Alaska meets the requirements
of the federal special education law;
Data about school districts now available online
June 29, 2007
Alaska is one of nine states that have met the requirements and
purposes of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act for
students in grades K-12, federal officials said this month.
This is the first year the U.S. Department of Education has issued
determination letters on states' implementation of the federal
special education law. States are rated as meeting the requirements
of IDEA, needing assistance, needing intervention, or needing
"The federal determination for Alaska's special education
programs reflects the diligent efforts of many people, within
the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development and
among our stakeholders, to do what's best for all our students,"
said Alaska Education Commissioner Roger Sampson. "This
federal accolade speaks to the mission of the State Board of
Education & Early Development, which is to ensure quality
standards-based instruction to improve academic achievement for
To make the statewide determinations, the federal Office of Special
Education and Rehabilitative Services reviewed states' five-year
State Performance Plans, submitted in February 2007, and their
Annual Performance Reports for federal fiscal year 2005, which
correlates to the 2005-2006 school year.
Federal officials considered each state's compliance with the
law, its timely corrections of noncompliance, and the accuracy
of its data.
Under the 2004 revision of IDEA, each state is required to have
a five-year State Performance Plan that evaluates its efforts
to implement IDEA. The plan also describes how the state will
improve its implementation of these programs. Each state also
submits an Annual Performance Report detailing progress in meeting
the targets in its State Performance Plan.
The performance plan covers indicators such as graduation and
dropout rates, participation and performance in assessments,
rates of suspension and expulsion, participation in regular classes,
services for preschool children, parental involvement, racial
and ethnic representation, a system of timely correction of noncompliance,
and a system of satisfactorily handling complaints.
"The performance plan represents several years of work to
determine the most important indicators of success in special
education and to submit those measures to a process of continuous
improvement, said Art Arnold, Alaska's Director of Special Education.
"This process shows that Alaska is oriented toward good
data collection and results for children across the state."
"This was an inclusive process. All levels of stakeholders
were involved over a lengthy period of time," said Millie
Ryan, Executive Director of the Governor's Council on Disabilities
and Special Education.
Jerry Sjolander, Executive Director of Special Education at the
Anchorage School District, said of the federal determination:
"This is a confirmation that districts are aware of the
requirements and willingly participating in the process to make
certain that kids have better outcomes."
This year, for the first time,
the public also can access online the data profiles for each
Alaska school district, reporting how the districts fared in
On the Web:
Data profiles for each Alaska
The State Performance Plan and the statewide Annual Performance
Information from the federal
government about the determinations
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