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Blueprint Special Education Workgroup

On December 1, 2022, the Blueprint Accountability and Implementation Board (AIB) adopted its Initial Blueprint Comprehensive Implementation Plan. The Implementation Plan outlines recommendations for the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) to convene a Blueprint Special Education Workgroup to discuss and make recommendations on instruction and services for students with disabilities. MSDE is deeply invested in the success of students with disabilities and ensuring that all Blueprint-related programming occurs based on the best-in-class evidence-based research and strategies. Doing so is essential for the growth of our students with disabilities, particularly given the disproportionality of identification and service requirements.

Workgroup Meetings

MSDE welcomes meaningful input and public engagement to determine how we reduce the opportunity and achievement gaps for students with disabilities compared to same age peers. To address the specified requirements of the AIB Plan, MSDE will host a series of meetings beginning in August 2023. Each meeting will be focused on a guiding question and include a spotlight on best practices and research on the topic. Meetings will be held in person with a virtual option. The hybrid format will enable national experts and researchers to present and answer questions from Workgroup members and allow critical stakeholders to provide public comment at the beginning of each session.  

Initial & Interim Reports

This Workgroup’s initial report will provide background information, data, national best practices, and research, as well as initial findings and recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly by 12/1/23. An interim report will build on that report and be submitted by 7/1/24.

Final Report on Special Education

This Workgroup’s final report will build upon the previous reports, summarizing all research, data, and meaningful input and public engagement. This final report will present a full set of recommendations designed to evolve Maryland’s existing policies and practices to determine how we reduce the opportunity and achievement gaps for students with disabilities compared to same age peers.

In-Person and Virtual Public Comment Guidelines and Procedures

Members of the public are encouraged to submit comment(s)/feedback to the Workgroup to share their views on issues pertaining to improving the education of students receiving special education services in P-12 schools in the state. The process for signing up and providing public testimony is outlined below. If you have any questions about this process, please submit them to carmen.brown1@maryland.gov.

All speakers shall conduct themselves in a respectful, civil manner. Although Workgroup members do not respond to the comments during this segment of the meeting, the members do listen and may use this information for later Workgroup discussions.

Process for Public Comment

  1. Registration will open a week prior to the Workgroup meeting date and close at 3 p.m. on the last business day preceding the meeting.
  2. Individuals may sign-up to provide public comment at the next Workgroup meeting by completing this form
  3. Sign-up for public comment is limited to 10 speakers and registration is first-come, first served. You will receive a notice to confirm your registration. If you are providing comments virtually, you will be provided with instructions on how to connect to the meeting. Once registration has reached capacity, individuals may be placed on a waiting list. Individuals on the waiting list will be notified up to one day prior to the meeting if a space becomes available.
  4. The Workgroup designee will explain the meeting procedures and call on speakers in order of their registration.
  5. Comments are limited to three (3) minutes per speaker. Time will be monitored by staff through the use of a timer. When that time expires, the speaker is permitted to complete a sentence but should make no further remarks.
  6. Public comment submissions may not be related to personnel matters or issues pending in appeals to a local board or to the State Board.
  7. Members of the public can also submit their comments in writing to the Workgroup at carmen.brown1@maryland.gov for distribution to all members.

Workgroup Meetings

Location of Meetings

All meetings will be held at the Maryland State Department of Education located at 200 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201 in the 7th floor Board Room with a virtual option for attendance. Members of the public will be able to hear and view the livestream of the meeting in real time.

Guiding Questions:
What is the state of students with disabilities in Maryland? How do we overcome persistent barriers to effective implementation?

Workgroup members will convene to understand Workgroup responsibilities, hear from MSDE staff who will provide a data dive for the Workgroup to consider as they develop recommendations to educate students with disabilities in the state, participate in a discussion about previous studies to support students with disabilities, and learn how Lexington, Massachusetts significantly closed the achievement gaps for special education, minority, and low-income students.

Guest Speaker
Paul B. Ash, Ph.D., former superintendent of schools in Lexington, Massachusetts is a recognized national consultant and expert on closing achievement gaps.

Guest Presentation

MSDE Presentation

View the Special Education Workgroup Meeting

Guiding Questions:
What are existing standards and expectations under IDEA for the progress students with disabilities should be able to achieve? How do we ensure the IEP goals are set that are appropriately ambitious?

Workgroup members will convene to participate in a summary of recommendations from prior workgroups and taskforces on special education in Maryland. They will hear about the IEP framework and Maryland student performance and review research for consideration as they develop recommendations to improve the IEP process to ensure that students are enabled to narrow the achievement gap and achieve grade level standards.


Workgroup Meeting Padlet Exercise Results

Agenda (Spanish)
View the Special Education Workgroup Meeting