Exploring Success in the Charter Sector: Case Studies of Six Charter Schools Engaged in Promising Practices for Children with Disabilities

July 2008

A charter presents the opportunity to create a new school. While charter schools must abide by many of the same regulations that govern all public schools, they are typically granted autonomy to contemplate new approaches to instruction. Ideally, charter developers use this autonomy to develop new robust educational options for all children, including children with disabilities.

This report presents findings from exploratory case studies of six charter schools identified due to their reported success educating children with disabilities. The case studies were exploratory in nature in that we aimed to document what charter schools are offering children with disabilities and we selected schools perceived to be innovative or particularly successful with children with disabilities.

The six schools are located in different states, each with its own distinctive policy environment. And, the schools are each unique in their own right. Yet, collectively, they provide insight into practices that hold promise for educating children with disabilities in both traditional and charter public schools striving to develop high quality special education programs. This report presents the cross-case findings and descriptions of the individual case study schools.