Study Details Best Special Education Practices in CA Charter Schools

The California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) has released a new report that details the best special education practices at 10 model California charter public schools.

“Meeting the Needs of Every Student Through Inclusion” offers qualitative data and insights into the best ways to serve students with disabilities, in particular the benefits of cutting-edge technology and inclusive education.

The report found nine elements of successful special education programs. They were:

  1. Philosophy of inclusion;
  2. Individualization and tailoring programs to student needs;
  3. Flexibility and autonomy;
  4. Supportive school community;
  5. Multi-tiered support systems;
  6. Family and community partnerships;
  7. Cutting edge technologies and practices;
  8. Staff development; and
  9. Constant refinement and improvement of programs.

Schools in the study embraced innovative and emerging technological approaches to special education, including neurofeedback training, assistive communication technology, zones of regulation and mindfulness training.

“Charter school leaders recognize students learn better together, and they belong together in the classroom, regardless of their ability,” said Jed Wallace, president and CEO of CCSA, in a statement. “Creating communities where everyone feels valued and accepted begins in our schools. Charter schools do not have a history of segregating students by ability, and have long modeled effective classroom practices.”

The schools participating in the report were:

  • CHIME Institute’s Schwarzenegger Community School, Woodland Hills
  • EJE Middle Academy, El Cajon
  • Gabriella Charter School, Los Angeles
  • Oakland School for the Arts, Oakland
  • Literacy First, El Cajon
  • Magnolia Science Academy 7, Northridge
  • Multicultural Learning Center, Canoga Park
  • Oxford Preparatory Academy, Chino
  • KIPP Raíces, East Los Angeles
  • Santa Rosa Academy, Menifee

A factsheet summarizing the study is available on the CCSA website, as is the entire report. For more information about the California Charter Schools Association, visit the organization’s website.

About the Author

Richard Chang is associate editor of THE Journal. He can be reached at

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