Interactive Institute 2023
The place: Charlotte, NC. The occasion: IDC's Interactive Institute 2023. The mission: To interact, influence, and improve on our way to sustainable cultures of high-quality data. Access the information from the presentations and resources on this page.
ii23 in Review
In June 2023, IDC convened our Interactive Institute 2023 in Charlotte, NC. There, 167 representatives of 55 states and territories joined us for two full days of informative and illuminating learning, listening, and sharing. Select any of the links below to access session PowerPoint slides, handouts, and more.
Selected Topic Presentations
Select a topic to see the related sessions, presenters, and downloads.
Session: Navigating Your State’s Data Culture: Lessons From Planning a Memorable Road Trip
Building and maintaining a great data culture for your state can feel like an overwhelming task. In special education, there are many different factors, audiences, relationships, and issues to consider when tackling data related issues, but a little planning can go a long way. And the effort doesn’t have to be overwhelming—in fact, you have probably faced similar challenges when navigating a road trip. Both require you to consider several different variables, plan an appropriate route, and flexibly address unforeseen obstacles and adjust course as needed to arrive at the best outcome. For ii23, our North Carolina colleagues helped us explore the similarities between navigating a great data culture and a memorable and successful road trip. For both, we need to have the right tools, the right vehicle, contingency plans if we need help along the way, and willingness to take the important first step in any plan or road trip—get up out of our chairs and go! Whether you’re a veteran data quality influencer or attending IDC’s Interactive Institute for the first time, let’s travel together to learn how you can arrive at a data culture that works best for your agency!
Session: Topical Conversations: SSIP Coordinator Data Quality Peer Group
Participants connected with their fellow SSIP coordinators around the SSIP, including their successes and challenges with the SSIP over the past year. As a bonus, participants learned more about the SSIP Coordinator Data Quality Peer Group, where they can continue conversations after ii23!
Session: Topical Conversations: Data Manager Data Quality Peer Group
Participants connected with their fellow data managers around experiences with reporting Child Count and Educational Environments data submissions in the new EDPass system. As a bonus, they learned more about the Data Manager Data Quality Peer Group, where they can continue conversations after ii23!
Session: Topical Conversations: SPP/APR Data Quality Peer Group
Participants connected with their peers around the SPP/APR, including how they might be changing their methodologies or processes around Indicator 4. As a bonus, they learned more about the SPP/APR Data Quality Peer Group, where they can continue conversations after ii23!
Session: Topical Conversations: Significant Disproportionality Peer-to-Peer Exchange
Participants connected with their peers around significant disproportionality, including their current plans and areas of focus for significant disproportionality over the coming year. As a bonus, they learned more about the Significant Disproportionality Peer-to-Peer Exchange, where they can continue conversations after ii23!
Session: Harnessing Your Influence to Create Change and Facilitate Growth
In the context of EDFacts modernization, states need to take a collaborative approach to data collection, reporting, and analysis. Regardless of job title, everyone has a role to play in facilitating growth and understanding related to using high-quality data. As a data quality influencer, you can guide the collective behaviors within the system to encourage use of high-quality data to improve decisionmaking. Everyone benefits from a collaborative approach to data quality leadership because it integrates multiple behaviors that support a data culture in ways that directly affect data quality. Participants explored how to craft a personal approach to collaborative change in ways that harness personal influence and promote data-informed decisionmaking for everyone. They engaged in conversations about how to strategically articulate key messages tailored to different audiences, consider the thoughts and actions needed to build a cohesive team, and explore the following questions: What is it I want to change? What is the reason? Whom do I need to bring on board?
Session: Get to the Heart of the Matter: The Central Role of Data in OSEP’s DMS Process
State processes and systems for collecting, analyzing, and reporting 616 and 618 data play a critically important role in OSEP’s Differentiated and Monitoring Support (DMS) process. Participants engaged in a hearty discussion-based session to deepen their understanding of this role. They reviewed OSEP’s expectations for state data systems and processes as outlined in the DMS protocols and considered available IDC tools and resources (including the SEA Data Processes Toolkit) designed to support states to improve their data processes. They learned firsthand from states in DMS Cohorts 1 and 2 about the way their data systems and processes have featured in their monitoring experience so far.
Session: All Systems Go: Using Indicator 17 to Effectively Drive Systems Change
How can a state create lasting change for students with disabilities? OSEP initiated the SSIP to encourage states to focus on changing their systems, not just one result. Systems change is hard, but it's easier when a state marshals many resources toward a common goal. In practice, this means creating alignment with other state initiatives, incorporating thoughtful input from stakeholders, and recognizing that special education and general education must pull together for success for all children. States also must carefully use their collected SSIP and other data to inform decisions about changing or staying the course. How can states deliberately and systematically develop and make effective use of an implementation infrastructure to support improving outcomes for all students and particularly for students with disabilities? Participants joined in a discussion of how to push for systemic change by using the resources within their state. They heard from other states about how they can harness elements across the state to work together for lasting change.
