MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education - Special Education
- MA DESE Advisory on Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District RE-1, 2017 U.S. Supreme Court Decision of Special Education
- 2016 Presentation by Marcia Mittnacht, State Director of Special Education, MA DESE
- IEP Process, Forms and Notices - including the IEP Process Guide
- Parent's Notice of Procedural Safeguards
- Complaints and Compliance - Program Quality Assurance
- Disability Definitions and Related Links
- Special Education Links and Resources
- Question and Answer Guide on Extended School Year (ESY) Programs
- New MA DESE Secondary Transition website
- MA DESE Administrative Advisory SPED 2016-2: Requirements related to Maintenance of Effort
- MA DESE - Online training for 603 CMR 46.00 The Prevention of Physical Restraints and Requirements if Used
Special Education Laws and Regulations - From the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website -
603 CMR 28.00 governs the provision by Massachusetts public schools of special education and related services to eligible students and the approval of public or private day and residential schools seeking to provide special education services to publicly funded eligible students. The requirements set forth in 603 CMR 28.00 are in addition to, or in some instances clarify or further elaborate, the special education rights and responsibilities set forth in state statute (M.G.L. c. 71B), federal statute (20 U.S.C. §1400 et seq. as amended), and federal regulations (34 CFR §300 et seq. as amended).(3) The purpose of 603 CMR 28.00 is to ensure that eligible Massachusetts students receive special education services designed to develop the student's individual educational potential in the least restrictive environment in accordance with applicable state and federal laws.
- Referral and Evaluation
- The Team Process and Development of the IEP
- Placement and Service Options
- Parent Involvement
- Continuum of Options for Dispute Resolution
- MA DESE Report to the Legislature: Annual Report on Students with Disabilities 2014-2015
- MA DESE Report to the Legislature: Annual Report on Students with Disabilities 2013-2014
- MA DESE Technical Assistance Advisory SPED 2014-3: Identifying the Need for Paraprofessional Support
- MA DESE Technical Assistance Advisory SPED 2016-2: Promoting Student Self-Determination to Improve Student Outcomes
- 2015 MCAS Alternate Assessment (MCAS-Alt): State Summary of Participation and Achievement
MA General Laws - The board shall promulgate, jointly with the departments of mental health, developmental services, public health, children and families and youth services, the Massachusetts commission for the blind and the commission for the deaf and hard of hearing, regulations regarding educational programs for children with disabilities including, but not limited to a definition of disability which definition shall emphasize a thorough, narrative description of each child’s development potential so as to minimize the possibility of stigmatization and to assure a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment of a child with a disability. The definition shall be sufficiently flexible to include children with multiple disabilities.
BSEA - The Bureau of Special Education Appeals
The Bureau of Special Education Appeals ("BSEA") conducts mediations, advisory opinions and due process hearings to resolve disputes among parents, school districts, private schools and state agencies. The BSEA derives its authority from both federal law and regulations (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, "IDEA") and Massachusetts law and regulations. (MGL ch. 71B). The BSEA can be reachedat (617) 626-7250.
Dispute Resolution Options through the BSEA
Due Process Hearings
- Mediation: Process, Benefits, Myths, and Tips - FCSN Presentation
Advisory Opinion Process
IEP Team Meeting Facilitators - The BSEA has facilitators available at no cost to the parties to help with difficult IEP Team meetings. Either the school district or the parent can request a facilitator for the IEP Team meeting. Both parties must agree to accept the facilitator's services.Facilitators for IEP Team meetings are commonly requested when the relationship between the district and the parents is strained or adversarial, when there is a history of disruptiveness at meetings or when an IEP Team meeting is expected to be contentious due the complexity of the issues being discussed or due to some controversy. A trained, impartial facilitator, who is not part of the team, is present to assist team members to: develop and follow an agenda; stay focused on the goal of developing an acceptable IEP; problem solve; resolve conflicts that arise during the meeting; maintain open communication; clarify issues; and timely complete the meeting.
MA Office on Disability - Access for Students with Disabilities to Field Trips and Extracurricular Activities
- The Massachusetts Office on Disability has posted a memo reminding schools districts that districts must consider access for students with disabilities when planning day or overnight school field trips and any other extracurricular activities. When public schools schedule programs at inaccessible locations or provide separate transportation or accommodations for students with disabilities, they risk violating those students' civil rights. For technical assistance on providing equal access for individuals with disabilities, contact the Massachusetts Office on Disability at 617-727-7440 or through their website.