DCASE's Vision is to fulfill the promise of a quality education for all children.

DCASE is an alliance of nonpublic and charter schools that provide special education services to students from the District of Columbia. Members are dedicated to improving educational opportunities for all DC students with disabilities. Improving special education in every school – DC Public Schools, nonpublic and charter – will benefit all students. We are inspired by the motto: "a rising tide lifts all boats."

Support Full Funding of IDEA!

IDEA Full Funding Act

Representative Jared Huffman (D-CA) and Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) introduced the IDEA Full Funding Act, which provides mandatory funding that puts the federal government on a 7-year glide path to reach the commitment to provide 40% of the additional cost associated with educating students with special needs.  Currently, the federal government appropriates funding that covers 15% of those additional costs.

Contact your legislators to support full funding TODAY!  Find your legislator by visiting:

U.S. House of Representatives

U.S. Senate

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D.C. parent: How data-obsessed school reform helps drive rising inequality in nation’s capital

In the Washington Post Answer Sheet, DC parent and academic, Natalie Hopkinson, challenges the District’s policymakers and us to look at how we look at data (and use it), and specifically whether DC’s data-driven education reform is helping the school system or many of the students in it. In view of OSSE’s newly released strategic plan, and its key priority of high quality and actionable data, it seems worth considering Ms. Hopkinson’s comments and their implications for students with special needs. Her remarks were delivered at last week’s Urban Institute’s panel on Washington D.C.’s Next Generation of Education Data and Research. Other speakers included:

  • David Grosso, chairman, education committee, DC Council
  • Kaya Henderson, chancellor, DC Public Schools
  • Hanseul Kang, state superintendent of education, Washington, DC
  • Jennifer Niles, deputy mayor for education, Washington, DC
  • Scott Pearson, executive director, DC Public Charter School Board

Their bios and focus areas, and those of the event’s other panelists, can be found here.


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PHILLIPS School is Growing Futures for its Students


The Baltimore Sun recently featured PHILLIPS Maryland’s campus and its innovative career program that teaches students to grow microgreens hydroponically. The program combines lessons in science, math, culinary arts and business to give students valuable skills and a taste for the exciting field of hydroponic gardening and alternative farming. Students will also be leveraging community partnerships to market and sell the products they develop, giving them even more exposure and connections to the community in which they will someday contribute.

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Looking for an Effective Crisis Management Program?

Right Response is an effective and largely non-physical crisis prevention and intervention program used by schools, hospitals, correctional settings and other environments challenged by sudden and frequent behavior management crises.

PHILLIPS Programs will be hosting a Right Response™ Trainer’s Training course, and is opening it to interested nonpublic school colleagues. The course will take place at PHILLIPS Laurel, MD campus and will be scheduled at a time that is convenient for the majority of particpants.

For more information, please contact Sarah Headley, Program Director, at sarah.headley@phillipsprograms.org

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PHILLIPS Program Director Honored for Distinguished Educational Leadership

Congratulations to PHILLIPS Programs’ Trudy Bell for being recognized as a 2015 Washington Post Principal of Excellence! Ms. Bell has been guiding special education programming at PHILLIPS’ northern Virginia campus for more than 40 years, sharing her talents with hundreds of staff and thousands of students during that time. Read her Washington Post profile here.

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DC Special Education Reform Legislation Long Overdue

The special education legislation reported in today’s Washington Post, proposed by Councilmember Catania is long overdue, well-conceived and on-point with the most pressing challenges still plaguing the District’s special education system. All three reform bills deserve swift passage, and Council Members should hear from any parents and professionals that have struggled to obtain, maintain or fund appropriate services for their students with special needs. If you have a story, now is the time to tell it. Please call or write your Council Member in support of these much needed special education reforms.

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What happens to Options’s students when the school shuts down?

Students with special needs such as those described in the Washington Post editorial 1/28/14 do not have to be at the “option of last resort.” In fact, federal law requires that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living.

The District has a vibrant non-public education community that DCPS and other Local Education Agencies have relied upon for many years to serve the needs of those students requiring the highest levels of support and intervention to achieve their potential. Non-public schools use enriched staffing, proven educational models and specialized services that address behavioral and social needs of students as well as authentic inclusion of families in the education of their children.

The DC Association for Special Education (DCASE) Consortium also supports DCPS and Public Charter Schools with training, consultation, and student services, providing 873 teachers, administrators and students with such resources in 2013. DCASE is working with DCPS and OSSE to improve the ways that students transition when ready, back into their neighborhood schools, including expanding opportunities for students to do partial-day mainstreaming, where they can learn to succeed alongside their non-disabled peers while maintaining the supports of their non-public program.

Students like those at Options do not need to become casualties of systemic dysfunction or problems brought on them by others. The community has an opportunity as well as an obligation to come together and do right by these young people and their families. Let’s see that this happens.

Read Washington Post Article here

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