Effective Strategies to Enhance High-Quality Implementation of Individualized Education Programs (2018)

Virtual Event
Meeting Who

This live event was open to current OSEP Grantees (State and discretionary)

The purpose of this event is to explore:

  1. Strategies for identifying evidence-based practices and aligning to student needs;
  2. Strategies for active use of IEPs to facilitate implementation;
  3. Resources to support efforts to enhance high-quality implementation of IEPs; and
  4. System components needed to address the capacity needs of teachers, leaders, and support personnel.

Archived Meeting Recording & Resources


Presenter Information


Symposium Prework

As part of our effort to create an engaging and meaningful event, we invite you to explore the following resources.

This document contains resources that are provided for the user’s convenience. The inclusion of these materials is not intended to reflect its importance, nor is it intended to endorse any views expressed, or products or services offered. These materials may contain the views and recommendations of various subject matter experts as well as hypertext links, contact addresses and websites to information created and maintained by other public and private organizations. The opinions expressed in any of these materials do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the U.S. Department of Education. The U.S. Department of Education does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of any outside information included in these materials.

Evidence-Based Practices and High-Leverage Practices

  • IRIS Resource Locator
    This tool allows users to search and identify online instructional materials about evidence-based practices and sort by topic, student age group, type of resource, and more.
  • IRIS High-Leverage Practice Alignment Tool
    Developed in collaboration with CEEDAR, this alignment tool identifies which IRIS resources provide information on HLPs.
  • Evidence-Based Practices (Part 1): Identifying and Selecting a Practice or Program
    This IRIS Center Module, the first in a series of three, discusses the importance of identifying and selecting evidence-based practices (est. completion time: 1.5 hours).
  • Evidence-Based Practices (Part 2): Implementing a Practice or Program with Fidelity
    This IRIS Center Module, the second in a series of three, discusses implementing an evidence-based practice or program with fidelity (est. completion time: 1 hour).
  • Evidence-Based Practices (Part 3): Evaluating Learner Outcomes and Fidelity
    This IRIS Center Module, the third in a series of three, examines how to evaluate whether an evidence-based practice is effective for the young children or students with whom you are working (est. completion time: 2 hours).
  • Fidelity of Implementation: Selecting and Implementing Evidence-Based Practices and Programs
    This IRIS Center Module discusses the importance of selecting evidence-based practices and programs. It also examines actions that school personnel can take to increase the likelihood that the practice or program is implemented as it was designed (est. completion time: 3 hours).
  • Functional Behavioral Assessment: Identifying the Reasons for Problem Behavior and Developing a Behavior Plan
    This IRIS Center Module explores the basic principles of behavior and the importance of discovering the reasons that students engage in problem behavior. The steps to conducting a functional behavioral assessment and developing a behavior plan are described (est. completion time: 2 hours).
  • High-Quality Mathematics Instruction: What Teachers Should Know
    This IRIS Center Module describes the components of high-quality mathematics instruction: a standards-based curriculum and evidence-based practices. It also highlights a number of evidence-based practices as well as other classroom practices that teachers can use to teach mathematics (est. completion time: 1.5 hours).
  • Secondary Transition: Helping Students with Disabilities Plan for Post-High School Settings
    This IRIS Center Module focuses on the transition process from high school to post-secondary settings. Among other topics, it discusses IEP planning, engaging students in the process so as to become better advocates for their own needs, and the importance of outside agencies such as vocational rehabilitation (est. completion time: 1 hour).
  • Secondary Transition: Interagency Collaboration
