November 2017 Newsletter
Nov 01

November 2017 Newsletter

NCSECS Announces New Hires, Hits the Road, and Shares Resources of Interest

November 1, 2017

NCSECS is Growing

NCSECS is excited to welcome three talented new staff members to support our work on behalf of students with disabilities.

Stephanie Lancet, our new Program Specialist – Project Management based in New York City, will play a role in a variety of NCSECS projects including conducting research and developing strategies to provide quality special education in the New Orleans charter sector, conducting research and drafting case studies about exemplary and innovative charter schools, and growing the National CMO Special Education Network.  Stephanie joins us from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, where she worked in student support services while receiving her master’s degree in Education. Stephanie attended Boston College, where she also worked in a service-learning program while receiving her bachelor’s degree in Economics and Philosophy.

Shaini Kothari, our new Education Pioneer Data Fellow, will lead NCSECS’ data work including examining the Civil Rights Data Collection, tracking enrollment and service provision trends in Washington DC charter schools, and collecting and analyzing data in cities including Camden, Las Vegas, New Orleans, and Newark, where NCSECS is collaborating with local organizations to build capacity to educate students with disabilities. Shaini comes to NCSECS from Explore Schools, a Brooklyn charter school network, where she worked as a Data and Operations Associate.  Prior to Explore, Shaini worked as a program assistant at several Harlem-area non-profits.  While getting her master’s degree in Population Health from University of Wisconsin, Madison, Shaini taught an undergraduate biology lab and tutored at Madison-area primary and secondary schools for several years.  Shaini received her bachelor’s degree in Medical Microbiology and Immunology from UW, Madison as well.

Finally, Lauren Krempecki joins us as Program Coordinator for Special Populations. Lauren, who is based in New Jersey, will work closely with Mark Rynone, the Founding Executive Director of the New Jersey Special Education Collaborative, which NCSECS is incubating to support the delivery of high quality special education services and supports to New Jersey charter schools. Prior to her work with the Collaborative, Lauren provided training and support in the area of special education and school-based Medicaid billing, as well as state-level student data collection.  She has also worked as a project manager for a large district implementation of a special education management system, as a special education liaison and teacher in the School District of Philadelphia, and as a paraprofessional in New Jersey. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary and Special Education from Temple University.

Please join us in welcoming Stephanie, Shaini, and Lauren to the NCSECS team!

NCSECS Hits the Road

The fall has been busy as NCSECS staff attended conferences, visited schools, and collaborated with partners in California, Colorado, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, and New York. In addition, the dynamic triad of LindsayStephanie, and Tracey have been burning the midnight oil as we gear up for the fall convening of our Equity Coalition in Washington, DC and the annual convening of our National CMO Special Education Network in New Orleans. The Equity Coalition convening provides our team the opportunity to collaborate with key colleagues in both the charter and special education advocacy community. On the agenda for the fall convening are updates about implementation of ESSA and ED’s regulatory reform initiative as well as a robust discussion regarding the challenges of providing quality special education supports and services in decentralized systems and principles of equitable school choice programs. The CMO Network convening provides the team an opportunity to engage with CMO special education coordinators interested in sharing best practices and brainstorming about innovative approaches to developing a full continuum of quality special education supports and services.

If interested in learning more about the NCSECS Equity Coalition or the National CMO Special Education Network, contact Lindsay Coker at

NCSECS Receives Two-Year Grant from Walton Family Foundation

The WFF has awarded NCSECS a $900k grant to continue work in support of its mission to ensure students with disabilities have ready access to charter schools prepared to enable them to thrive.

Hot Off the Presses or More Accurately, Hot onto the Web….

Equity Coalition partner, the National Center on Learning Disabilities recently released a great guide for parents regarding vouchers and education savings accounts.

In case you missed the announcement, the Council on Parent Attorneys and Advocates, also an NCSECS Equity Coalition partner, won a contract from the National Council on Disabilities to develop a research synthesis regarding special education in schools of choice and will be hosting focus groups in San Diego and Phoenix. If interested in learning more about the research, please visit the COPAA website. This new paper builds upon prior research the COPAA team has published regarding special education vouchers.

The Center on Education Policy released a brief regarding vouchers programs for students with disabilities.

And, NCSECS in the News….

  • Education Week article regarding The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s plan to make a significant investment in charter schools and in particular, investments in efforts to develop effective and innovative supports and services for students with disabilities.
  • Politico article regarding ED’s announcement to postpone implementation of regulations related to disproportionate identification of students of color for special education.
  • Louisville Courier Journal article regarding the Kentucky legislature’s opportunity to ensure that students with disabilities have ready access to charter schools equipped to offer them appropriate supports and services.

Thank you for reading, and please join us in ongoing virtual conversations by following @NCSCES on Twitter and Instagram!


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