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Supporting COVID-19 Recovery for Students with Disabilities: Research Findings, Policy Recommendations, and Lessons from the Ground


On June 8, 2021 All4Ed held a conversation about recent research on academic growth for students in special education before the pandemic and implications for policies and practices designed to spur COVID recovery.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted historically under-served 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 live webinar, our panelists shared:

  • 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
  • The perspective of a district leader and what their district is doing to support students with disabilities.


Michael Yudin,
PrincipalRaben Group (formerly assistant secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the U.S. Department of Education)

Dr. Elizabeth Barker, Accessibility Research Manager, Research Collaborative for Student Growth, NWEA
Jeremy Boerner, Director of Student Development, Cajon Valley Union School District
Dr. Angela Johnson,
Research Scientist, Center for School and Student Progress, NWEA
Meghan Whittaker, Esq., Director of Policy and Advocacy, National Center for Learning Disabilities

Phillip Lovell
, Associate Executive Director, Alliance for Excellent Education

Supplemental Material:

Categories: coronavirus

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