Programs & Initiatives

The Co-op’s vision is that all students with disabilities in the District of Columbia receive a rigorous, individualized, and inclusive education preparing them for post-graduation success. Our programs, initiatives, and partnerships help make this vision a reality!


ELEVATE is the Co-op’s core program that enables charter schools to “elevate” their practices and provide high quality and compliant special education services for students with disabilities with the ultimate goal of improving academic outcomes.  A school-team focused on results and a common goal, with shared understanding of what makes a special education program great is key to success. ELEVATE gives teams a common language for identifying the practices that define a high quality special education program.  A key feature of ELEVATE is our special education needs assessment tool that assists schools in identifying areas of strength and improvement within their special education programs based on the Co-op’s Quality Special Education Framework consisting of 6 major components: 1) High Quality Instruction, 2) Special Education Infrastructure, 3) Continuum of Services, 4) Leadership, 5) Parent Engagement and 6) Student Empowerment.

Framework alignment: High Quality Instruction, Special Education Infrastructure, Continuum of Services, Leadership, Parent Engagement, Student Empowerment

ELEVATE Program features: ELEVATE’s strength is in the Co-op’s collaborative and flexible approach. We meet schools where they are, get the whole school on board, and leverage our network of practitioners to move schools forward.

The needs assessment administration window opens in January. School-level data reports showing the results of the needs assessment will be released in March.

All charter schools are invited to complete our ELEVATE needs assessment. Click here for more information and for administration tools and resources. 

INCLUDE DC (Training for General Educators)

DC_INCLUDE-RGBINCLUDE DC is the Cooperative’s graduate level course for general education teachers working in inclusive charter school classrooms. This course, designed and taught by Co-op staff, emphasizes a proactive approach to instructional design and planning for diverse student learners. Participants use the history and evolution of special education regulation and foundations of child development as a background for understanding why careful, purposeful, and proactive instructional design are essential components of a successfully inclusive classroom at any grade level.

Framework alignment: High Quality Instruction, Continuum of Services

INCLUDE DC Program activities:

  • Semester-long cohorts in Early Childhood and Elem/Secondary with coaching
  • On-demand PD via webinar

DC3C (Secondary Transition)

DCSEC_DC3Clogo_fullcolor-01-01DC3C supports DC students as they explore careers, college, and community (the 3 “C”s!) to become college or career ready. Activities range from compliance support to professional development to direct service programming for students. DC3C’s work is essential. Data shows that 54% of DC’s students with disabilities are neither enrolled in any type of post-secondary education nor employed one year after graduation.  We believe that it is never too early to start and these students need multiple and various ways in which to explore the world of work.

Framework alignment: High Quality Instruction, Parent Engagement, Student Empowerment

DC3C Program activities:

  • Technical assistance, training, and information sharing for school staff, parents, and students
  • Facilitating collaboration among schools and city agencies
  • Direct programming for students:
    • Spring Break – a week-long job-readiness training program for students.
    • Next Steps – a series of activities where students can explore college, vocational training, and community resources for life after high school.
    • Internships – pre-internship preparation, placement, and evaluation


As public agencies, LEAs are entitled to seek Medicaid reimbursement for school based health services provided to eligible students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). Medicaid can be an important revenue source for providing high quality services to students with disabilities. The Co-op has been assisting charter schools with Medicaid reimbursement since 2006 and has extensive experience working with the Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF) and other city agencies. The Co-op is the expert when it comes to DC charter schools and Medicaid billing. When LEAs opt-in to our Medicaid Billing program, they receive exceptional customer service and support throughout the billing process and recommendations for improving overall special education compliance and service delivery.

Framework alignment: Special Education Infrastructure

MEDICAID BILLING Program activities:

  • DC Medicaid Provider application guidance and support
  • Billing set up and ongoing claim submission
  • Ongoing training and troubleshooting
  • Reporting and technical assistance
  • Audit preparation and support


EXPLOREEXPLORE is the is the Co-op’s interactive traveling exhibit that promotes disability and inclusion awareness in schools. Through hands-on activities and guided discussions, EXPLORE assists school communities in positively “re-imaging” how children with disabilities are perceived. EXPLORE is a structured way for schools to begin empowering their youngest students with disabilities to advocate for themselves. EXPLORE can also be presented to parents, helping to engage families in discussions about disability.

Framework alignment: High Quality Instruction, Parent Engagement, Student Empowerment

EXPLORE Program activities:

  • Traveling exhibit presented on-site at school request
  • Explore materials and exhibit guide available to borrow for school use


The Special Education Director of a charter school has a significant level of responsibility for program implementation and setting the vision for the LEA. Often special education leaders have been promoted from teaching positions without training in developing leadership skills. Our Leadership program seeks to elevate the role of special education director by equipping individuals with the skills and tools they need to be effective leaders of their special education programs.

Framework alignment: Leadership, Special Education Infrastructure