October 2019 Newsletter
Oct 31
Oct Newsletter

October 2019 Newsletter


October 29, 2019

Partnership and collaboration are critical to achieving the Center’s mission. We hope that our newsletter helps inform and empower you to take action in your area. Email info@ncsecs.org to discuss how to improve education for students with disabilities in charter schools near you.

The Center is proud to announce the launch of its newly redesigned and rebranded website at www.ncsecs.org. The revamped website features a streamlined and simplified design, improved accessibility and functionality, and clear and concise content that visualizes some of our work.

On Sunday, October 27, the Center received the 2019 Martha J. Fields Award of Excellence in Louisville, Kentucky from the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE). NASDSE supports state leaders of special education around the country with services that guide positive systemic change and results, thereby ensuring students with disabilities will live, learn, work and participate in their communities. This award is presented to an individual or organization that has made extraordinary contributions to the NASDSE organization, its mission and goals. The candidate, individual, or organization must have made significant contributions to the NASDSE organization in support of services to state agencies to facilitate efforts to maximize educational outcomes for individuals with disabilities. Recipients are selected by the NASDSE Board of directors based on recommendations from the President and Executive Director.

Thank you to NASDSE for this recognition – we appreciate your partnership as we collectively work to foster meaningful impact for students with disabilities.

New Report, “Seizing the Opportunity: Educating Students with Disabilities in Charter Schools” – The Center, in partnership with fellow researchers from the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE), recently completed a project that spanned 12 months and involved visits to 30 schools in 20 cities and towns across 14 states. We spent two days at each school observing classrooms and conducting interviews with educators, school leaders, and parents. The joint project culminated in a co-authored report which highlights how effective education for students with disabilities depends on an integrated set of schoolwide principles that are set in action, reinforced, and sustained by intentional organizational systems and structures. “Strong special education cannot exist as an isolated program. It happens in schools committed to supporting every student,” writes Robin Lake, Director of CRPE. Reflecting on the project, the Center’s Executive Director Lauren Morando Rhim noted, “The opportunity to visit and learn about how charter schools are educating students with disabilities provided us with rich insights regarding common and unique challenges they face. While each school was unique, school leadership and specifically a deep commitment to students with disabilities stood out as essential to charter schools offering quality supports and services.”
IDEA High Cost Pool Funding Act – The Center applauds Representatives Jared Huffman and Mark DeSaulnier for reintroducing the IDEA High Cost Pool Funding Act. This legislation builds on the historic assurance of the IDEA by helping cover the exceptional costs that can be associated with educating children with significant disabilities. “The additional funding will improve the capacity of all schools, including charter schools, to serve all students,” said Morando Rhim.
High Leverage Practices (HLPs) in Special Education – In partnership with the Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability and Reform, the Council for Exceptional Children has developed and published a set of HLPs for special educators and teacher candidates organized around four aspects of practice: collaboration, assessment, social/emotional/behavioral, and instruction. The HLP Video Series is easily and freely accessible online, offers a practical, real-world illustration of HLPs by teachers intentionally and explicitly using the practice to meet the specific needs of students in their classrooms, and highlights research-based practices.
Recent Research, “The Impact of Targeted vs. General Education Investments” – Tufts University economist Elizabeth Setren recently circulated a working paper demonstrating that charter schools in Boston significantly boost the academic performance of English Language Learners and students with disabilities compared with traditional district schools. The study finds that pupils in both categories see test score gains in core subjects when enrolled in charters and that postsecondary outcomes like college enrollment are also improved.
Recent Research, “Are Achievement Gaps Related to Discipline Gaps?” – A recent report examines the relationship between the racial achievement gap and the racial discipline gap, using national data to provide estimates on the extent to which patterns in exclusionary discipline are related to achievement patterns for students of color. The analyses presented confirm “what many recent scholars have suspected: on average, districts with larger Black-White achievement gaps have larger Black-White discipline gaps and vice versa.”

The Center on the Road

If you will be at any of the following upcoming events, please come find us. We love to connect with our partners and stakeholders.

  • 2019 Independent Charter School Symposium
    November 17-18 in Albuquerque, NM
  • Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and The Leadership Conference Education Fund Annual Conference and Holiday Party
    December 5-6 in Washington D.C.
  • 12th Annual Louisiana Charter Schools Conference
    December 5-6 in New Orleans, LA


Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Center's staff is currently working remotely. Please email info@ncsecs.org with any questions and we will direct you to the appropriate member of our staff.Email Us