Co-op Introduces Special Education Leader Competency Tool

The Covid-19 pandemic has created new obstacles for special education leaders; undoubtedly, becoming one of the most overwhelming times in the profession’s history. Leaders are forced to rapidly develop or lean into specific leadership skills to generate success during a global pandemic. To support those endeavors, the DC Special Education Cooperative (Co-op) created the Special Education Leader Competencies for Successful Program Development and Execution, a tool that breaks down what qualities special education leaders need for success in their practice. 

“We created this tool to help school leaders get a true sense of what special education leaders are responsible for knowing and leading. The special education leader holds a critical role in a school and has to be attuned to whole school needs, specific student needs, and legal ramifications for any missteps. In addition to all of this, we also see this as a tool special education leaders can use to assess their own competency for their roles. Since it can be used in multiple ways, it is a valuable tool for our member schools,” the Co-op’s Program Quality Specialist, Amita Lathigra said. 

Before releasing the tool, the Co-op partnered with special education leaders, incorporating their input and expertise to ensure its effectiveness. 

One of those leaders, DC International School PCS’s (DCI) Melody Maitland, notes that the competency framework gives a solid foundation for having a deeper discussion about the quality of programming and leadership.

“I’ve seen many leadership rubrics and competencies, but this one is specific to special education and co-constructed by DC charter leaders, making it more meaningful,” Ms. Maitland said. “I will definitely be using it to support the growth, development, and coaching of DCI’s special ed leaders, to update our interview processes and questions to align with the competencies expected of a special education leader in DC. “

This tool is free for our members and can be found here.

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