To improve results for infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities, and their families, the DSE/EIS Strategic Plan will focus on Action Imperatives in four critical areas:

Our Bold Vision

All students, including students with disabilities, will be ready for school, achieve in school, and be prepared for college, careers, and community living as a result of their participation in Maryland’s early intervention and special education programs. All existing gaps between children with disabilities and that of their non disabled peers will be narrowed.

Bold Strategic Goals:

The overarching goal of the DSE/EIS is to narrow  the school readiness and achievement gap between children and youth with disabilities and their non disabled peers and ensure that youth with disabilities are college, career, and community ready when they complete their schooling.

The supporting goal for the DSE/EIS is to develop and maintain effective, efficient, and integrated  organization infrastructures and processes to meet all State and federal requirements and requests related to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the General Education Provision Act (GEPA), the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR), the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) procedures, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the Annotated Code of Maryland, and the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR).

Our Data Informing the Work

In recent years, children and youth with disabilities have demonstrated progress in addressing the State achievement gap. However, the DSE/EIS believes that the pace of change can and must increase.

  1. School readiness for young children with disabilities has increased by 27 percentage points since 2002.   However,  in 2013,  despite a significant gain over time, just 57% of children  with disabilities (compared with 84% of their non disabled peers) are “fully ready” according to kindergarten entry assessments.
  2. Maryland’s proficiency  for students with disabilities in reading and math has been above the national average for 5 years and has been increasing over time. However, in 2013, the gap in achievement between students with disabilities and their non disabled peers is quite variable, ranging from a low of 25% for reading in grade 3 to a high of 48% for math in grade 8.
  3. In 2013, 68% of children with disabilities received general and specialized instruction in regular education classes more than 80% of the time. While Maryland continues to be a leader in including students with disabilities 80% or more of the time, variability exists statewide, ranging from 52% to 92%.
  4. While students with disabilities are staying in school until graduation more than ever before, the dropout rate for students with disabilities is higher and the graduation rate lower than for non disabled students. In 2012:
  • The dropout rate for students with disabilities was 18%, compared with 9% for non disabled students.
  • The 4-year adjusted cohort graduation rate for students with disabilities was 57%, compared with 86% for non disabled students.

Of the students with disabilities who exited school in 2011, 33% entered employment and 25% enrolled in post-secondary education—representing lower percentages than for their non disabled peers.

by Maryland State Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services Staff