Program Review (Washington Integrated Sub-recipient Monitoring)
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Program Review (Washington Integrated System of Monitoring)

We conduct program reviews of special education programs in Washington school districts. The term school districts (also called local education agencies, or LEAs) includes Educational Service Agencies and Charter Schools. Our primary focus is on improving educational results and functional outcomes for all students with disabilities.

Washington Integrated System of Monitoring (WISM) is designed to:

  • Promote special education program effectiveness, and
  • Ensure we meet our state supervision and oversight requirements for special education programs under state and federal law.


WISM Milestone 1Pre-award
The pre-award involves the single Federal Fund Application. School districts are required to complete the application to receive their federal special education allocation. The application must address the critical connections between the budget matrices, assurances, and LEA/ESA spending plans for Sections 611 and 619 funds, in order to be approved.

Pre-award FAQ

+ What is the Federal Fund Application and when is it due?

    The Federal Fund Application is a grant package that the local education agency (LEA) is required to complete to receive its federal special education allocation.

    To receive the July 1 Spending Start Date, the LEA must complete and submit to OSPI Special Education by July 1 at 5:00 p.m.:

    • the IDEA Part B Sections 611 and 619 budgets,
    • all applicable sections of Pages 1-6, and
    • a signed copy of the district’s Assurances.

    Note: the LEA must not have any outstanding required reports/documents due to the Special Education office.

    To receive the September 1 Spending Start Date, the LEA must complete and submit by September 1 at 5:00p.m:

    • the IDEA Part B Sections 611 and 619 budgets
    • all applicable sections of Pages 1-6, and
    • a signed copy of the district’s Assurances.

    Note: the LEA must not have any outstanding required reports/documents due to the Special Education office.


+ How can a district request support in completing their application?
+ What happens after a district submits the Federal Fund Application?

    Once the Federal Fund Application has been submitted, OSPI starts the review process. The OSPI reviewer will either approve the application, or follow up with the LEA if there are any questions.


+ What is the result of not completing the application on time?

    If LEAs do not complete their application on time, they will not have access to their federal special education allocation and they will receive a budget start date of the date the application (and all required components) is submitted to and approved by OSPI.



WISM Milestone 2Determinations
OSPI is required to make annual “determinations” on school districts’ overall compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA Section 616(a), CFR 300.600 & 300.602, and WAC 392-172A-07012.)

Determinations FAQ

+ What are the four levels of determination?

    1. Meets Requirements
    2. Needs Assistance
    3. Needs Intervention
    4. Needs Substantial Intervention


+ What criteria are used to assign determination levels to school districts?

    Washington uses the federally required criteria for calculating district determinations:

    1. Audit results
    2. Timely correction of non-compliance
    3. Timely and accurate data
    4. Performance on the compliance indicators (indicators 4B, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13)
    5. Information from ongoing monitoring activities and public information related to district compliance with IDEA 2004.

    Review the Determinations Rubric for a list of the criteria.


+ How will districts be notified of their annual determination level?

    • Districts and ESDs will be notified of the district’s determination level through a hard-copy letter mailed to the district on or around November 1.
    • Districts may request a review and reconsideration if their level is incorrect due to OSPI error. Requests must be received no later than November 15.


+ What supports are available for a district that does not meet requirements?
+ In addition to Determinations, are there other risk factors that are considered when selecting districts for additional monitoring?

    Yes. Additional risk factors include (but are not limited to):

    1. new sub-recipient status,
    2. history of non-compliance,
    3. new personnel in key positions, and
    4. volume or size of the award and LEA/ESA.



WISM Milestone 3Systems Analysis (on-site visits or off-site desk reviews)
Not every school district will be selected for a Systems Analysis. If selected, the school district will be chosen for either an on-site visit OR off-site desk review. Both on-site visits and off-site desk review follow the same sequence of events, and the scope of the review is the same.

Systems Analysis FAQ

+ What is the focus of the systems analysis review?

    Systems analysis follows a checklist aligned with the federal monitoring checklist (OSEP's Critical Elements Analysis Guide, or CrEAG). It includes:

    System-Level Review (4 Critical Elements)
    1. Data Verification – Does the LEA or ESA have a data system that is reasonably designed to collect and report data that are valid, reliable and reflect actual practice and performance?
    2. Fiscal Accountability – Does the LEA or ESA have procedures that are reasonably designed to ensure that funds are budgeted and expended in accordance with federal requirements?
    3. Dispute Resolution – Does the LEA or ESA have procedures and practices that are reasonably designed to implement the dispute resolution requirements of IDEA?
    4. Monitoring Priority Areas – Includes: Child Find; Least Restrictive Environment (LRE); Discipline; Transition (early childhood and post-secondary); and Disproportionality
    Student-Level Review - Confirmation of services delivered based on a properly formulated IEP that is developed as a result of a comprehensive evaluation.


+ What will happen during the pre-review stage?

    Notification Letter and Documentation Request: The district is sent a letter from OSPI with the date of review and request for advance documents.

    Conference Call: OSPI contacts the district prior to the on-site visit or off-site review to discuss the process, answer emerging questions, etc.

    Student Records Review: OSPI reviews a representative sampling of currently enrolled students receiving special education and related services.

    File selection considerations include (but are not limited to):

    • safety net applications
    • discipline/disproportionality flags
    • non-public agencies
    • educational institutions, such as group homes, juvenile detention centers


+ What will happen during the on-site visit?

    Opening Session

    • Review scope of visit and on-site schedule; discussion of district demographics, program services, and community partnerships.
    • May be coordinated with OSPI Consolidated Program Review Schedule.

    Concurrent On-Site Monitoring Activities

    • Focus Group
    • Interviews
    • Site Visits
    • Student Level Data Reviews

    School Building Visits

    • To informally observe service delivery
    • To interview educators responsible for provision of specially designed instruction.

    District Briefing(s)

    • Informal opportunity to communicate about visit progress, confirm next day’s activities, follow-up on emerging questions, etcetera.

    Summary Session

    • Informal summary of pre-visit and on-site activities; discussion of post-visit activities, final report development, and timelines.


+ What will happen during the post-review stage?

    Follow-Up Inquiries

    • May be needed on fiscal, compliance, and/or performance data collection(s), reporting, and analysis.

    Peer Review Activities

    • Preliminary results of student file review confirmed to ensure inter-rater reliability.

    Report Development

    • Written report with appended Required Action Tracker is issued using the Washington’s CrEAG Report Tool.
    • Final report briefing through K-20 or conference call (at district request)



WISM Milestone 4Close-out
Close-out is a series of reporting identified in the Federal Fund Application (and is individualized based on district activities such as Coordinated Early Intervening Services (CEIS), required corrective action, etc.). The focus is the essential connections between an LEA’s spending plans and budget matrices, and what impact the implementation of those have on outcomes for students with disabilities.

Close-out FAQ

+ What are the reporting requirements for close-out?

    Minimum requirements include:

    • The LEA/ESA maintains timely, accurate, and comprehensive fiscal and programmatic records pertaining to budgets, expenditures, compliance, and student outcomes.
    • The LEA/ESA completes and submits an Expenditure Report (F196).
    • Maintenance of Effort compliance.







   Updated 2/8/2019

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