This milestone has us reflecting about the progress we have made and looking forward to the opportunities ahead. In 2013−more than 20 years into the evolution of the charter sector-we launched NCSECS to ensure not only that students with disabilities could access charter schools, but that the schools would be prepared to help them succeed. In close collaboration with colleagues in the charter school and special education advocacy communities, we envisioned an organization devoted solely to the crossover between charter schools and special education. Our mission would be simple: to make sure that students with disabilities can fully access and thrive in charter schools.
With visionary support from the philanthropic community we launched our efforts to serve as policy advisors, researchers, coalition builders, and technicians helping a diverse network of stakeholders committed to improving outcomes for students with disabilities. Five years in, we are honored and proud to have been able to engage deeply with key national, regional, and local organizations to ensure charter schools are equipped to enroll and educate students with disabilities. At the same time, we recognize we have far to go before all students with disabilities are able to fully access and thrive in charter schools.
We are grateful for all the support we have received and look forward to your continued partnership on the path to equity for all students.
Lauren Morando Rhim, Co-founder & Executive Director
Paul O’Neill, Co-founder & Senior Fellow
Our work would not be possible without generous support from:
And From Our Board of Directors
- Masheo Ashton
- William Bethke
- Cliff Chuang
- Robert Garda
- Robin Lake
- Alex Medler
- Jon Rosenberg
- Retia Thukral
- Kristin Wright
Highlights of Our Work
Pursuing Our Mission
NCSECS pursues its mission by establishing facts, informing policy, developing coalitions, and building capacity for excellence. Below are some highlights from our first five years.
- Published Improving Access and Creating Exceptional Opportunities for Students with Disabilities in Public Charter Schools
- Conducted In-Depth Needs Assessment in Newark, NJ
- Published first analysis of the federal Civil Rights Data Collection
- Negotiated key additions to Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
- Submitted Amicus Brief to U.S. Supreme Court in Endrew F. vs. Douglas County School District
- Launched Charter School Special Education Finance Project
A Word From Our Partners
Our mission – to make sure that students with disabilities can fully access and thrive in charter schools – requires partnership with CMOs, CSOs, authorizers, policymakers, philanthropists, and advocates. We asked them to share about our partnership.
“We are very fortunate to have two champions for children with disabilities leading the efforts at NCSECS. In just five years the organization has elevated the issue of equity for children with disabilities in charter schools to a national level with its partnerships, publications and Equity Coalition. It’s been a pleasure to engage with NCSECS in these first five years and look forward to many more.”
– Candace Cortiella, The Advocacy Institute
“Equity Coalition has really helped me as a school leader be thoughtful about what we’re doing on a day-to-day basis and how it connects to larger issues that are happening on the state and national levels. The policy updates and priorities of the coalition has really impacted my work and really helped me to think more about how we serve students with disabilities in my school.”
– Shannon Hodge, Kingsman Academy Public Charter School
“Our partnership with NCSECS is incredibly valuable. As a founding member of the Equity Coalition, we have deepened our commitment to the priorities of the special education advocacy community and created pathways for collaboration. We proudly support the Principles of Equitable Schools and have strengthened our model law guidance around special education by leveraging NCSECS’ expertise.”
– Nina Rees, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
“NCSES has done a great job of keeping equity at the forefront of their work. They’ve facilitated many productive conversations among diverse stakeholders and have allowed the space for honest discussions about complex and critically important topics.”
– Meghan Whittaker, Esq., National Center for Learning Disabilities“
“NACSA is proud to partner with NCSECS to strengthen educational programming for all students, particularly those with disabilities and/or learning exceptionalities, through high quality authorizing practices. Their thoughtful and tireless approach, as well as insights on which authorizers nationally are doing this work well, has enabled NACSA to deepen its institutional knowledge base on this subject matter and ultimately publish its most comprehensive resource on special education to date.”
– Heather Wendling, National Association of Charter School Authorizers