ncld impact fall 2016

NCLD's Impact Update – Fall 2016

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.
NCLD’s Programs
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. PrintDayoNoah-600-857 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.

Looking Ahead

  • 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, exciting new opportunities for educators, our work in personalized learning, claudia-sheldon-credit 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.

Looking Ahead

  • 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.

Transforming Schools

  • 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.

Looking Ahead

  • 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 11/Screen-Shot-2016-11-08-at-1.10.53-PM 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).

Looking Ahead

  • 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. 

NCLD’s Impact Update – November/December 2015

Empowering Parents

  • Understood celebrated one year of serving parents – reaching over 8,000,000 users to date, with over 1,000,000 users in October alone.
  • 24-Hr Access to Experts! We kicked off a month of events for Learning Disabilities, ADHD and Dyslexia Awareness Month with 24 hours of free and unlimited access to advice from Understood’s team of experts. View selected chats from the event.
  • Also in October, we live streamed ADHD Understood: Science, Skillbuilding and Success—an event featuring Understood experts and moderated by award-winning author Andrea Davis Pinkey. Watch the entire conversation.

Looking Ahead

  • We’re eager to launch new content focused on individual strengths of every child with learning and attention issues. Check back soon!
  • Understood is partnering with NCLD to launch grassroots programs with parent advocates in Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Advocating for Equal Rights and Opportunities

  • In July, NCLD brought together partners, parents, and students for an advocacy-focused Dyslexia Hill Day in Washington, DC. Read more about the event.
  • It’s ok to say dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia! After NCLD’s advocacy and request for clarification around using these terms, the U.S. Department of Education issued a letter stating that the terms can indeed be included on a child’s individualized education program (IEP). Read an official statement from NCLD’s Executive Director.
  • In August of 2015, NCLD convened experts and advisors to explore best practices for including students with disabilities in personalized learning, made possible by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Following the convening, NCLD published a report containing 10 policy and practice recommendations for implementing personalized learning as it relates to students with disabilities.

Looking Ahead

  • As the Senate and House work together to finalize their reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, also known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), NCLD will advocate for strengthening the law to ensure that students with learning and attention issues are appropriately included.
  • We will continue to share our report on Personalized Learning, engage with the education community, and develop resources specifically for educators, school and district leaders, and parents on how personalized learning systems can most effectively meet the needs of students with disabilities.

Transforming Our Public Schools for All Studentsrsz_krh_8324

  • NCLD’s Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation–funded Schools That Work partnership launched its second year of work with Barnstable Public Schools in Barnstable, MA and began the first year of work in Mashpee, MA.
  • We collaborated with the Cape Cod Collaborative to determine a plan for increasing access to quality MTSS professional development and support across Cape Cod and Islands.
  • We honored an extraordinary superintendent with NCLD’s Bill Ellis Award–Nikolai Vitti, superintendent of Duval County School, FL.

Looking Ahead

  • In 2016, we’ll complete the final year of the Schools That Work project in Barnstable, setting them on a solid foundation for fulfilling the next three years of their implementation plan. In addition we’ll finalize the work in Mashpee with the focus on fully funding a 2nd year in their district.

Ensuring Successful Futures for Young PeopleStudent Voices Snip 2

  • The results from the Oak Foundation-funded Student Voices research about what drives success for young adults with learning and attention issues was published on View the full results and infographic now.
  • Quinn Bradlee, founder of Friends of Quinn conducted new interviews with Tom Brokaw and Senator Michael Bennett, who shared advice about the importance of good support systems. Watch the interviews.

Looking Ahead

  • We will conduct workshops at professional conferences about NCLD’s Student Voices project, including the Learning Disabilities Association of America in February 2016.
  • The winners of the Anne Ford & Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarship Award competition will be acknowledged at NCLD’s 39th Annual Benefit Dinner on March 9, 2015.

Difference Maker
“I was tired of hating math. I was tired of thinking I was inadequate. Everyone wanted to help me succeed—my mom, my teachers and my friends. The only person left was myself. I had to see my dyscalculia for what it was—something that made me different, but not dumb or less than. Math was hard for me but it wasn’t impossible. There was nothing wrong with getting help for my challenges.”
—Savannah Treviño-Casias, 2015 Anne Ford Scholarship winner, college student and advocate
Read more personal stories about learning and attention issues here.
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