Building a future where schools are designed for the success of all students.  

As 2022 comes to a close, students and educators alike are completing tasks and priorities in preparation for winter break. This time of year provides the opportunity to reflect on all we've accomplished as we begin setting our goals for 2023. In this issue of the CLE newsletter, we highlight recent wins, offer updates on new and ongoing projects, and share resources and events we think you'll find valuable. We hope your holiday season is filled with rest and joy!

What's New?

On November 14th, CLE announced receiving a charitable gift of $3.5 million from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. This generous donation will accelerate CLE’s initiatives to eradicate the complex, pervasive, and systematic barriers that prevent students with disabilities from accessing educational opportunities, quality support, and inclusive environments. Read the full press release here..

The Spotlight

Laura Stelitano Interviews with KARE11 News in Minnesota

CLE research manager, Laura Stelitano sat down with KARE11 News in Minnesota to discuss the special education staff shortage occurring in the state and across the country. During her conversation with KARE11, Stelitano highlights issues of recruiting and retaining qualified special education teachers as well as possible solutions for improving work conditions for these professionals.

How has the pandemic affected students with disabilities?

An update on the evidence: Fall 2022

As the pandemic continued in 2021-22, new evidence on the experiences of students with disabilities has raised more challenges and provided few concrete answers. Troublingly, we still know very little about how the pandemic has impacted outcomes for students with disabilities. In partnership with CRPE (Center on Reinventing Public Education), CLE released How has the pandemic affected students with disabilities? An update on the evidence: Fall 2022, a report exploring evidence on how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected America’s students. Access the report here.

There’s Little Data on the Pandemic’s Effect on Students With Disabilities.

That’s a Big Problem

On October 21, 2022, Education Week published an articled entitled “There’s Little Data on the Pandemic’s Effect on Students With Disabilities. That’s a Big Problem". The article explores the disruption in student learning that has occurred during the pandemic, noting the lack of clarity regarding the impact on students with disabilities. CLE research manager and lead author on the report, Laura Stelitano weighed in on the matter:

“If we don’t have a baseline understanding, we won’t be able to understand recovery efforts, and we won’t be able to understand what is effective in supporting students’ recovery, and we won’t also know where to target the most support. We need nuanced data that tells us who’s been impacted the most and in what ways so that we can be accountable for getting the right type of support to the right students”

Read the complete article here.

Resources and Events

NOLA Specialized Programs Showcase

On November 9th CLE hosted a specialized programs webinar geared toward parents and special education leaders in New Orleans, Louisiana. CLE Local Policy Manager, Jennifer Coco hosted this event to help amplify the voices and services of local stakeholders. External partners for this event include: NOLA Public Schools, Collegiate Academies, Firstline Schools, ReNEW Schools, Crescent City Schools, Center for Resilience, Families Helping Families of New Orleans. Check out the NOLA PS Specialized Program Guide here.

Inclusive School Spotlight Podcast Series Season 2

Bouncing Back: The Pandemic's Impact on Students with Disabilities & How to Advocate for Them

In partnership with the Educating All Learners Alliance (EALA), CLE released the second season of the Inclusive School Spotlight Series, a series of featuring school leaders from across the country. Hosted by CLE’s Senior Director of Communications and Marketing, Caché Owens, and Research Manager Laura Stelitano, the podcasts discuss how these educators are fostering a culture of inclusion at their schools through innovative techniques. Season 2 of the series is available now and can be heard on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, and Google Podcasts. You can also listen to episodes through your web browser by clicking here.

On November 30th, Caché Owens and Laura Stelitano presented findings from How has the pandemic affected students with disabilities? An update on the evidence: Fall 2022. The pair shared an overview of up to date evidence of how the pandemic has impacted students the outcomes and experiences of students with disabilities. The conversation provided insights from the parent perspective, and encouraged discussion around how teachers can best advocate for their students with disabilities moving forward.

CLE Launches "Inclusion Snacks"

At the start of October, CLE launched a five-week social media campaign entitled “Inclusion Snacks with Jonah”. The series featured the perspective of a student with disabilities on topics such as trying your best, individuality, and teacher appreciation. View all of the slides here.

CLE Hosts the Fall Equity Coalition

On November 2nd and 3rd, CLE hosted its fall session of the Equity Coalition in Washington, D.C. The Equity Coalition’s mission is to form a collaborative community of diverse representatives from the charter school and special education communities, and other stakeholders to identify common ground and take collective action to recognize progress and strong outcomes while informing efforts for continued improvement of access and equity for students with disabilities in the charter sector.

The CLE team lead an engaging convening of over 30 participants, including an examination of initiatives designed to address student mental health as we continue to recover from the pandemic and an exploration of potential opportunities to leverage federal Charter School Program grants to drive improved outcomes for students with disabilities in charter schools.

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