Washington D.C.’s Two Rivers Public Charter School

Supporting Students with Disabilities via Responsive Classroom® and Student-Led IEP Meetings

As part of its effort to share best practices with the special education community, The National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools (NCSECS) identified several public charter schools across the country as “Centers for Excellence” and is communicating how each school uniquely leverages its autonomy to benefit students with disabilities. Here is a spotlight on one of them.

Two Rivers Public Charter School (Two Rivers), a Washington D.C. charter network composed of two school campuses, serves students from Pre-K to 8th grade. Two Rivers utilizes a dual approach to embrace inclusive education and improve success for learning diverse students: student-led IEPs and Responsive Classroom®.

Believing that learning should remain not only student-focused, but also student-led, the school teaches students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) to be active voices in their IEP process. Students learn how to set their own goals, talk about their progress, identify their strengths and needs, and articulate their progress toward meeting their goals, with the assistance of faculty members and various training materials and rubrics.

Two Rivers is also committed to using Responsive Classroom®, an evidence-based practice of that addresses social and emotional growth and enables individuals to learn through social interaction and problem solving. Research highlights how the students of schools that use Responsive Classroom® techniques tend to experience positive outcomes such as increased academic growth and enhanced feelings of support and safety in the classroom. Given its high teacher and student retention rates across years, Two Rivers illustrates how this student-focused practice fosters a school environment ripe for learning.

Evidenced by strong performance on statewide ELA and Math exams compared to the DC Public School District, Two Rivers’ school wide practices nurture a positive learning environment by reflecting its cohesive school philosophy and mission. To learn more about Two Rivers and its approach to serving students with learning differences, click here.