Resources to Support Pennsylvania's State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP)
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) of 2004 requires states to develop a State Performance Plan (SPP) describing how the state will implement the requirements and purposes of the Act and improve outcomes for students with disabilities. In addition to the 16 indicators currently included in the plan, states are now also required to develop a State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP) that has been designated as Indicator 17. This is a new requirement that is part of the US Department of Education’s (USDE) implementation of a revised accountability system under the IDEA.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Bureau of Special Education (BSE) has collaborated with multiple stakeholders to select a focus for its SSIP. This focus area is called a State Identified Measurable Result (SIMR). Pennsylvania has selected increasing the graduation rate for students with disabilities as its SIMR.
To achieve results for students, the USDE expects states to adopt and implement innovative, evidence-based practices, otherwise referred to as Coherent Improvement Strategies. The BSE, in collaboration with stakeholders and the National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities, has identified seven coherent improvement strategies that lead to higher graduation rates. Selected strategies will be implemented by schools following a comprehensive assessment of needs.
The BSE will be partnering with a number of Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) to implement its SSIP. High quality training and technical assistance will be offered to schools through this partnership and lessons learned will be shared with all LEAs in the commonwealth to promote statewide improvement in graduation rates for students with disabilities. BSE will also partner with the federally funded Community Parent Resource Center, Hispanos Unidos para Niños Excepcionales (HUNE). Community and mentoring materials and resources developed through this partnership will be shared with other organizations.
The SSIP is a comprehensive, ambitious, yet achievable multi-year plan for improving results for students with disabilities. The SSIP document represents Phase I of the plan and includes information regarding (1)data analysis, (2)state infrastructure to support improvement and build capacity, (3)the state-identified SIMR, (4)Coherent Improvement Strategies, and a (5)Theory of Action.
States submitted their Phase II SSIPs to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) on April 1, 2016. Pennsylvania has been notified that its Phase II SSIP has been approved. States will submit Phase III of their SSIPs on April 1, 2017.