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). All districts in Minnesota are assigned to one of six monitoring groups. View MDE’s six-year monitoring cycle. Districts will receive a comprehensive monitoring visit from MDE once every six years and participate in self-monitoring two years earlier. 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 advocates, the Division of Compliance and Assistance has revised the program monitoring schedule. The monitoring cycle has shifted from monitoring visits and self-reviews twice in a five-year period to twice in a six-year period. This will provide districts with additional opportunities to implement improvement strategies and to focus on student results.

New online training. MDE has developed additional online training on navigating IEP goals and objectives and on progress reporting. These trainings can be found on the Compliance and Assistance Training page.

The Monitoring System

Record Review
While “paperwork” is rarely special educators’ favorite part of the job, it is necessary to clarify and track students’ educational needs and progress. During both MDE review and self-review years, a random sample of files is generated by MDE for districts to review based on program monitoring training provided by MDE at the beginning of the school year. MDE verifies the reviewers’ accuracy both by examining files sent as correction of noncompliance as well as requesting files reviewed by district staff.

The record review accomplishes several goals:

  • District staff have a better understanding of the IEP process.
  • District staff have more student contact time because they are able to complete paperwork more efficiently.
  • MDE reports the results of the review in our annual report to the U.S. Department of Education on our state’s performance.
Record review checklists for Part B (ages 3-21 years) and Part C (birth to 3 years) are provided to districts to complete their record reviews. After the districts review their records, they enter results into the Minnesota Continuous Improvement (MNCIMP) system, which helps MDE and districts track files for correction and completion. MDE has also created a Corrections Tracking Guidance (CRTG) to help districts with the record review process.

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.