    This IRIS Center Module defines and discusses the purpose of interagency collaboration and addresses the importance of partnering with agencies to improve outcomes for students with disabilities who are transitioning from high school (est. completion time: 2 hours).
  • Secondary Transition: Student-Centered Transition Planning
    This IRIS Center Module will help users to better understand the benefits of student-centered transition planning, identify ways to involve students in collecting assessment information and developing goals, and be able to prepare students to lead their own IEP meetings (est. completion time: 2 hours).
  • Assisting Students Struggling with Mathematics: Response to Intervention for Elementary and Middle Schools
    The What Works Clearinghouse Practice Guide offers eight recommendations designed to help teachers, principals, and administrators use Response to Intervention for the early detection, prevention, and support of students struggling with mathematics.
  • Assisting Students Struggling with Reading: Response to Intervention (RtI) and Multi-Tier Intervention in the Primary Grades
    This What Works Clearinghouse Practice Guide offers five specific recommendations to help educators identify struggling readers and implement evidence-based strategies to promote their reading achievement. Teachers and reading specialists can utilize these strategies to implement RtI and multi-tier intervention methods and frameworks at the classroom or school level. Recommendations cover how to screen students for reading problems, design a multi-tier intervention program, adjust instruction to help struggling readers, and monitor student progress.
  • CEEDAR Innovation Configurations
    Recognizing that evidence-based practices (EBPs) account for at least part of the effects of teachers on achievement and the critical role of teacher preparation, the CEEDAR Center professionals, along with their partner Great Teachers and Leaders, offer innovation configurations (ICs) to promote the implementation of evidence-based instructional practices in teacher preparation activities. ICs are designed to evaluate current teacher preparation and professional development (PD) by determining the extent to which EBPs are taught, observed, and applied within teacher preparation and PD programs. For more detailed information about ICs, read this guide. Please see this short guide describing our standards for selecting EBPs.
  • NTACT Effective Practices and Predictors
    Throughout the website and other resources from NTACT, effective practices and predictors have been evaluated regarding the amount, type, and quality of the research conducted, and are labeled as either (a) evidence-based, (b) research-based, or (c) promising.
  • Academic Intervention Tools Chart
    The Academic Intervention Tools Chart from the National Center on Intensive Intervention (NCII) provides reviews of studies of academic interventions. The charts provide information about the methodological quality and level of impact observed in these studies and are designed to assist educators and families in becoming informed consumers who can select evidence-based intervention programs that best meet their needs. Additional information about the intensity of the intervention and the impact for students below the 20th percentile is provided.
  • Behavior Intervention Tools Chart
    NCII’s Behavior Intervention Tools Chart provides reviews of studies of behavior intervention programs.
  • What Counts as Evidence? Making Decisions for Instruction and Intervention within a Multi-Tiered System of Support
    What is an evidence-based practice? How do I know if evidence shows that a practice will be right for my students? Many practitioners ask these critical questions every day as they are faced with making decisions regarding how to best meet the needs of their students. In this webinar, staff from NCII, Collaboration for Effective Educator Development Accountability and Reform (CEEDAR) Center, and the NCSI share content focused on the continuum of evidence that supports instruction within multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS).
  • IRIS Center Resources Addressing CEEDAR Innovation Configuration Topics
    This guide indicates which IRIS Center resources align with CEEDAR innovation configurations and contains hyperlinks to take users directly to the module or case study.