Session: Rooting for the “Why” Behind Significant Disproportionality in Order to Make Real Change
As the number of districts that states identify with significant disproportionality grows and the number of states identifying districts with significant disproportionality also grows, states want support in continuing to build their capacity and the capacity of their districts’ to address and reduce significant disproportionality. A necessary step in building this capacity is knowing how to determine what may be causing or contributing to the significant disproportionality and then applying that knowledge. Understanding the “why” is imperative for selecting and implementing strategies that could make a meaningful and lasting difference. Two states shared how, with IDC technical assistance and resources, they worked to uncover the “why” that then led to improving processes and implementing plans to effect change. IDC staff also shared resources, such as the IDC Success Gaps Toolkit, a facilitated team-based approach for identifying root causes and developing plans to address significant disproportionality.
Session: Topical Conversations: 619 Coordinator Data Quality Peer Group
Participants connected with their fellow 619 coordinators around how they communicate and collaborate with others in their state and how states incorporate preschool data in LEA determinations. As a bonus, they learned more about the 619 Coordinator Data Quality Peer Group, where they can continue conversations after ii23!
Session: Topical Conversations: Cross-Role Data Quality Peer Group
Participants connected with their peers across all role groups, including Part B data managers, state directors, and others, around data challenges and priorities for different roles. As a bonus, they participants learned more about the Cross-Role Data Quality Peer Group, where they can continue conversations after ii23!
Session: Topical Conversations: Discipline Partnership
Participants connected with their peers around Discipline data quality concerns, Discipline data trends, and successful improvements to Discipline data. As a bonus, they learned more about the Discipline Partnership, where they can continue conversations after ii23!
Session: Topical Conversations: New Data Manager Connection
Participants connected with their fellow new data managers around the federal fiscal year 2021 SPP/APR submissions, including successes and areas of improvement for next year’s submission. As a bonus, they learned more about the New Data Manager Connection, where they can continue conversations after ii23!
Session: Go “From Good to Great” With Your LEA Determinations by Meeting Compliance and Systems Goals
What would Jim Collins (the author of “From Good to Great”) say about LEA determinations? To find out, participants reflected on how LEA determinations are calculated in their own state and consider whether the determinations are “good” (aligned with the minimal requirements as outlined by OSEP) and how to make them “great” (compliant and supportive of overall general supervision system goals and priorities). Presenters detailed the OSEP requirements around calculating LEA determinations and then delved into ways states can strategically leverage LEA determinations to advance their general supervision priorities. Staff from the Rhode Island Department of Education shared their own experiences with revising their LEA determinations and to responded to questions from participants.
Session: Don’t Set It and Forget It: Revising Targets to Engage Stakeholders
Does your state set SPP/APR targets and then put them on the shelf until the next SPP/APR season? Target setting should not be a “one and done” activity that states conduct with stakeholders. States can use their target setting process to engage stakeholder groups in an ongoing effort to examine and evaluate progress, adjust improvement strategies, and encourage commitment to achieving targets. During this interactive session, participants learned how to engage staff and stakeholders and build their capacity to understand targets, analyze data, respond to slippage, and evaluate progress. They also learned about the new IDC SPP/APR Target Setting Toolkit, a suite of tools that helps states set meaningful, measurable, and rigorous SPP/APR targets.
Session: Ready, (Data)Set, Go—How to Start and Finish Strong With Indicators 8 and 14 Survey Data
Conducting a survey can be like running a race—most of your time is spent preparing, pacing is key when you are in the thick of it, and, despite the results, you must be ready to analyze and discuss your performance to ensure future improvement. Participants explored different strategies for gathering, handling, analyzing, and interpreting survey data for Indicators 8 and 14. They discussed options for measuring representativeness and the relationship between representativeness and nonresponse bias. Participants also learned about the upcoming release of IDC’s Nonresponse Bias Analysis App and how SEAs can use this exciting new tool.
