Member Schools

Resources for Diverse Learners

Diverse Learners & Sped Co-Op

Charter schools are committed to meeting the needs of all students who come through their doors. In response to our member schools’ need for additional supports in recruiting and staffing special education instructors and related service providers, INCS has created the SPED Co-op. A cooperative, or co-op, is defined as a collaborative that engages members with mutual interests for mutual benefits. The SPED Co-op will provide a venue for charter schools across Chicago and the state to work together to share ideas and problem-solve.

Through the Co-op, INCS will work with schools on the following activities:

  • Recruiting and staffing the highest quality special education instructors and related service providers
  • Connecting SPED leaders, teachers and case managers at regular meetings and a listserv
  • Building the pipeline of third party agencies that provide clinicians to Illinois charter schools
  • Advocating for charter schools on issues of reimbursement, allocation formulas and other SPED local and state policy

The Co-op launched on September 3, 2015 with 25 schools represented. At this stage, meetings occur about every 6 weeks. The next co-op check-in will occur via conference call on Monday, July 25. Email Stephanie Arias at sarias@incschools.org for more information.

Who should join the Sped Co-op?

  • Case Managers
  • Specialized Service Managers/Directors
  • Teachers
  • Principals, Executive Directors and Founders
  • Student Services Coordinators

The Co-op has already created a number of tools, including a list of third party providers guide and a list of clinician needs from schools in the hopes that schools might be able to collaborate and hire a clinician jointly. Please contact Stephanie Arias at sarias@incschools.org to gain access to these resources and ensure your school is on the SPED Co-op listserv.

Available Resources

Origins of a Sped Co-Op – This presentation helps identify the case for a sped collaborative – ideal for CSO staff who may be interested in launching their own.

Sample contract for clinical services/Related Services Provider

IEP Best Practice Guidelines – This document provides best practices and guidelines for your team’s IEP-writing needs.

Tips from a High School Network – This document provides guidelines around IEP writing in the categories of scheduling; goals, minutes, and LRE; justifying transportation; audit prep; and best practices in IEP completion.

Tips from an Elementary School Network    This document provides guidelines around IEP writing in the categories of scheduling; goals, minutes, and LRE; justifying transportation; and best practices in IEP completion.

Third Party Provider Guide – This is a resource list of possible agencies to help you fill your Related Service Provider vacancies.

If you have any questions or would like to submit a resource to share with INCS’ Diverse Learners Resources page, please contact  Stephanie Arias at  sarias@incschools.org.