Intensifying and Individualizing Instruction

  • Intensive Intervention (Part 1): Using Data-Based Individualization To Intensify Instruction
    This IRIS Center Module, first in a series of two, overviews data-based individualization and provides information about adaptations for intensifying and individualizing instruction. Developed in collaboration with the National Center on Intensive Intervention at American Institutes for Research and the CEEDAR Center, this resource is designed for individuals who will be implementing intensive interventions (e.g., special education teachers, reading specialists, interventionists) (est. completion time: 3 hours).
  • Intensive Intervention (Part 2): Collecting and Analyzing Data for Data-Based Individualization
    This IRIS Center Module, the second in a series on intensive intervention, offers information on making data-based instructional decisions. Specifically, the resource discusses collecting and analyzing progress monitoring and diagnostic assessment data. Developed in collaboration with the National Center on Intensive Intervention at American Institutes for Research and the CEEDAR Center, this resource is designed for individuals who will be implementing intensive interventions (e.g., special education teachers, reading specialists, interventionists) (est. completion time: 3 hours).
  • MTSS/RTI: Mathematics
    This IRIS Center Module describes the MTSS, or RTI, framework as applied to mathematics. It includes discussions of how MTSS and RTI are related, as well as a description of instruction, assessment, and data-based decision making at each level of intensity: Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 (est. completion time: 2.5 hours).
  • Introduction to Intensive Intervention Module
    This interactive self-paced module from NCII defines intensive intervention and data-based individualization (DBI), describes how intensive intervention fits within a tiered system such as MTSS, RTI, or PBIS, and demonstrates how intensive intervention can provide a systemic process to deliver specialized instruction for students with disabilities
  • Literacy Strategies to Support Intensifying Interventions
    NCII provides a series of reading lessons to support special education instructors, reading interventionists, and others working with students who struggle with reading. These lessons, adapted with permission from the Florida Center for Reading Research and Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk, address key reading and prereading skills and incorporate research-based instructional principles that can help intensify and individualize reading instruction.
  • Mathematics Strategies to Support Intensifying Interventions
    NCII developed a series of mathematics lessons and guidance documents to support special education instructors, mathematics specialists, and others working with students who struggle with mathematics. These lessons and activities are organized around six mathematics skill areas that are aligned to college– and career-ready standards and incorporate several instructional principles that may help intensify and individualize mathematics instruction to assist teachers and interventionists working with students who have difficulty with mathematics.
  • Behavior Strategies to Support Intensifying Interventions
    NCII developed a series of behavioral strategies to support teachers working with students with primary academic deficits and challenging behaviors. Each strategy incorporates key terminology, an overview of the purpose, and all associated materials. The strategies also integrate approaches for intensification for students with more challenging behaviors.
  • Taxonomy of Intervention Intensity Overview
    This NCII webinar introduces the Taxonomy of Intervention Intensity as a method for systematically selecting an intensive intervention and guide teachers through modifying the intervention based on student need. The Taxonomy of Intervention Intensity includes seven dimensions (strength, dosage, alignment, attention to transfer, comprehensiveness, behavioral or academic support, and individualization).
  • The Taxonomy of Intervention Intensity: A Case Example for Building Intervention Intensity in Reading
    This NCII webinar demonstrates how the Taxonomy of Intervention Intensity can support educators in systematically selecting and modifying intensive literacy interventions based on student need. After providing a brief overview of the dimensions for evaluating and building intervention intensity, she shares a detailed case study illustrating how a teacher uses the taxonomy to provide data-based individualized instruction in reading comprehension.
  • The Taxonomy of Intervention Intensity: A Case Study for Building Intervention Intensity in Math
    In this NCII webinar Drs. Amelia Malone and Lynn Fuchs introduce the Taxonomy of Intervention Intensity as a method for systematically selecting an intensive intervention and guide teachers through modifying the intervention based on student need. They provide an overview of the dimensions for evaluating and building intervention intensity and a detailed case study illustrating how a teacher uses the taxonomy to provide data-based individualized instruction in mathematics.
  • Using Academic Progress Monitoring for Individualized Instructional Planning
    This NCII webinar presents various approaches to progress monitoring, focusing on the value and implications of using progress monitoring to track the growth of students with intensive academic needs. The webinar provides a step by step walk through of the process for using progress monitoring data to make instructional decisions for individual students and provides student level examples (see slides 27-57 for this information starting around 40 minutes into the webinar). A companion training module is also available on this topic.
  • Informal Academic Diagnostic Assessment: Using Data to Guide Intensive Instruction
    This multi-part module from NCII is intended to help teams understand how to use progress monitoring and other accessible assessment data to guide instructional decision making. Trainers can select among several presentation sections to best address teams’ needs. Sections include (a) administering progress monitoring measures, (b) graphing data and interpreting patterns in graphed data, (c) conducting miscue and skills analysis in reading and math, and (d) identifying skills to target in reading and math interventions.
  • RTI (Part 5): A Closer Look at Tier 3
    This IRIS Center Module describes which students will receive Tier 3 intervention (i.e., special education services), components of Tier 3 reading interventions, and students' response to this individualized intervention. This Module also explores parent involvement and issues related to English language learners (est. completion time: 2 hours).
  • Differentiated Instruction: Maximizing the Learning of All Students
    This IRIS module discusses the importance of differentiating three aspects of instruction: content, process (instructional methods), and product (assessment). It explores the student traits—readiness level, interest, and learning preferences—that influence learning (est. completion time: 3 hours).

