Links on this page will open in a new window.

The 2005 OSEP National Early Childhood Conference

Overview   |  Agenda   |  Plenaries
Concurrents   |  ECO Workshop   |  Challenging Behavior Workshop   |  ICC Mtg   |  Part C Mtg   |  Section 619 Mtg   |  Pacific Mtg

Monday, February 7, 2005

9:00 - 10:30

Opening Plenary

Welcome and Overview

  • Pat Trohanis, NECTAC
  • Gail Houle, Research to Practice Division, OSEP
  • Troy Justesen, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in the U.S. Department of Education

Pat Trohanis, Director of the National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center, welcomed over 600 participants to the 2005 OSEP National Early Childhood Conference at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC.

Gail Houle, Associate Division Director of the OSEP Research to Practice Division, offered greetings and introduced Troy Justesen, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in the U.S. Department of Education.

Justesen introduced the plenary speaker, Vice Admiral Richard H. Carmona, Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Justesen highlighted numerous awards Carmona has received despite being a high-school drop out. Justesen also identified Carmona as the nation's leading spokesperson about health throughout the country and as one of the most sought after speaker's of the President's Administration. A standing ovation followed welcoming the Surgeon General to the lectern.

The Value and Promise of Every Child

  • Vice Admiral Richard H. Carmona, Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Surgeon General began by thanking the audience for the work that it does. Carmona said, "As parents and professionals, you touch children's lives every day. Your impact is felt through the children and families you reach through your dedication and hard work. And that impact is poured through the generations. You are building the foundation of success not only for your patients and students, but also for our nation."

Carmona described his life as the grandson of an immigrant in Brooklyn. He grew up during a time when education took a back seat to survival. His grandmother told him about the importance of education and would say, "Education will set you free." After dropping out of high school, he enrolled in the Army, which gave him the discipline he needed to mature into a man. Carmona described himself as an average person who worked twice as hard as everyone else. By being tenacious and persistent, Carmona graduated from the top of his college class and skipped a year of medical school.

Carmona highlighted three priorities the President asked the Surgeon General to focus on: prevention, public health preparedness, and eliminating health disparities. Carmona said that health literacy is the common currency that combines all three of these components together.

Carmona declared 2005 as the Year of the Healthy Child, an initiative to focus on all aspects of the child's life - body, mind and spirit - beginning with prenatal care through adolescence. The Office of the Surgeon General is also working on other child healthcare issues, including: injuries, overweight; child abuse; mental health, indoor environment, and an initiative on disabilities.

Follow the link for remarks as prepared by the Surgeon General (not a transcript).


  • Stephanie Lee, Director, Office of Special Education Programs
  • John H. Hager, Assistant Secretary, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education

Stephanie Lee, Director, Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education, thanked Vice Admiral Carmona. She introduced John H. Hager, Assistant Secretary, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education. He was a successful business leader before being elected to the second highest office in Virginia, lieutenant governor. After September 11th, he was asked to serve as Virginia's director of homeland security. He paid particular attention to the security of people with disabilities and his work served as a model to other states.

Hager acknowledged the contribution that the OSEP National Early Childhood Conference makes to the field. Dubbed as the Super Bowl of the Early Childhood field, he said that he hoped conference attendees would leave energized and better equipped to work while helping other team players to better serve children with disabilities and their families.

Hager highlighted the legislation that would be discussed throughout the conference - No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and Parts B and C of IDEA 2004. He pointed out some of OSERS initiatives, including the implementation of IDEA and bringing it closer to NCLB's accountability standards for students with disabilities. Another initiative is to work with other government agencies, like HHS, VA and SS, and outside national agencies, such as Easter Seals, that have similar missions of serving children with disabilities. The ultimate goal is for children to grow up with a full life that is self-reliant and self-sufficient.

Hager recognized the importance of the early childhood years as critical for brain development. He said that this time might be of even greater importance to people with disabilities. Hager cited several recent reports that confirm this evidence, including Neurons to Neighborhoods. Hager said that OSERS is committed to bridging the gap between research and practice.

Hager discussed OSERS' commitment to providing an open process while writing the regulations for the new IDEA. An open meeting this summer had over 200% greater participation than expected. He outlined the process OSERS would take with the intention of completing the regulations by December 3rd, 2005, one year after the signing of the law. This timetable is one year shorter than the previous reauthorization of 1997.

Informational handout for opening plenary with bio information about John H. Hager and Vice Admiral Richard H. Carmona

Pat Trohanis reviewed the national contextual changes that had occurred since the 2003 OSEP National Early Childhood Confernece. He highlighted three national initiatives: IDEA, Good Start, Grow Smart and NCLB. Trohanis cited the growing rank of special needs children and its impact on the economy, as presented in Business Week magazine. The resulting rising costs of special education points to a whole new language of accountability. Trohanis stated that attendees would hear a lot about OSEP's accountability and outcomes strategy during the meeting. Trohanis also recognized that 2005 is the 30th year of progress in education and serving children and youth with disabilities and their families.

