about us

The DC Special Education Cooperative is changing lives.


All students with disabilities in the District of Columbia receive rigorous, individualized, and inclusive education preparing them for post-secondary success.

about us

The DC Special Education Cooperative, known locally as “the Co-op,” is changing the lives of educators, parents, students, and the communities in which these individuals serve and live, by improving educational outcomes for all students.

The Co-op turns the desire to see change into the ability to make change. By infusing that trans formative spirit into all of its programs, the Co-op pushes schools to leverage resources, share ideas, redefine norms, and build capacity to elevate the quality of special education in DC schools.

When the DC Special Education Cooperative was formed in 1998, it filled a unique need in DC by working with teachers, school leaders, and across charter schools to improve educational services for students with disabilities. Not only has the Co-op network of schools expanded but the programs and services it provides to members and non-members has grown and incited a movement to:

  • Find new and innovative ways to meet students where they are;
  • Design programs based on unique student needs; and,
  • Prepare students for life beyond high school graduation.

The Co-op is shaping education legislation, administration, and implementation and in turn improving the way in which thousands of students with disabilities are taught each day.

The DC Special Education Cooperative may have started as an alliance of member schools pooling resources and ideas but has now grown into a preeminent resource for those who want to ELEVATE outcomes for students with disabilities.


WE CULTIVATE programs and professionals committed to the best outcomes for students with disabilities.
WE COLLABORATE by bringing together schools and community members to share ideas, leverage resources, and build capacity.
WE INNOVATE by offering programs and services that move school from compliance to quality.



Fostering a spirit of collective expertise and encouraging collaboration of fresh ideas between schools and community members. The Co-op brings schools and community members together for a common cause.


Advancing policies and teaching practices that combat the systemic racism that has caused Black students and students of color to be both overidentified for special education and underserved when they are identified. The Co-op is committed to strengthening policies and practices that lead to equitable outcomes for all students.


A community-based organization with deep roots in DC, the Co-op understands the city’s history and unique educational landscape and is therefore unwavering in its commitment to improving the outcomes of all students as well as their families.

of Success

For years the Co-op has combined innovation and unparalleled expertise to produce exceptional solutions and outcomes for students with disabilities. Because of this, key government agencies and decision makers in the special education space view the Co-op as an invaluable partner.

Organization Leadership

The Co-op staff is composed of former charter school leaders, teachers, parents of students with disabilities, and individuals who themselves have disabilities. Ultimately this means our team is passionate about championing a cause that for many has personal relevance.

become a member

Join today to get access to resources and ideas to improve the quality of your special education program.