Resources for IEP Teams

  • How Can We Ensure IEP Teams Provide the Most Intensive Supports?
    This resource from NCII and the PBIS Center, provides information about how DBI can support IEP implementation and provides a table with key considerations for teams working across the MTSS system.
  • Tools to Support Intensive Intervention Planning and Data Review Meetings
    These NCII materials are intended to assist teams in structuring data review for students with severe and persistent learning and behavior challenges. Although they not designed solely for the purpose of IEP development, IEP and multi-disciplinary teams may find the structure and recommendations useful if they are looking to refine their data collection and meeting procedures.
  • DBI Implementation Rubric and Interview
    The DBI Implementation Rubric and the DBI Implementation Interview are intended to support monitoring of school-level implementation of data-based individualization (DBI). It includes sections focused on the essential elements of DBI as well as the infrastructure that is necessary for successful implementation. These resources can be used to conduct a needs assessment to determine where a school needs to focus resources and training as well as over time to monitor growth in implementation.
  • In the Best Interests of the Child
    The DBI Implementation Rubric and the DBI Implementation Interview are intended to support monitoring of school-level implementation of data-based individualization (DBI). It includes sections focused on the essential elements of DBI as well as the infrastructure that is necessary for successful implementation. These resources can be used to conduct a needs assessment to determine where a school needs to focus resources and training as well as over time to monitor growth in implementation.
  • Working Together Online Learning Series
    These courses from CADRE provide families and educators with a number of strategies for working together and through conflict. Anyone supporting children or youth with disabilities may benefit from this series, however, the setting in which collaborative problem-solving and conflict resolution takes place within this series is typically the school or IEP meeting.
  • Guide to IEP Facilitation Programs
    Whether you are just getting started, or want to improve your facilitation program, CADRE has done the legwork of finding best practices and examples. You will find example forms, guiding documents, suggestions for program design and improvement, voices from the field, and much more!
  • 21 Best Practices for Successful IEP Meetings
  • CADRE presents 21 best practices to assure efficient, effective, and collaborative IEP team meetings. It includes such components as pre-conferencing to assure adequate preparation by all participants, effective time management, establishing meeting guidelines (ground rules), using a written agenda, and 17 more. Practical examples, model forms, and experiential exercises are also included.
  • High-Quality Instructionally Appropriate IEP Rubric
    This rubric, developed by Tennessee’s State Personnel Development Grant team, was designed for districts to self-assess their IEPs to improve quality, not just compliance.
  • Key Principles Underlying the IEP Process: Supporting Family Participation, Inclusive Practices and Positive Outcomes for Preschool Children with Disabilities
    The National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (NECTAC) convened a workgroup of diverse stakeholders including researchers, higher education faculty, state policy makers, regional and local program administrators, family representatives, service providers, and technical assistance providers to develop through a consensus process an overarching goal statement and related principles for preschool special education services.
  • Key Practices Underlying the IEP Process: Supporting Family Participation, Inclusive Practices, and Positive Outcomes for Preschool Children with Disabilities
    This document is a companion to “Key Principles Underlying the IEP Process.” The practices reflect considerations important to fostering a partnership with families throughout the process of developing an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for preschool children with disabilities. They are based on validated and/or best-known information from the field, do not represent a specific model or approach, and are not intended to include practices for implementing IEP’s. The practices listed suggest a flow of activities occurring during the IEP process from first contacts with the family throughout development of the IEP. It is recognized that there may be variability within state and local procedures.
  • Challenging Change: How Schools and Districts are Improving the Performance of Special Education Students
    This report from the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) highlights the activities undertaken by five schools or districts to improve the learning of students with disabilities. Although the report does not focus exclusively on IEPs, several of the case studies describe how high-quality IEPs were crucial to student success.

