Collaborate to Innovate

SELPASpecial education service coordination and accountability are often areas where charter schools and their authorizers experience conflict and tension. And too often school districts and charters end up fighting over resources and control rather than focusing on how they can work together to promote the best interests of kids. A partnership between Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) is proving that collaboration is possible and can lead to both greater innovation and equity in providing services to students with special needs. Gina Plate, Senior Special Education Advisor at CCSA, writes about the partnership in the Chronicle of Social Change and explains that it allows charters to maintain the autonomy that all schools need to be successful while keeping them connected to their partner public schools in LAUSD so that they can share best practices and demonstrate what is possible when schools are trusted with flexibility and held accountable for performance. Anyone wanting to learn more about this exciting partnership should join hundreds of the country’s authorizers and charter sector leaders at NACSA’s 2013 Leadership Conference, October 21-24 in San Diego. Gina will join her colleagues Sydney Quon at LAUSD, David Toston from EdCoe, and Lauren Rhim from the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools to explore the challenges and opportunities presented by new approaches to special education coordination and collaboration and how these approaches might have promise for improving special education services for charter schools nationwide.