Why Leader?

Leader Services has been providing solutions to state education agencies for over 15 years and solving the technology needs of other types of organizations large and small since 1968.

  • In Pennsylvania, Leader provides solutions for Medicaid reimbursement, IDEA Performance Monitoring, contingency funding for special education, federal program monitoring, Individualized Education Programs and related document management, and numerous custom web applications for state and local education agency needs.
  • Leader has provided a comprehensive web-based solution for compliance monitoring to Missouri's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education since 2007.
  • Leader has developed a reporting system for the use of restraints for the PA Department of Education and PA LEAs. Each time a restraint is used, PA LEAs log on to a secure web-based application and report it to PDE, enabling the state education agency to review and track this important concern

IDEA Performance Monitoring: Helping SEAs Comply with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

The reauthorization of IDEA through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (P.L 108-446) states one of its purposes:

"to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living;"

The regulations that schools must follow in meeting this requirement are considerable, and State Education Agencies (SEAs) are charged with making sure that each of their LEAs complies with the requirements of IDEA. Many states have found this to be a significant proposition:Man and woman at laptop

  • Gathering data at individual school districts
  • Interviewing appropriate LEA staff
  • Performing file reviews of student data
  • Consolidating information and performing analysis
  • Reporting back to the LEA on areas of non-compliance
  • Developing corrective action plans
  • Monitoring each out-of-compliance area and ensuring timely resolution, including multiple phone calls, faxes, and e-mails between state and LEA staff
  • Looking for statewide trends for problem areas to determine responses
  • Determining best practices to commend responsible LEAs

Taking Advantage of Web Technologies

Responding to Pennsylvania's 2001 need to make the compliance monitoring process easier, with less paper, less staff travel, and less aggravation, Leader Services developed the first incarnation of its web-based compliance monitoring solution. Since dubbed IDEA Performance Monitoring, Leader's solution provides:

  • A method for LEAs undergoing monitoring to perform a Facilitated Self-Assessment (FSA) of their compliance in multiple topical areas, including:
    • Assistive technology
    • Behavior support
    • Child find activities
    • Confidentiality
    • Dispute resolution
    • Graduation rates
    • Dropout rates
    • Suspensions and Expulsions
    • Facilities
    • Independent education evaluation
    • Least restrictive environment
    • Parent training
    • State assessments
    • Public school enrollment
    • Surrogate parents
    • Training
    • Intensive interagency approach
  • Additionally, depending on the size of the LEA, a number of student records are selected to undergo a file review process, also entered online. The cumulative results of the file reviews are then analyzed and questions responded to by the LEA.

At the close of this process, the LEA finalizes its FSA, locking the data and generating printable versions of the documents (FSA and student file reviews) in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). A notification is automatically e-mailed to the SEA that the LEA has completed this step of the process, and the completed PDF is made available on a separate, secure management website provided for the SEA to review completed FSAs and perform other management tasks.

SEA Data Review

SEA staff log on to their secure site to review completed FSAs and file reviews prior to the onsite monitoring, identifying any possible problem areas and noting items they want to address with the LEA. The management site also allows for:

  • Reporting LEA due dates, and LEAs past due, for FSA completion
  • Reopening of finalized FSA for LEAs that finalized their FSA in error
  • Assigning LEAs to Single Points-of-Contact (SPOCs), and SPOCs to senior SEA staff (“Chiefs”)
  • Creating Corrective Action documents

SEA staff then perform onsite monitorings, recording their findings online. Initial reports are generated for SEA review. SEA staff can then begin the Corrective Action Verification (CAV) process during which they record, for each item found out of compliance, a corrective action plan and timeline for compliance.

Once all out-of-compliance items are addressed, a CAV is generated in PDF format, and LEAs are notified via e-mail. The LEAs return to their secure website, retrieve and review the CAV, and address items as needed. SPOCs perform periodic follow-up visits to evaluate progress; successive CAVs are updated as needed (extending timelines, documenting extenuating circumstances, etc,) until all issues are in compliance.

In order to assist with SPP Indicator 15, Timely Correction of Non-Compliance, automatic reminders for individual compliance items are generated by the IDEA Performance Monitoring system and sent to LEA and SEA staff. This feature has helped assure 100% compliance with SPP 15 in Pennsylvania in 2008. Additionally, IDEA Performance Monitoring will help generate the Indicator 15 worksheet required by the federal Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) during the Annual Performance Report (APR) submission.

Finally, the monitoring is closed and resolution documents are generated and distributed to appropriate parties.

More on Leader's experience with IDEA Performance Monitoring

View a Demonstration

A demonstration of the Pennsylvania model can be viewed on this website. Simply request a username and password from Leader and see how a customized version of IDEA Performance Monitoring can help solve your state's IDEA compliance monitoring needs.