Resources for Families

  • Endrew F. Advocacy Toolkit on Understood.org
    The landmark Supreme Court decision is an opportunity to improve the services IEPs offer students. This toolkit provides a sheet of talking points with key language from the Endrew F. decision, and a worksheet to help improve your child’s IEP based on the legal standards in Endrew F. The toolkit was created by looking at key government resources, which you can view or download.
  • Parents as Partners in the IEP Process
    The Utah Parent Center has developed this booklet to be used either independently or with the Parents as Partners in the IEP Process workshop. It provides a brief overview of some the laws and suggestions about what you, a parent, can do to prepare for your important role as an equal member of the team that designs the individualized education plan or program to meet your child’s needs.
  • All about the IEP
    This suite of pages at the Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR) provides parents and professionals with 4 stand-alone articles: The Short-and-Sweet IEP Overview; The IEP Team; Contents of the IEP; and When the IEP Team Meets. These pages, in turn, branch off to provide more detailed information about each member of the IEP team, each component of the IEP, special factors to consider in IEP development, and more. Also available in Spanish.
  • Developing Your Child’s IEP
    Updated in 2017, this CPIR document (once a product of NICHCY) takes parents through the entire IEP process, with examples (e.g., how to write a strong present levels statement, how to tie the annual goals to that statement and identify what supports (related services, supplementary aids and services) will be provided to the student, based on his or her needs. Also available in Spanish.
  • Are Intervener Services Appropriate for Your Student with Deaf-Blindness?: An IEP Team Discussion Guide
    Parent to Parent of Miami (Florida’s CPRC serving Miami, Dade, and Monroe counties) has an online training series about the IEP in three languages. You must be a registered user to access these trainings, but it’s easy and it’s free. Use the sessions to train new staff or help families learn about the IEP process.
  • HomeTalk: A Family Assessment of Children who are Deafblind
    NCLD has created this Parent Guide to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) so you can become an informed and effective partner with school personnel in supporting your child’s special learning and behavioral needs.
  • IEP Parent Guide
    This resource from the Kansas Parent Training and Information Center is intended to support students in planning and leading their own IEP meeting.

Symposium Postwork

Special Needs

Mobile Website

Lodging, Dining, Activities

Call for Proposals

Speaker Bios

Johnny Collett

Johnny Collett is the assistant secretary in the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the U.S. Department of Education. In this capacity, he serves as the advisor to the U.S. education secretary on matters related to the education of children and youths with disabilities, as well as employment and community living for youths and adults with disabilities. The mission of his office is to improve early childhood, educational, and employment outcomes, and to raise expectations for all people with disabilities, their families, their communities, and the nation.

Prior to joining the department, Collett served as the program director of special education outcomes at the Council of Chief State School Officers. Collett also served at the Kentucky Department of Education as the state's special education director, as an assistant division director, and as an exceptional children consultant.

Collett, a former high school special education teacher and church pastor, graduated from Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky in 2005 with a Master of Arts in education. In 1994, he graduated with a bachelor's degree from Clear Creek Baptist Bible College and in 1991 he received an associate degree from Southeast Community College, at that time a part of the University of Kentucky college system. Collett also holds a certification in learning and behavior disorders from Kentucky.

Kaylan Connally

Kaylan Connally currently serves as Program Manager, Student Expectations at the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) where she supports states’ efforts to ensure that each student benefits from college and career-ready expectations, with a particular focus on students with disabilities. Specifically, she works to support states as they strengthen their teacher and leader preparation programs for the success of each child.

Prior to joining CCSSO, Kaylan held positions at New America and DC Public Schools where she wrote and worked on educator workforce policy and implementation. Kaylan began her career as a sixth-grade English teacher. She holds an EdM in education policy and management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a BA in philosophy from New York University.

