We’re delighted to share an update on the exciting work we’ve been doing to support the 1 in 5 individuals nationwide with learning and attention issues over the past three months. It is because of your support and belief in our work that we are making the most significant impact in our organization’s history to improve the lives of the 60 million children and adults in the U.S. who struggle with learning and attention issues.
Read on to find out what we’ve done and what we’re looking forward to for the remainder of 2016.
Empowering Parents with Understood
- September traffic to Understood reached 1.5 million monthly unique visitors, an all-time record.
- At the end of July, Understood launched and ran its #StartSchoolStrong back-to-school campaign. One of the features of the campaign was to focus on providing parents with useful, relevant printable resources (like this IEP binder checklist) that would be especially helpful at the beginning of the year. As a result, printable resources were downloaded 52,729 times, three to four times the average for the same time period last year. The campaign also led to a record number of visitors referred by Understood’s founding partner organizations.
- October marked the launch of our #BeUnderstood Campaign for LD, Dyslexia and ADHD Awareness month.
- A major piece of the campaign was the launch of the new public service announcement, in partnership with the Ad Council. The name of the PSA campaign is “Two Sides,” and the core message, “When you can see if from their side, you can be on their side.”
- Also in October, the Understood team met representatives from every partner organization to discuss lessons learned and upcoming initiatives. This meeting led to the creation of key messages for the field as well as the beginning of a plan for long-term impact as part of the MacArthur 100 & Change grant-proposal process.
- Grassroots mobilization work will begin in Iowa, Colorado and Georgia to raise awareness among parents and offer support for students with learning and attention issues.
Learning Resources and Research
- We convened the annual meeting of NCLD’s Professional Advisory Board, where we welcomed incoming members:
- Manju Banerjee, Ph.D.
- Carl Cohn, Ph.D.
- Karla Estrada, Ph.D.
- Fumiko Hoeft, M.D., Ph.D.
- Bambi Lockman, LL.D.
- Erik von Hahn, M.D.
- Members of the PAB enthusiastically embraced NCLD’s 2.0 strategic planning. They were eager to engage with the NCLD team in support of Understood.org, exciting new opportunities for educators, our work in personalized learning, and in policy and advocacy efforts that will inform how the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is rolled out in states across the country.
- Claudia Koochek, head of Westmark School in Encino, CA received NCLD’s Bill Ellis Award at the annual conference of the International Dyslexia Association on Oct. 28 in Orlando.
- NCLD’s award programs are in full swing.
- Public and private school nominations for NCLD’s Rozelle Award are being reviewed by the NCLD team, with the presentation of each award to be scheduled in early 2017.
- We’re accepting online applications for our Anne Ford and Allegra Ford Thomas scholarships. So far, we have received more than 400 applications, and team members, interns, members of the Board of Directors are already immersed in reviewing them. We will honor the winners at our annual benefit on March 6, 2017.
- Our Schools That Work project continues to grow and support school districts in Massachusetts.
- We completed the final year of the project in Barnstable Public Schools as well as the first two school years with Mashpee Public Schools.
- We held our first joint MTSS convening with the Cape Cod Collaborative on July 19. The event brought together many of the superintendents and MTSS school teams for a day of professional development and planning focused on building and sustaining MTSS across the cape and islands over the next academic year.
- For the 2017–2018 school year we’ll kick-off the second year of the Schools That Work project with the Mashpee Public Schools adding a focus on behavior and Explicit Instruction in addition to district, school and principal support.
Public Policy and Advocacy
- In early August, NCLD convened local experts in New Hampshire to discuss how to meet the needs of students with disabilities in personalized learning systems.
- We spoke to other groups like the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and Big Picture Learning about how personalized learning systems can meet the needs of all students.
- Check out our guest post for the National PTA’s blog and our article for the National Association of State Boards of Education. Ace Parsi and Meghan Casey detail how personalized learning strategies can work for students with disabilities.
- We also co-led workshops with partner organizations in Baltimore and Houston designed to empower parents to participate in the development of their state’s ESSA plan.
- NCLD continued to engage parents on ESSA implementation at the state level via an Understood expert chat and Twitter chat.
- We shared our findings on personalized learning with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL).
- Later this month NCLD will be holding our second state convening on personalized learning in Denver.
- Following our informative roundtable discussion last April with Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey and college students with learning and attention issues, NCLD and the American Council on Education will co-lead a committee of higher education and disability groups to develop recommendations for colleges and universities on how they can best work with and serve students with disabilities.
- This fall, NCLD will convene stakeholders in Washington D.C. to discuss promoting family and school partnerships for children with specific learning disabilities.