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."

Family Partners Program Director Wanted

PHILLIPS Programs, winner of the Washington Post Non-Profit Management award, is the place to be!  PHILLIPS Programs is a well-established private, non-profit organization serving children and adolescents with complex developmental needs and their families through special education day programs, career education programs and in-home and community based counseling services.  We are currently seeking a Program Director for our award winning home and community based program.


Working in collaboration with the President/CEO, the director will be critical to the continued success of the program.  The rewards of your efforts will be seen as you see our families and children strengthen their skills in order to prevent crises and expand their strengths and skills, empowering and enabling them to actualize their potential.


The director will be responsible for all aspects of the program management including administration, program development, budget preparation and oversight, community liaison and building relationships, intake and oversight of cases and billing, hiring,  training and supervision of all staff and serve as back up for on call support.  The successful director will be able to multi-task with energy with an emphasis on evidence based results while strengthening families in the community.


If you have proven experience in community based counseling, strengthening families with various support efforts, and behavior intervention services for children with special needs, this may be the opportunity you’ve been dreaming about.  The ideal candidate will have:

  • a commitment to children and their families an strengths-based approaches
  • a min of 10+ yrs exp in the areas noted above
  • License and certification preferred
  • knowledge of automated billing software
  • high energy and a positive personality with a can do attitude
  • ability to work within a team at all levels
  • be interested in and successful at developing relations with community members
  • excellent writing and communication skills


If you want to be a hands-on leader working to better the lives of children and families, let us hear from you by confidentially sending a cover letter, including salary requirements, and your resume to:

Email:  resumes.annandale@phillipsprograms.org

Mail:  PHILLIPS Programs

Attn: HR

7010 Braddock Rd.

Annandale, VA  22003

Check us out online at:  www.phillipsprograms.org    EOE

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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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Robert Cane of FOCUS steps down

Robert Cane has brought much to the District’s education system and its students. Charter schools have contributed to District-wide improvement across the entire public school system, and FOCUS has been a big part of the development of a strong charter school community in DC. The Washington Post reports that he will be stepping down to move closer to family in Nevada. Here at DCASE, we thank him and wish him well on his next adventure.

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The Episcopal Center for Children Seeking New Executive Director

After over 40 years with The Episcopal Center for Children (ECC), Executive Director Alan Korz is retiring in 2015. The Board is engaged in an executive search for its next leader. The anticipated start date for this position is March 2015.

The Episcopal Center for Children, a private, nonprofit, non-denominational day treatment facility for special needs children and their families in Washington, DC, seeks an Executive Director to lead its school to sustain its fundamental purpose while focusing on its long-term vision. Candidates must have a master’s degree in social work, clinical psychology, special education, or a related field, demonstrated knowledge of child development and growth, at least 10 years experience in child and/or adolescent mental health delivery, at least 5 years executive experience, and demonstrated leadership, management, and fundraising success.

Email cover letter with salary requirement and resume to barbara.ramundo@gmail.com. Please include ECC Executive Search in the Subject Line of email messages. Application review starts November 3, 2014. The ED job description will be forwarded upon request.


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CEO Sought for The Foundation Schools

After 33 years with The Foundation Schools, CEO Andrea Adler will be retiring at the end of this school year. The Board has begun the search for its next leader. Start date for this position is expected to be June 2015. Please see their post below:

The Foundation Schools, a nonprofit, non-public special education program in suburban Maryland, seeks CEO to lead two campus schools to the next level of educational and community leadership success.  Candidate must have master’s degree in related field, at least eight years executive experience and demonstrated leadership, management and fundraising success. Cover letter with salary requirement and resume should be emailed to foundationschoolsceosearch@gmail.com by November 26.  The CEO job description will be emailed upon request.


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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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Jesús Aguirre to be D.C.’s New State Superintendent for Education

DCASE looks forward to welcoming and working with the new Superintendent.  We wish him success and hope to work closely together in meeting the needs of DC students and their families facing special education challenges.

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Message from OSSE’s Assistant Superintendent for Special Education

From Dr. Maisterra:

Greetings Nonpublic School Representatives,

As we launch the 2013-2014 school year, I am pleased to share the first quarterly OSSE Nonpublic Program Information Memorandum this year.  Our goal with these communications is to ensure that you have the necessary information and resources that will best position you for success as you support students from the District of Columbia in your programs.