Session: An IDC Design Network Exclusive: Developing a Reasonably Designed Methodology for Indicator 4
State viewers, tune in live! The IDC Design Network is airing a new episode, “Developing a Reasonably Designed Methodology for Indicator 4.” In the SPP/APR General Instructions, OSEP has added information about Indicator 4—“For Indicators 4A and 4B, the State’s methodology for examining data must be reasonably designed to determine if significant discrepancies are occurring in the rate of long-term suspensions and expulsions of children with disabilities among LEAs in the State or compared to the rates for nondisabled children within those LEAs.” What is a “reasonably designed methodology”? Are you wondering if your state’s current methodology meets the criteria for reasonableness? IDC designers shared ideas about questions to ask and considerations to think about for examining a state’s methodology. Participants shared stories about making changes to methodologies to ensure they are reasonably designed. After networking with colleagues about their design ideas, participants left with valuable insight for examining their own methodology.
Session: Using Data as a Road Map for General Supervision to Stay on the Road to Improved Outcomes
As a part of its Results Driven Accountability (RDA) system under IDEA Parts B and C, OSEP has launched Differentiated Monitoring and Support (DMS) 2.0. The state’s use of data in the general supervision system is of key importance. This interactive session focused on identifying and prioritizing relevant data in decisionmaking. States participated in activities to be able to answer OSEP’s overarching question, “Does the State have a data system that is reasonably designed to collect and report valid and reliable data and information to the Department and the public in a timely manner and ensure that the data collected and reported reflect actual practice and performance?” The answer to this question sets the stage for needed next steps to assess trends across the state and determine the specific needs of each local program. Participants heard from and interacted with state staff who have been through the DMS process and can speak to the relevance and importance of high-quality data collection, verification, and use.
Session: COVID-19 in 2023: Mining Special Education Data to Better Understand the Pandemic’s Impact
2023 marks three years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. The challenges faced by states, districts, schools, children, and families have been innumerable. Federally required data collections offer a wealth of information states can mine to better understand and enumerate the pandemic’s impacts. In addition, data beyond the federal data collections also may be helpful when attempting to paint a full picture of the effects of COVID-19 on special education. Participants in this discussion-based work session explored what data states can consider in mapping the impact of the pandemic. They discussed questions of interest about the effects of the pandemic, identified data sources that may offer insights into those questions, and considered application of IDC’s Data Meeting Toolkit to guide further investigations within their own agency.
Session: Making NOISE About Indicator Connections: Supporting Your Flourishing Tree of Influence
Are you ready to make some NOISE about data use in your state? Do you feel like you alone are making NOISE about SPP/APR data use? Last year, you grew your Tree of Influence, but it may feel like the growth is stalled. Is that because the only gardeners tending to the Tree are the data managers? It is time to make some NOISE and get the Tree flourishing! Creating the Tree of Influence is the first step in understanding how the SPP/APR indicators affect one another and how they can influence state performance planning and lead to greater cohesiveness across the special education system. What are the next steps? Your Colorado colleagues shared how the state built its Tree of Influence and then how groups focused on intersecting indicators and completed an analysis of Needs, Opportunities, Improvements, Strengths, and Exceptions (NOISE) for those indicators. Participants heard what the NOISE is all about as presenters shared lessons learned and examples of how a “NOISE analysis” can influence state performance planning and lead to greater cohesiveness across the system.
Session: Setting a Course Together: Navigating the Murky Waters of Early Childhood Discipline Data
“A child’s early years set the trajectory for the relationships and successes they will experience for the rest of their lives…As such, expulsion and suspension practices in early childhood settings…should be prevented, severely limited, and eventually eliminated” (U.S. DHHS and U.S. DOE, 2016, Policy Statement on Expulsion and Suspension Policies In Early Childhood Settings). However, overlapping policies for suspension and expulsion have created inconsistent and confusing data collection across programs serving preschoolers with special needs, hindering the ability of programs and states to ascertain the scope of this discipline issue. LEAs and community-based programs need to chart a shared course to improve data integrity and create a more accurate picture of exclusionary discipline in early childhood. Participants explored opportunities to support cross-agency collaboration to improve data quality and inform policy and practice across programs.
Session: “Tell Me More!” Creating a Compelling Data Story Through Data Visualizations
Who doesn’t love a good story? Great storytellers capture audiences, keep us on the edge of our seat, and can call us to action. But how do we tell a good story with the data that we have, and how can data visualization help? The challenge of communicating with data has become more complex, but more opportunities lie ahead. Since our work has become virtual and hybrid, have you adapted your practices for telling a compelling data story for new audiences? Has your perspective in storytelling shifted to address the systemic inequity in the room? These shifts in our storytelling context call us to renew our strategies for effective data storytelling. This session provided an opportunity for participants to share their biggest questions and their biggest successes in data storytelling and an opportunity to discuss what it takes to tell a compelling data story with special education data in 2023.
