key updates and announcements for special education leaders
  1. Upcoming Special Education Leaders' Meeting
  2. Monthly Special Education Leaders' Meeting Email Invitation Issues
  3. New Special Education FAQs
  4. New Indicator 7 Resources
  5. Annual Conference: Federation for Children with Special Needs
  6. Free PD Institute for MA Early Childhood Educators
  7. MCB Pre-ETS Visions of Collaboration Conference
  8. We’re More Than Ready!
  9. In Case You Missed It
Upcoming Special Education Leaders’ Meeting 
The next Special Education Leaders’ Meeting will be held on Friday, March 11, 2022, from 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM.

The Zoom link for this meeting will be sent to Special Education Leaders in a separate email. 
Monthly Special Education Leaders' Meeting Email Invitation Issues
The DESE has investigated the non-delivery issues associated with Deputy Commissioner Johnston’s monthly webinar with Special Education Leaders. The distribution list is auto-generated from Profiles Search ( and includes;
  • Special Education Directors
  • Program/Residential Directors
  • Special Education Program Directors
  • Special Education Executive Directors
If the special education director role needs to be updated for your district, you will need to collaborate with your district’s directory administrator to make this request and update the profiles. 
The next monthly meeting is scheduled for Friday, March 11. DESE will send out the standard invitation to the educators and administrators on the distribution list, as well as selected Commonwealth special education partners, no later than the morning of Tuesday, March 8.
To verify the “Listserv” system is no longer having issues, we will send a test email the morning of Wednesday, March 2. If you are on the list of invitees, i.e., special education directors, collaborative leaders, or approved private special education school leaders, and you do not receive the test email by Noon that day, and believe you should have, email no later than Friday, March 4  to inform us you did not receive the test. Please, email DESE only if you do not receive the test email.
New Special Education FAQs
DESE recently updated its Frequently Asked Questions for Districts and Schools Regarding Special Education for School Year 2021-2022. You can find the document here.
New Indicator 7 Resources
DESE recently posted new resources on using the Early Childhood Outcomes Summary (ECOS) database for Indicator 7 data submission. To learn more about DESE’s Early Childhood strategic areas, please visit our website.
Annual Conference: Federation for Children with Special Needs
The Federation for Children with Special Needs is hosting their annual Visions of Community (VOC) Conference for parents, youth, and professionals caring for children and youth with special needs. The conference, held on Saturday, March 19, 2022 from 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM, will be virtual and includes intensive workshops on topics such as IEPs and other special education issues, the impact of trauma, self-care, health services and benefits, and transition planning. Workshops are offered in English, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese. Registration is $60 and scholarships are available. Register for the Visions of Community Conference here. Everyone who registers will have access to a recording of all sessions except the keynote.
Free PD Institute for MA Early Childhood Educators
The Asperger/Autism Network (AANE), in partnership with DESE, is offering a free professional development institute for early childhood educators titled Early Identification and Supports for Young Children with Autism. This program is for all early childhood and pre-K special educators, directors, paraprofessionals, mental health and related service providers (OT, PT, SLP) working in public schools in Massachusetts. The first of the two Institute sections will run from Wednesday, March 9 through Thursday, May 19, 2022 and the second from Wednesday, April 13 through Wednesday, June 22. The institute will provide participants with the opportunity to expand their knowledge of the stages of development and the importance of routine screenings, as well as incorporate tools from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and MA Act Early. The format of the institute will include a mix of live class instruction, self-paced coursework, flexible one-on-one access to the course instructor, and an educator chat platform. Participants will earn 67.5 PDPs and will be able to apply for 3 graduate credits that can be used to maintain or achieve their licensure. Registration for the first section has already begun and the application deadline is Friday, March 4. Enrollment for the second section begins Friday, March 25 and ends Friday, April 8. Click here to learn more or to register.
MCB Pre-Employment Transition Services Visions of Collaboration Conference
The Massachusetts Commission for the Blind is hosting a virtual conference on Friday, April 1, 2022 from 8:30 AM – 3:00 PM. The conference will include topics such as: Continuous Impact of Covid-19 on Learning, Self-Care Coping Strategies, AIM Library APH Student Quota Funds, Transitioning Consumers to MCB, Mobility Applications/Devices, and more. Registration is free, but space is limited, so advanced registration is required. Any interested TVIs, COMS, Special Education Directors, IEP Team Chairs, Guidance Counselors, or Transition Professionals who wish to attend should register here.
We’re More Than Ready!
This school year, Massachusetts public schools are more than ready. From strategies to accelerate student learning to our continued commitment to diversity, we're doing more to make sure every student has the supports to go further — every step of the way. Check out DESE’s new YouTube video as part of our “We’re More Than Ready” campaign to provide educators, families, other stakeholders with up-to-date information, resources, and encouragement.
In Case You Missed It
DESE is pleased to announce the new, interactive Massachusetts Referral, Evaluation, and Eligibility Determination Guidance reusable learning object (RLO). This online resource replaces Is Special Education the Right Service? (ISERS). DESE gratefully acknowledges the assistance and contributions of numerous stakeholders in developing this resource, especially the Massachusetts Association of School Psychologists.
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