OSSE’s Nonpublic Program Toolkit

We are pleased to share a final draft of our new Nonpublic Program Toolkit.  This toolkit is intended to support nonpublic programs, District LEAs, and families of students served in nonpublic settings.  To ensure that we are hitting the mark, we are vetting it with key stakeholders before finalizing it at the end of this month.  To that end, please review the Toolkit, which is located at:  http://osse.dc.gov/publication/nonpublic-toolkit, and provide any feedback you have to Ms.  Melanie Grant, Esq., Training and Technical Assistance Specialist, by Friday, August 30, 2013.  Ms. Grant can be contacted at Melanie.Grant@dc.gov.

OSSE Special Education Quality Review (SEQR) Tool Trainings

Many of you are aware that last year, OSSE’s DSE partnered with the American Institutes for Research (AIR) to launch a project designed to address special education program quality in the District of Columbia. From that work, OSSE developed the Special Education Quality Review (SEQR) Tool.  SEQR offers  a web-based self-assessment tool to be used by schools, local education agencies (LEAs) and nonpublic schools serving District of Columbia students to assess school-level programs for Students with Disabilities (SWDs) on selected quality indicators and to identify school level improvements needed to achieve best practice standards. We have scheduled a webinar that will explain how to use the tool.

Our first SEQR training for nonpublic programs took place this morning, from 9 am- 11 am.  Moving forward, DSE will host additional trainings that will be open to all, but designed to support nonpublic programs in their use of the tool.  These trainings, which repeat content, will occur from 9 am – 11 am on the second Wednesday of each month, via webinar.  The schedule is as follows:

September 11, 2013- Nonpublic Program Representatives  - https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/684314826

November 13, 2013- Nonpublic Program Representatives - https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/378101154

January 8, 2014- Nonpublic Program Representatives - https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/119923506

March 12, 2014- Nonpublic Program Representatives https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/377692506

May 14, 2014- Nonpublic Program Representatives https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/171160434

Please contact Ms. Yuliana Del Arroyo, Director of Placement Oversight,  atYuliana.delarroyo@dc.gov with any questions you may have.

OSSE Nonpublic Program Profiles

In an effort to increase transparency, provide information to stakeholders,  and meet its local reporting obligations, OSSE is in the process of finalizing nonpublic program profiles for each school with a Certificate of Approval (COA).  OSSE has finalized the program template for the programs, after receiving valuable feedback from the District of Columbia Association for Special Education (DCASE).   In the next two weeks, you will receive the final draft profile for your school, with a request to 1) provide us with program information unique to your school, and 2) review the data included, which has been retrieved from self-reported data provided by your program via either your  COA application or the recent data collection.  Instructions, deadlines and points of contact will be included in the communication.

Please contact Dr. Edgar Stewart, Supervisory Monitoring Specialist, at Edgar.stewart@dc.gov with any questions.

2013-2014 SEDS User Support Model

OSSE has previously assumed full responsibility for providing technical assistance (TA) to LEAs and nonpublic schools around the implementation of data collection and use of data systems, particularly with the use of the Special Education Data System (SEDS). The current model needs revision in order to become more sustainable and accurately reflect the responsibility of both OSSE and LEAs in ensuring data quality. There will be several key changes to the model for technical assistance for the 2013-2014 school year.


Key features of new technical assistance model:

·         Focus on responsibility at LEA level through increased role of Special Education LEA Data Administrator:

  • Provide troubleshooting support to users within their LEA

o   Provide training on SEDS to users within their LEA

o   Manage usage of SEDS by users within their LEA

o   Serve as point-of-contact with the OSSE for state-level questions/issues regarding SEDS

·         OSSE personnel with specific expertise serve as agency point of contact to diagnose and direct questions to  appropriate personnel.

·         Cross functional inquiry teams within the agency will provide data driven support and proactively intervene in areas of need

Anticipated outcomes:

·         Timely and accurate support from OSSE experts

·         Organized process that results in more efficient and consistent responses at the OSSE and LEA levels

·         Increased LEA autonomy that leads to more relevant connections between procedural compliance and data quality

Implications for nonpublic schools:

·         As indicated in DCMR 3019, LEAs are responsible for monitoring the provision of special education services to students placed in nonpublic schools.  As a reflection of that expectation, all requests for support with data systems that are student specific should be directed to the LEA responsible for the student.  Other requests that are more general in nature may be directed to OSSE via a single point of contact at the nonpublic school.  For more information about where to direct requests for support, please see the Nonpublic Toolkit (link above).

