On President Trump's Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2019

“The billions of dollars in proposed cuts to the education budget is troubling, particularly when services and supports for students with disabilities are already significantly under-funded.

We need to increase recruitment and training of teachers for students with disabilities and increase IDEA funding levels. The proposed budget cuts do neither.

“And while we are pleased to see that charter school programs are a priority, it is critical that any investments in school choice ensure that these programs support students with disabilities and rights conveyed by IDEA.”

Indianapolis’ Paramount School of Excellence: Supporting Students with Disabilities via its Frameworks

By: Stephanie Lancet

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.

Located in Indianapolis, Paramount School of Excellence (Paramount) serves students from Kindergarten to 8th grade. School leaders attribute their success and strong performance on statewide assessments by prioritizing school-wide cohesion, consistency in practice, and clear communication; this is specifically supported by the school’s “Frameworks,” Paramount’s policy and instruction guide designed to support teachers’ practices.  

Reflecting the mission and vision of the school, Paramount’s Frameworks highlights the school’s commitment to true, explicit, intentional inclusion and shapes teachers’ approaches to curriculum, instruction, behavior, school culture, and more. For example, Frameworks enables and encourages general and special education teachers to regularly collaborate, co-plan, co-teach, and receive inclusivity training; this has created a school culture in which all Paramount teachers maintain high expectations and feel responsible for the success of all students, including those with disabilities. Regarding classroom teaching and learning specifically, Frameworks enables and promotes school-wide adoption of individualized instructional practices that benefit all students, such as problem solving and differentiation, as well as regular collection and evaluation of data to appropriately adapt and improve such practices.

Frameworks serves as the backbone for the school and distinctly reflect its commitment to truly inclusive, evidence-based practices. To learn more about Paramount and and its approach to serving students with learning differences, read our full case study here.

In case you missed it, check out our profile on Denver's Cole High School.

California Reports Strong Results Based on Inclusion of Students With Disabilities

California Reports Strong Results Based on Inclusion of Students With Disabilities

The California Charter Schools Association recently released a report detailing special education practices in 10 California charter schools. The schools examined are diverse in size, instructional model and student demographics, but all represent strong outcomes for students with disabilities. The report, Meeting the Needs of Every Student Through Inclusion, offers an in-depth look at the philosophies, practices, and policies that allow these schools to successfully educate students with disabilities. Inclusion of students with disabilities in general education classes along with non-disabled peers is highlighted as a best practice to achieve positive results. 

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A New Special Education Leader for California

By: Paul O'Neill, Senior Fellow

The California Department of Education (CDE) just announced that it has selected Kristin Wright to be the state’s new Special Education Division Director, effective September 1.  The CDE has chosen an experienced, capable and thoughtful director to lead its special education work, serving more than 700,000 students with disabilities and their families.  Ms. Wright brings a long tenure with the state through a range of impactful positions, as well as years of work as a researcher examining disability issues. Ms. Wright is also the mother of a child with significant mental and physical disabilities.

The National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools (NCSECS) is particularly pleased that Ms. Wright has been chosen for this position because her career reflects a commitment to equitably serving students with disabilities across public schools, including charter schools.  She has done important research on how charter schools provide special education services, and has served for years as a trustee on the NCSECS governing board. California has approximately 1,130 charter schools; more, by far, than any other state. That gives the state an opportunity to prominently model best practices and innovative ideas that can be replicated elsewhere. We are confident that through her leadership Ms. Wright will help California ensure that families of students with disabilities can choose charter schools, and that those who do so will be excellently and equitably served. 

Click here to see the full press release from CDE.