NCSECS' Monthly Newsletter: Fall 2018
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Looking Back on Fall with NCSECS
December 10, 2018
NCSECS is excited to welcome another talented new staff member to support our work on behalf of students with disabilities.
Megan Ohlssen joins NCSECS as the inaugural Managing Director of Programs. In this role, she will be responsible for the planning, development, and delivery of NCSECS’ services and the management of external programs such as our CMO Network and incubation of new special education collaboratives.
Megan joins us from the New York City Special Education Collaborative where she worked with charter schools and districts to ensure NYC charter schools have the expertise, resources, and supports necessary to develop high quality inclusive educational environments that help all students achieve their maximum potential. Please join us in welcoming Megan to the NCSECS team!
Lindsay Transitions to a New Role
We are also excited to announce that long-time staff member Lindsay Coker has moved into a new role of Chief of Staff. Lindsay will be leading our work around strategic vision and organizational culture while serving as the connective tissue and point person for the various moving parts and staff members during this exciting new phase of our growth. We are thrilled to have Lindsay's previous legal and non profit management experience and deep knowledge of NCSECS to support our mission. Read more about Lindsay and join us in welcoming her to her new role.
Grant from Pathway to Tomorrow
Pathway 2 Tomorrow: Local Visions for America’s Future (P2T) has awarded 24 recipients across 17 states and the District of Columbia with $15,000 stipends for innovative ideas to transform education outcomes in the U.S. NCSECS is honored to be among the successful grantees selected from a large pool of 240 applicants! We have a vision for a robust and multi-pronged blueprint to educate students with disabilities well in cities with large charter school markets. The Pathway 2 Tomorrow grant will allow us to methodically vet and codify our vision before we engage cities to adopt the strategy and potentially serve as a model for traditional public schools as well. Read the press release.
NCSECS On the Road
Executive Director, Lauren Morando Rhim delivered a keynote address at the annual National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE) conference in Omaha, Nebraska on October 8.
Senior Fellow, Paul O’Neill and Program Specialist, Stephanie Lancet organized a site visit of and panel at Two Rivers Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. to announce the release of our latest Centers of Excellence case study featuring Two Rivers on October 9.
The New Jersey Special Education Collaborative (NJSEC) team - Executive Director, Mark Rynone and Program Coordinator, Lauren Krempecki conducted a session titled Building Blocks of a Healthy Special Education Department at the NJ Charter Schools Association conference in Newark, NJ on October 11.
NCSECS co-founders, Lauren Morando Rhim and Paul O’Neill, led an extended workshop about special education oversight at the annual leadership conference of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers on October 23.
Senior Fellow, Paul O’Neill and NCSECS Board Member, Rob Garda delivered a presentation about the material violation of obligation of charter schools at the Education Law Association conference Cleveland, Ohio to education lawyers on November 7.
NJSEC Executive Director, Mark Rynone traveled to Camden, New Jersey to participate in the Community Focus Group sessions of the NJDOE's Charter School Program Review on November 26 and 27.
Invitation to Sign-on to Principles of Equitable Schools
NCSECS’s Equity Coalition published the Principles of Equitable Schoolsin September to provide a framework for the necessary elements for a school to be considered equitable. We have been pleased with the positive feedback and media recognition of the Principles and are inviting all stakeholders who are invested in achieving equitable options and outcomes for students with disabilities to demonstrate their commitment by signing on to the Principles. Click hereto read the Principles and add your organization’s name.
Improving Special Education Practices in Nevada
NCSECS recently wrapped up a year-long project in partnership with the Nevada Department of Education aimed at improving charter authorizers and individual school practices in order to improve services for students with disabilities across Nevada. Staff members worked closely with Nevada authorizers to revise and improve the special education requirements in the application process, clarify roles and expectations between stakeholders, and create a performance management system to guide accountability and focused support provided by authorizers. The project also involved providing targeted professional development to over 60 special education staff members from 30 Nevada charters.
Partners in Progress Denver Convening
Members of the NCSECS team co-hosted a convening in Denver, Colorado with the Center for Reinventing Public Education, “Partners in Progress: Sharing Strategies for Serving Students with Disabilities” on October 29-30. Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 63 special education leaders and teachers from charter schools across the country gathered to engage in deep conversations about serving diverse learners and collaborating on problems of practice. The event marked the kickoff of a series of charter school visits to identify best practices in special education across the country.
CMO Special Education Network Convening 2018
NCSECS held the third annual convening of the CMO (charter management organization) Special Education Network in Los Angeles, California on November 13 - 15 graciously hosted by Green Dot Public Schools. The 62 participants representing 30 CMOs and 6 related stakeholder organizations toured local schools, gained valuable insight and resources, and engaged in big picture thinking about the future of educating students with disabilities within the charter sector and larger education landscape.
Special Education News
The Keeping All Students Safe Act (KASSA) proposes legislation that prohibits seclusion and seeks to prevent and limit the use of restraint in schools. NCSECS demonstrated its support for KASSA in a public statement.
NCSECS urges charters and other school choice options to address the challenges articulated in two recent National Council on Disabilities reports in order for them to be considered legitimate public school options in a statement.
NCSECS issued a response to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General’s Nationwide Audit of Oversight of Closed Charter Schoolsemphasizing that when charter schools close, regulators must step up and minimize disruptions for students with disabilities
Executive Director, Lauren Morando Rhim, opines in the Washington Post that quality must remain the focus as Vermont and other states overhaul special education.
Executive Director, Lauren Morando Rhim, and Program Specialist, Stephanie Lancet discuss in Education Week how the federal government is letting down students with disabilities and why states must step up.
NCSECS congratulates Laurie VanderPloeg on her appointment as OSERS’ New Director of Special Education in a statement.
NJSEC Executive Director, Mark Rynone discusses how Newark charter schools have priorities improving special education on our blog.