by Paul O’Neill
Beginning today in Newark, New Jersey, educators from most of the city’s charter schools are taking part in a two-day training designed to address the needs of students with disabilities in these schools. This training is the crucial next phase of a collaboration between the Newark Charter Schools Fund (NCSF) and the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools (NCSECS) to build the capacity of Newark charter schools to effectively serve children with special needs and their families. The initiative began this past winter with an analysis of the regulatory environment and progressed in the spring to on-site analyses of school programs. Schools received detailed feedback about strengths, weaknesses and prospects for improvement. This week and next week, cohorts of Newark charter schools that collaborate with NCSF will receive several days of “boot camp” training based on best practices and the site visits and environmental review. Additional expertise will be provided by representatives of state and district special education and charter school authorities.
As noted recently in Education Week (http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/speced/2014/08/the_newark_charter_school_fund.html?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=onspecialeducation), NCSF has been persuaded by the importance and early success of this work to commit an additional $259,000 to ensure equal access and high-quality services in charter schools for all students, including those with diverse learning needs. NCSECS is honored by this renewed support from the Newark Charter Schools Fund and is fully committed to helping these students, families and schools succeed.