Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Citizens' Guide to State Services

Published by
William Francis Galvin
Secretary of the Commonwealth
Citizen Information Service

Education/Arts: Special Education, Programs & Services

E18 Special Education

E19 Special Education Appeals

E20 Health, Safety, & Student Support Services

E21 Bureau of Transitional Planning


E18 Special Education
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148 4906
Tel: 781-338-3375
Fax: 781-338-3396
www.doe.mass.edu/sped/

Chapter 766, the Massachusetts Special Education Law, is designed to define the needs of children requiring special education in a broad and flexible manner, to minimize the possibility of stigmatization, and to maximize the child's development in the least restrictive environment. The Department of Education has lead responsibility for ensuring that all provisions of Chapter 766 are met, for promulgating the regulations for its implementation, and for ensuring that the provisions of other state and federal special education laws are also met. Functioning in an advisory capacity to the Board of Education is the State Advisory Commission for Special Education (SAC). The SAC is responsible for advising the Department on unmet needs for special education within the Commonwealth; submitting an annual written report to the Board of Education; commenting publicly on the State Plan for special education, and the procedures for distribution of funds under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the federal special education law; and assisting the Department in developing and reporting such information as may be required by the United States Department of Education under the IDEA.

Educational Services in Institutional Settings
Tel: 781-338-3303

The office provides or arranges for the provision of special education to children who reside in institutions under the control of the Departments of Developmental Services, Mental Health, Public Health, and Youth Services and other human service agencies so designated by the Department of Education. It assigns educational advocates to represent students with special needs statewide and assigns direct responsibility of students with special needs without a parent or guardian to local community. The Bureau of Institutional Schools oversees the Vision Resource Library, the Local Educational Advocate assignment process, and the statewide Educational Advocate Program.


E19 Bureau of Special Education Appeals (BSEA)
Executive Office of Administration and Finance
Administrative Law Appeals
One Congress Street, 11th Floor
Boston, MA 02114
Tel: 617-626-7250
Fax: 617-626-7270
www.mass.gov/ssce/

The Student Support Services’ mission is to provide programs and supports that help all students gain the knowledge, skills and values needed to be well prepared for post-secondary options as well as a career and citizenship. The awareness of the relationship between cognitive development and the physical, emotional and social well-being is fundamental to a quality educational environment. The units within this office aim to assist schools, students, parents, the business sector and communities in identifying and promoting strategies to address the barriers to learning that many children and youth face today.

The Bureau of Special Education Appeals conducts mediations, advisory opinions and due process hearings to resolve disputes among parents, school districts, private schools and state agencies. The BSEA derives its authority from both federal law and regulations (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, "IDEA") and Massachusetts law and regulations. (MGL ch. 71B) A parent or a school district may request mediation, advisory opinion and/or a hearing on any matter concerning the eligibility, evaluation, placement, individualized education program (IEP), provision of special education in accordance with state and federal law, or procedural protections of state and federal law for students with disabilities. A school district may not request a hearing on a parent's failure or refusal to consent to initial evaluation or initial placement of a child in a special education program or to written revocation of parental consent for further receipt of special education and related services. In addition, a parent may request a hearing on any issue involving the denial of the free appropriate public education guaranteed by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Mediations, advisory opinions and hearings are conducted by impartial mediators and hearing officers who do not have personal or professional interests that would conflict with their objectivity in the proceeding. The BSEA consists of seven hearing officers, all of whom are attorneys, seven mediators, a coordinator of mediation, a scheduling coordinator, support staff, and a director. BSEA is an independent subdivision of the Division of Administrative Law Appeals.


E20 Student Support Services
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148 4906
Tel: 781-338-6303
Fax: 781-338-3399
www.doe.mass.edu/

The Student Support Services’ mission is to provide programs and supports that help all students gain the knowledge, skills and values needed to be well prepared for post-secondary options as well as a career and citizenship. The awareness of the relationship between cognitive development and the physical, emotional and social well-being is fundamental to a quality educational environment. The units within this office aim to assist schools, students, parents, the business sector and communities in identifying and promoting strategies to address the barriers to learning that many children and youth face today.


E21 Bureau of Transitional Planning
Executive Office of Health and Human Services
One Ashburton Place, Room 1109
Boston, MA 02108
Tel: 617-727-7600
Fax: 617-727-5134
www.mass.gov/eohhs

This bureau is responsible for the implementation of Chapter 688 of the Acts of 1983 which entitles severely disabled Chapter 766 students, as defined in the statute, to transitional plans as of age 22. These plans will link them to appropriate adult service delivery agencies. Two years prior to termination of Chapter 766 coverage for these clients, the local school system should initiate the transitional process. For further information, contact the bureau.


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