The Massachusetts Department of Education (DOE ), now known as

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE )


There are many helpful publications regarding special education:

Page Index: Bullying, Curriculum Frameworks Eligibility, IDEA(Federal Regs) IEP (Individualized Education Program),  Independent Educational Evaluations (IEE) , MCAS Oberervation, PlacementProblem reporting (PQA) , Special Education Process, Specific Learning Disability (SLD) Eligibility Determination, SPED PAC Manual, State SPED Regulations/laws, TransportationTransitions (age 14 & age 18) and Tutoring (home hospital) :

(DOE Memo's and Advisories offer information and guidance to supplement the Special Education Law and Regulations.)

Special Education Process:

A Parent's Guide to Special Education Manual (manual)

Question and Answer Guide (64 Questions and answers), Fall 2002 PQA Area Meetings of Administrators of Special Education (memo)

Parent's Rights Brochure (April 2008), pages 15 (now in translated into 9 different languages). 
(the previous version was known as the
Interim Notice of Procedural Safeguards,9 pages).
This is the document you receive from your school at your annual Team meeting.
(Originally the Notice of Procedural Safeguards this was a 1 page, two-sided, tri-fold brochure, and you received a copy at every Team meeting.)

Technical Assistance Advisory SPED 2007-1: Autism Spectrum Disorder (memo)
Issued by Marcia Mittnacht, State Director of Special Education, dated August 23, 2006.
Autism Spectrum Disorder guidelines for the Team meeting to comprehensively discuss students' needs.

The purpose of this advisory is to provide guidance on the ways that the Individual Education Program (IEP) Team may effectively frame complete and thorough discussions of the strengths and needs of a student with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

While Chapter 57 does NOT increase documentation requirements, it describes specific areas of review and requires the Team to comprehensively discuss students' needs that are consistent with best practices for addressing the needs of students diagnosed with ASD.


Age 14 or sooner

Technical Assistance Advisory SPED 2009-1: Transition Planning to Begin at Age 14 (memo)
Issued by Marcia Mittnacht, State Director of Special Education, dated September 3, 2008. 
Beginning age 14 or sooner if determined appropriate by an individualized education program team, school age children with disabilities shall be entitled to transition services and measurable post-secondary goals, as provided under the federal Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004).

Memorandum on the Implementation of the Transition Planning Form (TPF) -- 28M/9 Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD File
Effective February 2007, a newly developed Transition Planning Form (numbered 28M/9) for all students with disabilities who are over 15 years of age.
This form has been developed for transition planning that occurs either prior to or at the time of the annual development of the IEP. The TPF (28M/9) is a mandated form that is maintained with the IEP. As a mandated form, districts must use this format to document that transition planning has occurred.  Only those aspects of this planning that translate to elements of the IEP are "mandated" to occur. We have deliberately designed the planning process to be more than what is required by special education in order to have a coherent and inclusive plan of action to help to prepare youth for adult life.

This form will help districts meet the requirements of transition planning in IDEA 2004 and will be the required document for districts to demonstrate compliance with the transition requirements associated with Indicator 13 of the State Performance Plan for Special Education. The Department will begin monitoring use of the TPF (28M/9) during its Coordinated Program Reviews in the 2007–2008 school year.

The two-page TPF (28M/9) guides and documents the transition planning discussion. Page one features two sections:

Age 18:

MA DOE Technical Assistance Advisory SPED 2011-1: Age of Majority
dated September 20, 2010
This advisory provides guidance to school districts concerning the transfer of rights under special education law when the student reaches age 18, the age of majority in Massachusetts.
The advisory address: Notification requirements, IEP Documentation requirements, and Transfer and sharing or delegation of rights.
1. Notification requirements: The notification provided to both the parent and the student must explicitly state that all rights accorded to parents under special education law will transfer to the 18 year old student and that the parent will continue to receive all the required notices from the school district and will have the right to inspect the student's records, but will not longer make special education decisions for the adult student.
2. IEP Documentation requirements: A statement should be included in the section on the IEP entitled "Other Information." 2 School districts are not required to provide detail on the transfer of rights, but must state that the student has been informed that the right to make decisions about his or her special education will transfer to the student when he or she turns 18.
3. Transfer and sharing or delegation of rights: If the student chooses to share or delegate decision-making, that choice must be documented and witnessed by representatives of the school district. The student may revoke sharing or delegation of decision-making at any time. If any disagreement arises related to special education decision-making, the choice of the adult student shall prevail.