Expectations of nonpublic schools:

·         Identify a Nonpublic School Point of Contact (POC)   who will be responsible for directing requests for support to the responsible LEA or OSSE, depending on the issue

·         Instead of directing requests for support to the OSSE Applications Call Center or the SEDS Team, submit student specific  requests to the responsible LEA or OSSE effective August 16, 2013

·         If seeking support from OSSE, please do so via the OSSE Support Tool.  Review the Nonpublic Toolkit for more detailed information about where to direct specific requests for support

OSSE Certificate of Approval Regulations

This fall, OSSE anticipates posting proposed updates to our regulations for nonpublic programs serving District students.  We will ensure that nonpublic schools are apprised when the posting occurs.  As always, the proposed rules will include a 60 day posting period and two public hearing dates to allow for public comments.

OSSE Nonpublic Rate Setting Update

Pursuant to OSSE’s Certificate of Approval Regulations (DCMR 5A Chapter 28), OSSE has completed its annual rate setting and review process.  All nonpublic schools and programs should have received a communication regarding this initiative by August 1, 2013.  OSSE currently accepts rates approved by other states and jurisdictions.  When this is not the case, OSSE rates apply.  As such, OSSE has adopted the Universal Per Student Funding Formula (UPSFF) as its rate for per diem tuition. Equally, OSSE has also adopted the related services rates established by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), for the Washington DC Metropolitan Area, which are identified as the fair market rate for this area. All other rates not included in a state or OSSE approval must be submitted to, reviewed, and confirmed by OSSE prior to invoice submission.  Nonpublic programs have thirty (30) calendar days from the date of the 2013-14 SY OSSE Rate Confirmation rate setting communication to appeal the rate established by OSSE. This rate setting methodology will remain in effect until otherwise advised by OSSE and documented in the appropriate Regulations.

Please contact Ms. Yvonne S. Smith, Director, Nonpublic Payment Unit, at yvonneS.smith@dc.govwith any questions.

Monitoring and Compliance Update

The Nonpublic Monitoring Team is finalizing the 2013-2014 calendar for on-site monitoring of nonpublic schools. We anticipate sending the final calendar to nonpublic schools and their associated LEAs by August 30, 2013.  Review and approval of nonpublic school- and student-level correction of noncompliance will be finalized within the next week. We anticipate final report release through the DC Corrective Action Tracking System (DC CATS) no later than August 30, 2013.

Please contact Dr. Edgar Stewart, Supervisory Monitoring Specialist, at Edgar.stewart@dc.gov with any questions.

We look forward to collaborating with you to ensure a successful and productive 2013-2014 school year for our students and families.

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The Chelsea School Starts its Year in a New Home

The Chelsea School is excited to announce that it will be relocating its campus to Hyattsville, Maryland this September. The school, which serves students in grades 5-12 with language-based learning disabilities, has been located in Silver Spring for over thirty years. The new campus location is adjacent to the Prince George’s Plaza metro station in Hyattsville and will be opening for the first day of school on September 3.

A major factor in the school’s relocation to Hyattsville is its location and metro accessibility. Many of the school’s students reside in Prince George’s County which makes the opportunity to be a part of their community an extremely positive outcome. Also, the modern facility that the school is moving to allows it to make necessary upgrades to the instructional spaces and technology options available to its students.

Chelsea School’s mission to educate promising students with language-based learning differences in a rigorous and individualized college-preparatory environment to become lifelong independent learners will be enhanced by the new facilities. The campus is located near Prince George’s County Community College and the University of Maryland, two institutions that the school hopes to partner with in educator training, educational research, outreach, and enrichment activities for its students.
Chelsea school is looking forward to becoming a part of the Prince George’s County and Hyattsville communities. The new address for the school is 2970 Belcrest Center Drive, Hyattsville, MD 20782. The point of contact is Kate Fedalen, Head of School. (301) 585-1430 kfedalen@chelseaschool.edu

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