Supporting COVID-19 recovery for students with disabilities: Research findings, policy recommendations, and lessons from the ground

June 2021

By: Elizabeth Barker, Angela Johnson, Meghan Whittaker, Esq., Michael K. Yudin, Phillip Lovell, Jeremy Boerner


In this webinar by the Alliance for Excellent Education, NWEA, and the National Center for Learning disabilities, learn about recent research on academic growth for students in special education before the pandemic and implications for policies and practices designed to spur COVID-19 recovery.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted historically underserved students much more severely than their peers. With the oscillation between learning environments over the past year, it has been difficult for schools to provide the learning services necessary for students with disabilities to succeed, and they have suffered disproportionately from the reduction in instructional time and disconnection from their school communities. At the same time, the disruption in assessment systems at the state and local levels has made it challenging to quantify the unfinished learning. Fortunately, the unprecedented influx of federal funding for K-12 education, most recently through the American Recovery Plan, presents an opportunity to accelerate learning and provide supports for our most vulnerable communities, including students with disabilities.

In this on-demand webinar, the panelists share:

  • new research on the academic growth trends of students with disabilities in special education during the school year as compared to the summer before the pandemic;
  • what these trends may suggest about the potential experiences of students with disabilities during the pandemic;
  • recommendations for states and districts on how to use the recent federal aid to transform education for students with disabilities; and
  • the perspective of a district leader and what their district is doing to support students with disabilities.
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