Special Education Eligibility Determination:

 Special Education Eligibility Determination  (form - ED 1)
 A flowchart to be used in the Team meeting as an aide for determining if your child meets the criteria for special education.14

 Is Special Education the Right Service, A Technical Assistive Guide (manual) 14 Draft 2005

Specific Learning Disability (SLD) Eligibility Determination:

To determine the existence of a SLD the Team must establish that the student is not able to demonstrate the necessary processing skills to achieve adequately for his/her age or to meet ELA or Math Curriculum Framework standards when provided with appropriate learning experiences and instruction in one or more of the following areas:

Oral Expression
Written Expression
Basic Reading Skills
Reading Comprehension
Reading Fluency Skills
Listening Comprehension
Mathematics Problem Solving
Mathematics Calculation

Specific Learning Disability (SLD) Eligibility Requirements Instructions 14

Specific Learning Disablity (SLD) - (webpage of forms):

Specific Learning Disability Eligibility Checklist 14

Component 1: Historical Review and Educational Assessment (SLD 1) - (new component 2008-2009)

Component 2: Area of Concern and Evaluation Method (SLD 2) - (new component 2008-2009)

Component 3: Exclusionary Factors (SLD 3)

Component 4: Observation (SLD 4)



MA DOE Technical Assistance Advisory SPED 2011-2: Bullying Prevention and Intervention
dated February 11, 2011
Requires school leaders to create and implement strategies to prevent bullying, and to address bullying and retaliation promptly and effectively if they occur. The law has specific implications for the IEP process and for students with disabilities.

State Regulations:

       SPED regulations(manual)

Federal Law - IDEA 2004:   

        Our State's IDEA 2004 Training Materials

        Administrative Advisory SPED 2007--1: IDEA-2004 Implementing Regulations (memo)
        Has a chart of the key changes in regulations and description the impact of these changes on school district.

SPED PAC Manuals:

Guidance For Special Education Parent Advisory Councils (March 2010)

This manual replaces two older manuals/guides for Parent Advisory Councils:

Making It Happen: Effective Strategies for Parent Advisory Councils (1991), 78 pages PDF  

Making It Happen: Question and Answer Guide for Special Education Parent Advisory Councils (1992), 18 pages PDF  

Curriculum Goals for learning - progress:

Massachusetts  Frameworks (manuals)

Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks on Concord SEPAC webpage


IEP Process Guides (manual) 14

Leaving your Team Meeting with Documentation:

Time line for Issuing IEP's, the latest memorandum issued from the Massachusetts Department of Education (DOE), by Marcia Mittnacht, State Director of Special Education, dated December 1, 2006, the memo defines receiving the IEP immediately after Team meeting and what documentation is recommended, if the IEP is not fully developed in one Team meeting:

'Memorandum on the Implementation of 603 CMR 28.05(7): Parent response to proposed IEP and proposed placement'

( Previous Letter to New Bedford Public Schools - Timelines for Issuing IEPs  [603 CMR 28.05(7)] (memo), Issued in 2002)
Service Delivery Grid - under Type of Personal (PQA Compliant #13-0029, memo, dated Sept. 2012) or download memo from our website
IEP Forms and Notices (documents)

Tutoring (when out of school):

Physician’s Statement for Temporary Home or Hospital Education Form   (form) 14

Administrative Advisory SPED 2003-1: Changes to Massachusetts Special Education Law (memo)
(home or hospital issues highlighted in yellow)

Question and Answer Guide on the Implementation of Educational Services in the Home or Hospital,
603 CMR 28.03(3)(c) and 28.04(4) (memo)


Change in Mileage Reimbursement for Parents under 603 CMR 28.07(6) (memo)
For parents who are providing transportation for their child and the transported child is eligible for special education and requires special transportation according to the special education regulations at 603 CMR 28.05(5)(b); and transport is for school attendance and school-sponsored extracurricular activities; and transport occurs with the knowledge and agreement of the school district; and the parent voluntarily provides transport.  As of September 12, 2005, the mileage reimbursement rate 40¢ per mile reimbursement.


Administrative Advisory SPED 2004-1: Independent Educational Evaluations (IEE) (memo)
Clarify school district responsibility under the federal and state special education law for providing a publicly funded independent educational evaluation (IEE) or private evaluation for a student.

School Observations:

MA DOE Technical Assistance Advisory SPED 2009-2: dated January 7, 2009 ,
Observation of Education Programs by Parents and Their Designees for Evaluation Purposes
The legislature recently amended section 3 of G.L. c. 71B, the state special education law, to require school committees, upon request by a parent, to grant timely and sufficient access by parents and parent-designated independent evaluators and educational consultants (both of whom are referred to in this guidance as "designees") to a child's current and proposed special education program so that the parent and named designees can observe the child in the current program and any proposed program. The law, referred to in this advisory as "the observation law," limits the restrictions or conditions that schools may impose on these observations. The purpose of the law is to ensure that parents can participate fully and effectively in determining the child's appropriate educational program.


MCAS and PARCC Participation Requirements:

MCAS and PARCC Participation Requirements  (memo)

MCAS Accessibility and Accommodations

Requirements for the Participation of Students with Disabilitiess and English Language Learners (includes a flowchart to assist with MCAS Participation Team Decision Making) (manual)

Administrative Advisory SPED 2002-4 - REVISED: Special Education Students in Out-of-District Placements - Participation in MCAS Testing and High School Graduation Standards (memo)

MCAS Performance Appeals (memo)



Administrative Advisory SPED 2002-3: Vocational Educational Services for Students with Disabilities (memo)

Administrative Advisory SPED 2003-1: Changes to Massachusetts Special Education Law (memo)


 Special Education Administrative Guidance, Memos to school administers (memo)

Special Education News memos - archived   


Problem Resolution PQA (see our webpage)

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148-4906



One of our original webpages, created July, 2001, by Melody Orfei
Webpage last modified on January 26, 2017 - V22 by Melody Orfei