Program Monitoring

The Division of Compliance and Assistance is responsible for ensuring each district demonstrates general compliance and continuous improvement in the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The Program Monitoring Unit has assigned each of Minnesota’s school districts to one of six monitoring groups. View MDE’s six-year monitoring cycle.

Districts will participate in a self-review process followed by a comprehensive monitoring visit from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) two years later. This monitoring cycle takes place over a six-year period, allowing time for districts to implement improvement strategies and focus on student results. Find your district’s assigned monitoring years.
 

New for 2015-16 School Year

Changes to the program monitoring schedule. Thanks to overwhelming support from the field, and from advocates, the Division of Compliance and Assistance has revised the program monitoring schedule. The monitoring cycle has shifted from a self-review and MDE monitoring within a five-year period to completing these reviews within a six-year period.

Online training. MDE has training opportunities available online. Topics include navigating IEP goals and objectives, progress reporting, and prior written notices. Continuing education units (CEUs) are available upon completion. These trainings can be found on the Compliance and Assistance Training page.

The Program Monitoring System

Record Review
While “paperwork” is rarely a special educator’s favorite part of the job, it is necessary to clarify and document students’ educational needs and progress. Prior to the beginning of the school year, program monitoring training is provided by MDE for districts that are in a review year. MDE then generates a random sample of student files, which districts review based on record review checklists. If the district finds noncompliance, the file is corrected based on the Compliance Tracking Requirement Guide (CRTG). MDE verifies the district reviewers’ accuracy both by examining some files reviewed by district staff as well as files sent for correction of noncompliance.

MDE Review
During a district’s MDE review year, the process includes stakeholder surveys as well as a site visit. Both provide significant opportunities for districts to address process issues as well as facility concerns, which strongly impact student results.

Corrective Action Plans (CAPs)
If noncompliance is identified, districts are responsible for developing and implementing corrective action plans (CAPs) during the year following review. Most CAPs focus on staff training followed by file review to ensure that the training was effective. Districts have been able to use CAPs to address training needs, to further clarify requirements, and to achieve compliance in previously identified problem areas. MDE has created a CAP Development Guide to help districts with corrective action plans.
 
Why Does MDE Do Record Review?
First, MDE documents the results of each review in our required annual state performance report to the U.S. Department of Education, but record review can also help districts and families. By training on requirements, district administrators and staff will have a better understanding of the paperwork and may be able to complete it more efficiently. Greater efficiency helps teachers and paraprofessionals spend less time on paperwork and more time with students and families.

More complete documentation also helps families and students better understand the IEP process, know what to expect from special education, and see improved student progress.