Before closing Trohanis recognized the planning committee, NECTAC staff and the TA services and support NECTAC provides. He also highlighted logistical information about the conference.

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

9:00 - 10:30

Plenary Session

IDEA 2004: Highlights of Early Childhood Changes

  • Stephanie Lee, Director, Office of Special Education Programs
  • Kala Surprenant, Office of General Counsel, Office of Special Education Programs
  • Nancy Deutsch, Office of General Counsel, Office of Special Education Programs

Stephanie Lee introduced Kala Surprenant, Office of General Counsel, U.S. Department of Education. Lee told attendees that there would be extensive future training on the new requirements; details to be announced in the coming months.

Surprenant reviewed changes related to Part C of IDEA. She reported that the law was so recent, OSEP is still in the process of creating an outline of the changes to the statute that are relevant. Surprenant highlighted six major areas affected by the changes: early identification of children and their needs of services, available outcomes, seamless transition to Head Start and other preschool options, increased options for dispute resolution, clarification of critical definitions, and minimized paper work. Surprenant reviewed the extensive changes while citing the various sections of the law.

Nancy Deutsch reviewed the changes made to Section 619 of the law. She began by specifying that there are two funding streams under Part B under IDEA. Section 611 covers children with disabilities ages 3 through 21. The second funding stream covers children with disabilities ages 3-5 under Section 619. Deutsch said that few changes were made to Section 619. She highlighted selected sections that will impact and be of interest to preschool programs.

Conference attendees were given an opportunity to ask questions in regards to the changes made to both Part C and Section 619. Lee asked that people think about input to provide during the breakout sessions.

Follow-up materials

12:15 - 1:45

Group Lunch

Updates from OSEP

  • Stephanie Lee, Director, OSEP
  • Lou Danielson, Director, Research to Practice Division, OSEP
  • Ruth Ryder, Director, Monitoring and State Improvement Planning Division, OSEP

Updates on OSEP activities were highlighted during the group lunch updates. Stephanie Lee began by emphasizing the importance of increasing and improving inclusive opportunities for preschool age children with disabilities. OSEP is trying to think big and work with several different agencies that promote activities that will in turn promote opportunities. She discussed challenges that the field faces, including the need to do more with less and data. She also stated that IDEA 2004 is to address children with homeless and foster needs.

Lou Danielson presented update on work from early childhood outcomes. He emphasized the importance of feedback to help improve the programs and for the continuation of the programs.

Ruth Ryder provided an update on monitoring and state improvement. She discussed work that has taken place since the reauthorization in December. She presented information on the Application for Funds, including a timeline on activities and a series of IDEA planning meetings in April and a summer institute in August.

Wednesday, February 9th

9:00 - 10:30

Closing Plenary Session

Recommended Practices: Strengthening Services and Supporting Quality

  • Sarah Mulligan, Executive Director of DEC, Missoula, MT
  • Beth Rous, President of DEC, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY

Pat Trohanis introduced Sarah Mulligan and Beth Rous, two national leaders who have been involved actively in the development of recommended practices. Mulligan is the Executive Director of The Division for Early Childhood (DEC) of the Council for Exceptional Children and specializes particularly in the world of inclusive child care. Beth Rous is the current president of DEC. She is from the University of Kentucky and focuses on transition and standards.

Sarah Mulligan began by describing DEC, one of seventeen divisions of the Council for Exceptional Children. DEC is a membership organization for children ages birth through 8. It is not part of OSEP. Mulligan highlighted various ways that people connect with DEC through their sponsored activities: journals, products, conferences, development opportunities, web site, information and referral. A majority of the room stood when Mulligan asked them to if they had a connection with DEC.

Beth Rous continues with describing recommended practices - what they are and why they are important. She presented the history behind recommended practices, which originated in 1991 and the evolution of the book on recommended practices. According to Rous, "These practices represent the collective wisdom pulled together to share across the country. Quality practices lead to quality services, which lead to better outcomes."

Mulligan gave examples of recommended practices. She pointed out that professionals assess not only immediate mastery of a skill, but also whether the child can demonstrate the skill consistently across other settings and with other people. For example, whether a child can walk across several settings: to the car, in the grass, or in the classroom.

Mulligan presented the next steps for recommended practices, which included a description of DEC's information toolkit. This package contains CD and videos in a suitcase format for easy use to train and implement the recommended practices.

Mulligan concluded with a to do list for each of the groups attending the conference: practioners, parents, researchers and administrators.

Pat Trohanis concluded the meeting with some final thoughts and announcements from the meeting. One announcement was in memory of Merle Karnes, Professor of University of Illinois and advocate for early childhood special education. Follow this link for more information about Karnes. Follow this link for information about memorial donations.