In DC, 15% of all students are children with disabilities – and about half attend public charter schools. The DC Special Education Cooperative equips these schools with tools and support to give students with disabilities a high-quality education. Its flagship ELEVATE program helps charters to design, implement, and improve special education services to meet or exceed federal standards of quality. Because few classroom teachers have formal training in special ed, the Co-op provides professional development and networks that build teachers’ capacity to teach every student effectively. Administrative services – such as securing Medicaid reimbursements – relieve logistical burdens that individual charters would struggle to bear. And direct programs for students with disabilities (career fairs, job-readiness training) boost opportunities for post-graduation employment. With 55 charter members, the Co-op serves 5,000 DC students with disabilities each year. Let's help it grow.

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 (FY2023)

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

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