Here in the District the number of students with disabilities is higher than one might think -- 3% higher than the national average. A third of these students, many from low-income families, attend charter schools, yet charters are on their own when it comes to meeting their needs: they have limited resources to navigate the ever-changing environment of special education policies and practices. First of its kind in the country, the DC Special Education Co-operative provides charter schools with the guidance and information they need to build and maintain high-quality special education programs. Because classroom teachers typically have no formal training here, the Co-op educates the educators. This school year, the Co-op has offered over 40 workshops and trained approximately 500 educators, authored briefs on state-level special education policies, built relationships with DCís Division of Special Education, and billed Medicaid for services, recovering tens of thousands of dollars. The ultimate goal is to improve the educational experience for students with and without special needs. Let's ensure that all of our children succeed.

Headquarters: DC-Ward 1

Where They Operate: DC-Citywide

Age Groups Served: Pre-K (3-4); Youth (5-11); Pre-teen/teen (12-17)

Ethnic Groups Served: African American; Asian American; Caucasian; Latino/Hispanic

Population(s) Served: Disabled; Students

Schools They Work In: AppleTree PCS; Bridges PCS; Briya PCS; Capital City PCS; Center City PCS; Children's Guild PCS ; Creative Minds International PCS; Democracy Prep PCS; DC Bilingual PCS; DC International PCS; DC Preparatory Academy PCS; Early Childhood PCS; E.L. Haynes PCS; Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom PCS; Excel Academy PCS; Friendship PCS; Hope Community PCS; Ingenuity Prep PCS; Inspired Teaching Demonstration PCS; KIPP DC PCS; Latin American Montessori Bilingual (LAMB) PCS; Lee Montessori PCS; Maya Angelou PCS; Meridian PCS; Monument Academy PCS ; Mundo Verde PCS; National Collegiate Prep PCS; Next Step PCS; Paul PCS; Perry Street Prep PCS; Rocketship PCS ; SEED PCS; Sela PCS; Shining Stars PCS; St. Coletta Special Education PCS; Tree of Life PCS; Two Rivers PCS; Washington Latin PCS; Washington Yu Ying PCS

  • Trained 466 teachers:  
    When teachers receive high-quality training, they are better able to serve students with disabilities.
  • Facilitated disability awareness activities with 120 students (in SY13-14):  
    Children who are knowledgeable are more likely to be empathetic. Children who feel accepted do better in school!
  • Answered over 500 technical assistance requests in SY 13-14:  
    When schools have immediate access to high quality information, they do a better job serving students with disabilities.

Awards & Recognition

Appointed by the Mayor to the DC State Advisory Panel for Special Education (2006-Present)
Presenter at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Annual Conference (2013)


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Budget (FY2013)

  • $3 million or higher
  • $1 million to $3 million
  • $500k to $1 million
  • The current budget for DC Special Education Co-operative is: Less than $500k

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