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Massachusetts Charter Schools

Access and Equity

Criteria 2: Access and Equity - Charter School Performance Criteria

The Charter School Performance Criteria (Criteria) are presented in the three guiding areas of charter school accountability defined in the current regulations, 603 CMR 1.00: faithfulness to charter, academic program success, and organizational viability.

There are ten (10) Criteria that define expected performance in the three guiding areas of charter school accountability: faithfulness to charter, academic program success, and organizational viability. The Department evaluates these criteria through the use of quantitative and/or qualitative data as well as affirmative evidence presented by the school, compiled over the course of the school's charter term. For more detailed information on the Criteria, select the Accountability tab to the left.

Criteria 2: Access and Equity is under the guiding area of faithfulness to charter in the Criteria. Criteria 2 defines the expectations for schools to ensure program access and equity for all students eligible to attend the school. The following links are a collection of laws and resources for schools to reference related to Criteria 2.

Special Education Information and Resources

Special Education Program Self-Assessment Templates

The Massachusetts Charter School Site Visit Protocol specifies that all charter schools will provide the Office of Charter Schools and School Redesign with copies of any special education program self-evaluations in preparation for full site visits.

A self-evaluation for either program should be a synthesis and analysis of different data points. Schools should not submit information that simply describes the special education programs. The program self-evaluation should include the following elements:

  1. Data analysis presenting one or more of the following:
    1. comparisons of student achievement for students with disabilities across time, showing changes, preferably on multiple assessments;
    2. comparisons of performance of students with disabilities with general education students on the same assessment(s), (including, but not limited to, performance on state assessments);
  2. Analysis, interpretation and discussion of results to reach conclusion(s) regarding program effectiveness and,
  3. Recommendations for any needed changes in the program based on the conclusions reached.
  4. Please see the exemplars above for examples

The following resources are highlights from the Special Education page on the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) website. To view all DESE special education resources, visit Special Education page or contact the Special Education Planning & Policy department directly at (781) 338-3375 or

Special Education Guidance Documents and Frameworks:

Systems for Student Success (SfSS)

The Systems for Student Success (SfSS) is a blueprint for school improvement that focuses on system structures and supports across the district, school, and classroom to meet the academic and non-academic needs of all students. It was developed to help guide the establishment of a system that provides high-quality core educational experiences in a safe and supportive learning environment for all students and targeted interventions/supports for students who experience academic and/or behavioral difficulties and students who have already demonstrated mastery of the concept and skills being taught.

Educator Effectiveness Guidebook for Inclusive Practices

This site contains a guidebook, which includes tools for districts, schools, and educators that are aligned to the MA Educator Evaluation Framework, that promotes evidence-based best practices for inclusion following the principles of Universal Design for Learning, Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, and Social and Emotional Learning.

Low-income Education Access Project (LEAP)

DESE is working collaboratively with a cohort of Massachusetts districts (LEAP districts), collaboratives and agencies to assess why disproportionality in special education identification and/or placement is occurring for low-income students. This website disseminates its findings through tools, technical assistance, sustainable professional development, and other resources to support all Massachusetts districts.

Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment

This state-funded grant program creates new partnerships between high schools in public school districts and public colleges and universities for an inclusive concurrent enrollment program on campus for students with severe disabilities between the ages of 18 and 22.

Office of Career/Vocational Technical Education

The Office for Career/Vocational Technical Education governs vocational technical education programs in public school districts. This site includes resources, regulations, guidelines, programs, toolkits, and frameworks.

Department of Education Guidance on Rights of Students with Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Education (USED) recently released three new sets of guidance to help the public understand how USED interprets and enforces federal civil rights laws protecting the rights of students with disabilities. The guidance includes:

In addition, USED also released a Know Your Rights document to provide parents a brief overview of the rights of public charter school students with disabilities and the legal obligations of charter schools under Section 504 and the IDEA.

Special Education and IEP Documents and Resources:

Secondary Transition and MA IEP Forms and Notices

Secondary Transition Services help young adults to live, work, participate in the community, and go on to further education or training as independently as possible when they leave high school. This site contains translated IEP and Transition Planning forms, notices, and translation glossary in 16 languages. This site also contains the updated Transition Planning Form for students with disabilities who are 14 years of age and over.

Notice of Procedural Safeguards

To ensure that parents have the information that school districts are required by law to provide, school districts must provide the Notice of Procedural Safeguards to them. This site has this document translated into nine languages and schools may need to obtain interpreters or prepare additional translated materials describing the procedural rights of parents and students under IDEA-2004.

Resource Guide to the 2019 Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for Students with Disabilities

Last Updated: June 14, 2023

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