The Center partnered with the National Association for Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) to create a comprehensive and practical “special education toolkit” for authorizers that provides guidance and robust tools to assist them in protecting the rights of students with disabilities and ensuring that they are well served as part of the initial application process, through ongoing oversight during the course of the charter term, and in making renewal, revocation, and closure decisions.
Questions guiding this project:
- What tools and guidelines are most helpful and necessary to enable authorizers to provide strong special education oversight to charters?
- How do the guidelines differ depending on the local education agency (LEA) status of the authorizers and the schools they oversee?
- What are some examples of strong authorizer oversight related to educating students with disabilities?
Created a comprehensive toolkit including legal background, a discussion of the impact of LEA status, and key considerations at each stage of the charter lifecycle
Drafted rubric for assessing special education in charter schools for both LEA and non-LEA charter schools
Identified and wrote three profiles of exemplary authorizers to elevate strong practices and results
Worked with client to understand needs and goals of the project
Created and gathered useful tools and interactive resources to include
Drafted substantive sections of the toolkit with input from NACSA and authorizers
Identified and interviewed strong authorizers in order to capture how they approach their commitment to students with disabilities
Publicly available toolkit pushed to thousands of authorizers
Conference sessions and workshops providing specific training
An ongoing resource to draw on for our work with authorizers and other stakeholders
“Authorizers occupy an important position to ensure that these students not only have access to educational options, but that all charter schools are prepared to help them excel. That’s why NACSA and NCSECS collaborated to create the Special Education Toolkit, a set of resources to assist authorizers fulfill their responsibilities and ensure schools in their portfolio live up to expectations. Authorizers have several opportunities throughout the charter lifecycle to test a charter school’s ability to effectively serve all students: at the application phase, throughout the term of the charter through regular oversight and monitoring, and at renewal.”