Session: Hot Off the Press! The FFY 2021 SPP/APR Investigative Report
Extra, extra, read all about it! IDC investigative reporters were on the scene to share their FFY 2021 SPP/APR Investigative Report. Through some in-depth sleuthing, our reporters uncovered some common challenges states faced for the FFY 2021 reporting period. Culprits included addressing stakeholder engagement for FFY 2021, setting new baseline years (when and how to do so), explaining and applying minimum n- and cell sizes, analyzing nonresponse bias, describing how the state verified that the source of the noncompliance is correctly implementing the regulatory requirements (Prong 2), and more. Reporters debriefed new and experienced state staff on our discoveries, shared harrowing tales from members of the community, and provided tips and tricks to keep these culprits from intimidating the community. Our loyal readers and attendees got an exclusive look at the report and left with valuable ideas for preparing their FFY 2022 SPP/APRs. You won’t want to miss this chance to revisit what they shared!
Session: The Data Quality Influencer’s Tool for Answering the “Why” of a Problem
As a data quality influencer, you can step up your game by providing tools to LEAs to enable their staff to not only understand data, but also to use data to make informed decisions. We’ve all been in situations where we know there is a problem—the data tells us as much—but we are at a loss about the most meaningful action to cause change. Or we jump to a solution only to have that prove ineffective. This can be especially frustrating with high stakes on the line (e.g., student outcomes, LEA determinations, monetary set asides). Data quality influencers can provide resources and model systematic, data-based approaches to resolving deeply rooted issues such as disproportionality or achievement gaps as they partner with LEAs to work toward preventing entrenched problems from recurring. How? Learn about root cause analysis, a structured, data-based problem-solving method that asks you to investigate factors that contribute to systemic problems and helps you make data-informed decisions to improve outcomes.
Session: Let’s Talk: Promoting Collaborative Conversations With LEAs to Change Preschool Environments Data
Accurately reflecting a full continuum of preschool educational environments in LEA-level IDEA data requires the SEA to promote collaborative work at the local level through clear and consistent messaging. Collaboration among staff within LEAs makes collecting, reporting, analyzing, and using preschool educational environments data a richer and more valuable experience. This collaboration also can improve the quality of the data and increase confidence in using the data to guide decisionmaking. Participants joined a discussion about one SEA’s experience improving and effectively using preschool educational environments and how the SEA supported collaboration at both the SEA and LEA levels.
Session: “What Happened Next?” Turning Data-Driven Decisionmaking Into a Compelling Story
Good storytelling is an art. It draws the audience in, appeals to both our reason and emotions, and affects the reader or listener. With the work and yearly reporting of the SSIP, the SEA is charged to tell the story, learn from what has happened (the data!), plan for the future, and motivate stakeholders to reach the goal. The challenge is telling a powerful story that moves people while staying within the constraints of the SSIP template. IDC presenters shared tips for telling a powerful story across each stage of the decision-making process: selecting and prioritizing data sources, analyzing data, working with stakeholders to interpret multiple data sources, and using findings for continuous improvement. States shared reporting strategies and lessons learned to help each other become better storytellers and tell their state stories in a more impactful way.
Session: Today on Meet the Pass: EDPass
For almost as long as there has been television, there has been "Meet the Press." The hour-long Sunday morning public affairs program has featured interviews with countless U.S. and world leaders, and the host has reviewed, analyzed, and discussed the news of the week—all while looking toward the week ahead. On “Meet the Pass,” IDC program hosts reviewed the latest information on how EDFacts modernization is changing the way states submit data through the new EDPass system. They interviewed experts from three states on how their state’s Part B data manager and other special education personnel collaborate and coordinate with the EDFacts coordinator to submit Section 618 data and data notes in the new EDPass system when the data are due and how the changes in most submission dates have affected SEA internal timelines and processes. They discussed how the role and responsibilities of the Part B data manager have changed in the EDPass process and how Part B data managers are dealing with the increase in the importance of presubmission data quality work and high-quality data notes with LEAs and schools as applicable. Learn more from this lively discussion during this edition of “Meet the Pass.”
Session: Interactive Showcase
Every well-organized journey begins with a guide, and our ii23 Interactive Showcase was no exception. During this session, attendees used this booklet to guide their stops throughout the showcase to learn more about resources available from their state colleagues and IDC.
Session: A Date with Data: Live with OSEP
Lights, mics, action! In dating, as in life, it's important to keep things fresh and lively. That's why we took advantage of our time in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the IDC Interactive Institute 2023 to sit down with OSEP's Gregg Corr, Christine Pilgrim, and Richelle Davis. Join host Amy Bitterman for this national perspective on how states can interact, influence, and improve their way to higher quality IDEA data. Listen to our very first episodes of A Date with Data recorded before a live studio audience!