Gregory A. Fabiano

Gregory A. Fabiano, Ph.D. is a professor of Counseling, School, and Educational Psychology in the Graduate School of Education at the University at Buffalo.  His interests are in the area of evidence-based assessments and treatments for children with ADHD.  He is author or co-author on over 70 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters and he has written two books on effective school-based interventions.  Dr. Fabiano’s work has been funded by the Administration for Children and Families, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Education.  In 2007 Dr. Fabiano was nominated by the Department of Education and invited to the White House to receive the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the nation’s highest honor for early career investigators. 

Dr. Erica D. McCray

Dr. Erica D. McCray is an Associate Professor of Special Education at the University of Florida. Currently, Dr. McCray is a Co-Director for the Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform (CEEDAR) Center and an OSEP leadership preparation grant, Project Studying Teacher Effectiveness, Education, and Policy (STEEP).  Prior to becoming university faculty, she served as a special educator for students with behavioral and learning disabilities in Title I elementary and middle school settings. Dr. McCray has been recognized on multiple levels for her teaching and research, which focuses on teacher quality and faculty development in the context of diversity.

Daniel Parker

Daniel Parker is an Assistant Director of Special Education with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (WI DPI).  Previously, Daniel was the Autism Consultant as well as Family Engagement consultant for WI DPI and facilitated updated guidance for Wisconsin’s College and Career IEPs: Improving Outcomes for Students 3 through 21.  Daniel has a unique blend of home based, general and special education teaching, and administrative background at the school, district, and statewide levels.  His interests include data analysis, self-determination, family engagement, positive behavior interventions, and cross agency/organization collaboration. Daniel received a Master’s Degree in Human Development and Family Life and a Master’s Degree in Special Education both from the University of Kansas.  He has a wife, Sarah, a cat, Lily, and the cutest dog in the world, ZuZu.

Stacy Kalamaros Skalski

Stacy Kalamaros Skalski, Ph.D. is the Director of Professional Policy and Practice for the National Association of School Psychologists. In this capacity, she works collaboratively with national and state leaders, education and mental health professionals, and public officials to advocate for the alignment of research, policy and practice at the state and federal level. Her primary focus is on promoting high quality educational practices and student services, and comprehensive coordinated school-based mental health services.  Dr. Skalski has over 25 years of experience in the field of school psychology having previously served as the Coordinator of Mental Health Services for the Douglas County Schools (CO), as an Assistant Research Professor at the University of Colorado-Denver, and as a school psychologist practitioner for the Douglas County and Cherry Creek Schools (CO).

Naomi Tyler

Naomi Tyler is an associate professor of the practice in special education and director of the OSEP-funded IRIS Center, housed at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College in Nashville, TN. The IRIS Center (https://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu) produces engaging, interactive online resources to support the preparation of effective educators, giving them the knowledge and skills to use evidence-based practices to improve outcomes for all children, particularly struggling learners and those with disabilities. The center has an international impact, hosting 2.1 million visits to its Website in 2017. In addition, Naomi has co-authored three editions of an introductory textbook, Introduction to Contemporary Special Education: New Horizons. Prior to working in higher education, she spent 10 years as a special education teacher, working with students from diverse racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds in New Mexico and Hawaii. Her professional interests include improving the knowledge and skills of educators by closing the research-to-practice gap and preparing general educators to work with students with disabilities in inclusive settings.

Donna B. Wilder

Donna B. Wilder M.A. is the Supervisor of Professional Learning in Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS), VA.  Following a 32-year career as a classroom educator, spanning grades K-12, she was the Professional Development Specialist for Secondary Mathematics. She currently supervises the Instructional Coaching Program in PWCS and is actively involved in the Teacher Induction Network, sponsored by the Apple Federal Credit Union Foundation. She has presented professional learning at local, state, national and international levels. She is co-author of The Power of Video in Reflective Conversations, (Transformative Talk 2014) and was a contributing author of Using Video Feedback During Coaching: Supporting Novice Educators, (VASCD Journal 2015). Donna is an Agency Trainer for Cognitive CoachingSM and is also a certified Fierce Conversations® facilitator who has a passion for the power of authentic coaching and the use of data to transform the thinking and practice of others.