While the charter sector has much to celebrate, the country can do more to put great schools—including excellent charters—within reach for our most vulnerable students. Students with disabilities represent one such group. The best solutions start by partnering with the parent groups that advocate for students with disabilities, and have been doing so for decades. As partners, charter school champions and organizations working with parents of children with disabilities can collectively improve outcomes for students with disabilities, create better school options for them, and advocate for better policies. This call to action for charter champions to launch and deepen their partnerships with parent advocates explains how they are better together—why such partnerships are needed, the forms they might take from partnerships highlighted in Washington, DC, New York City, and Los Angeles, and how to get started.
Serving Students with Highest Needs
Led by Newark Opportunity Youth Network (Newark OYN) in New Jersey, key public and private organizations in Newark came together to focus efforts on supporting disconnected youth and transforming how they are educated and prepared for life, postsecondary learning, and careers. This report describes how Newark OYN emerged and is charting its path of engaging community partners, implementing direct education services to reengage disconnected youth, and providing supports to organizations supporting these youth. Throughout the report, Newark OYN youth reflect on their experiences of disengaging from school or coming close to disengaging, and how Newark OYN’s intentionally designed educational programs and schools set them on a path to opportunity. The report also shares Newark OYN’s early achievements, impact, and lessons learned after two years of implementation.