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Recovery Planning with Diverse Learners at the Center

Culture of Inclusion • 5 min read • Jun 15, 2021 10:24:46 AM • Written by: Sarah Sandelius

Announcing two exciting learning series to help schools and districts plan for COVID recovery and accelerated learning with diverse learners at the center!

Join The Ability Challenge to hear more about these exciting learning tools and how to make them work for your school team.  Sessions will be held on 6/22 (Planning for Accelerated Learning) and 6/24 (Managing Special Education Improvement) from 9:00 – 9:45 am.  Registration is required (click session links for sign up).  For more information, contact

Assessing the Needs

If you’re an avid ABC blog reader, you’ll recall that we started this unusual school year by announcing our work with the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) to plan and run a Special Education Community of Practice (COP) for educators across DC. After conducting a comprehensive needs assessment and information-gathering process, we identified several gaps and opportunities for the COP to address, including:

  • Educators need guidance they can implement now;
  • COVID-19 mainly illuminated existing special education inequities; and
  • Gaps exist in some foundational capacities for meeting the needs of students with disabilities. 

Remote learning  for diverse learners

To fill these gaps, The Ability Challenge sought to deliver on the following recommendations: 

  1. Create focused and trusting learning environments for practitioners; 
  2. Prioritize identifying and scaling the use of a few strong tools; 
  3. Focus on critical educator skills and competencies; and 
  4. Build these competencies in selected thematic areas. 

Developing Resources

Over the last year, school leaders have been convening monthly to share ideas about the delivery of special education during continuous learning.  As an outgrowth of that work, and in pursuit of meeting our recommendations, The Ability Challenge, in collaboration with COP members, national experts, and OSSE, has put together two self-paced learning series that share guidance related to centering diverse learners in COVID recovery. 

Designed for school and LEA leaders, these series are comprised of short video micro-lessons with accompanying and aligned activities to walk schools through:

  • Planning for Accelerated Learning with Diverse Learners in Mind; and 
  • Managing Special Education Improvement through Continuous Learning.

Educators can use these self-paced lessons to complete Continuous Education Plans or plan for accelerated learning or special education improvement more generally.  Topics covered in these lessons include:

  • Identifying recovery priorities;
  • Understanding where your students are;
  • Selecting research-based, accelerated learning strategies;
  • Implementing continuous improvement in your school;
  • Developing an action plan;
  • Anticipating challenges; and
  • Much more.  

Sharing Practices 

Certainly, this year has taught us that streamlining continuous learning applies to adults as much as to students and that flexibility, grace, and accessibility are key to working together to weather the pandemic unknowns.  With these ideas in mind, we’re excited to share these two series – with videos, activities, and downloadable planning tools – with educators in DC and beyond.

It’s going to take a village to recover from COVID (dealing with building shutdowns, continuing fears, trauma, and losses), and we hope this information helps! 

Ready to Make an Impact For Your Most Diverse Learners?

Sarah Sandelius