February 11th, 2015

Impact Update - Winter 2015

The mission of NCLD is to improve the lives of the 1 in 5 individuals nationwide with learning and attention issues. Below are highlights of our accomplishments in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Empowering Parents

  • We’ve expanded the reach of Understood through a national advertising campaign:
    • The Ad Council has helped secure donated placement of ads across the country on TV, radio and print media—including full-page ads in the New York Times!
    • We also secured several promotional video billboards in the middle of Times Square to help share this incredible resource to more parents of kids with learning and attention issues.
  • Enhanced connectivity on A new section called Parents Like Me gives parents the opportunity to trade tips and advice with other parents who share their interests and concerns.
  • The redesigned makes it even easier to find information about all of NCLD’s programs, the latest reports and studies, scholarship opportunities and more!

Advocating for Equal Rights and Opportunities

  • NCLD secured $2.5 million in Congress’s 2015 budget to be used for a National Technical Assistance Center. This money will fund an online resource center that will provide information to students with disabilities and their families to assist with the transition to higher education.
  • We received a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to study and make recommendations on how systems of personalized learning best serve and incorporate students with disabilities.

Transforming Our Public Schools for All Students

  • We launched the RTI-based SLD Identification Toolkit on The Toolkit was developed in partnership with the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Association of State Directors of Special Education and the Council of Administrators of Special Education. It offers evidence-based practice for identifying students as eligible for special education in the Specific Learning Disabilities category using Response to Intervention as the foundation.

Ensuring Successful Futures for Young People

  • NCLD’s Pete & Carrie Rozelle Award is our annual honor given to a public and a private school that demonstrate excellence in serving all students, including those with learning and attention issues. The 2014 winners were P.S. 200 Benson Elementary School (Brooklyn, NY) and Eagle Hill School (Greenwich, CT).
  • We completed the research phase of our Student Voices project surveying more than 1,200 young adults to gain a first-hand perspective about their journey and discover how we can support their needs as they transition from high school to college or the workplace. Look for the results on

Looking Ahead
We’re committed to providing the resources and services that our community needs. Here are some of our exciting upcoming programs and goals for the first quarter of 2015.
Providing More Resources for Parents

  • We’re expanding the reach of the Understood campaign beyond traditional media (TV, print, radio) to be shown in movie theatres and lobbies across the country.
  • We’re excited to announce a new partnership with Understood, ABC / Disney and First Book. Understood will partner on the Magic of Storytelling campaign to help ensure that all children have access to books and parents have the resources to foster a passion for reading with their kids.

Increasing our Advocacy Impact

  • We’ll release recommendations that we’ve developed jointly with the Learning Disabilities Association (LDA) for states that have third grade reading laws. Using Understood as a platform we’ll share our recommendations in the form of a “best practices” document for policymakers and an infographic for parents.

Providing Educators With Tools for Success

  • We’ll continue our partnerships with the Barnstable Public Schools and the Massachusetts Department of Education in Massachusetts to help fully implement a Multi-Tier System of Supports through NCLD’s Schools That Work project funded by The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation. We’ll also add another school district in Massachusetts to partner with for year two of the project.

Serving Young Adults Beyond High School

  • We’re reviewing over 400 applications from high school students across the country to select the Anne Ford & Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarship Award winners for 2015. The scholarships are awarded annually to two graduating high school seniors with documented learning disabilities to support their pursuit of a four-year, two-year, or vocational post-secondary education.

RESIZE_Kaila Hatton (2014 AFT Scholar)-029

“The hardest part of my journey with LD hasn’t been the tests or even the grades. It’s been the low expectations that people have for kids who learn differently. For young kids, it’s having to constantly deal with the feeling that you’re disappointing someone because you don’t fit the mold of the ideal student…the truth is that this struggle has made me stronger. I’m ready to take on anything!”
– Kaila Hatton, 2014 Allegra Ford Thomas Scholar

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