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Special Services Coordinator
New Haven

Kindergarten – Grade 12
Start Date: end of June 2017
Location: Hartford, CT; New Haven, CT; Bridgeport, CT; Brooklyn, NY; Providence, RI 

Special Services Coordinators at Achievement First:
Across the country, students with IEPs are vastly underperforming their general education peers. This gap is even more pronounced in areas affected by the achievement gap. At Achievement First, we believe that serving all students and holding ourselves to a high academic bar are not mutually exclusive.  We can do both and our mission compels us to do just that. The Special Services Coordinator serves as a school leader who drives excellence and equity for all scholars with special needs.  He or she drives ambitious student  achievement by overseeing the IEP process and special services delivery, and serving as a liaison to the local special education authority.  Further, he or she manages the learning specialists, interventionists and special education teachers at the school and reports to the school-site principal. The Special Services Coordinator holds primary responsibility for providing academic, emotional and physical services for students who require additional support to thrive within the school’s core academic program. 
Responsibilities of Special Services Coordinator include but are not limited to:

  • Ensure all scholars, including scholars with IEPs, make ambitious and achievable academic progress each year
  • Lead systematic improvement and expansion of Achievement First’s continuum of special education services, including building the knowledge, skills, and mindsets of colleagues and staff
  • Serve as “owner” and “facilitator” of all aspects of the special education and 504 processes (i.e. writing and implementing rigorous, standards-driven IEPs, managing legal documents and files related to students’ IEPs and 504 plans, ensuring all services are in compliance with mandates, coordinating annual IEP review process and initial IEPs, collaborating with and leading team of related service providers at the school, etc.)
  • Manage a strong, professional relationship with the local district and act as the school administrator when meeting with the district (NY and CT only)
  • Manage the Response to Intervention (RTI) process (i.e. determining which scholars need intervention, assigning them to specific interventions, tracking progress within interventions, etc.)
  • Manage the “Child Find” process for incoming students with IEPs
  • Manage the initial referral process, simultaneously identifying students with potential disabilities while actively working against the mis- and over-referral of students frequent in low income areas
  • Build and maintain strong family partnerships, including but not limited to demystifying the special education process 
  • Manage the Manifestation Determination Review process, if necessary
  • Collect and analyze special education data trends and proactively problem solve ways to better serve all scholars
  • Coach a team of learning specialists and interventionists
  • Design and deliver high impact professional development for special education team and all teachers
  • Coordinate IEP program services and ensure all teachers know their special education responsibilities
  • Partner with other school leaders to coordinate testing accommodations
  • Manage ELLs identification, service, and testing
  • Contract, coordinate, and oversee all related services

In addition, the special services coordinator is a member of the team of teachers at the school:

Student Achievement & Character Development
  • Ensure all staff hold all students to extremely high academic and behavioral standards
  • Relentlessly demonstrate and embody the REACH character skills (Respect, Enthusiasm, Achievement, Citizenship, Hard Work) and actively teach, reinforce, and celebrate students character skills; collaborate with the Dean of Students and Social Worker to ensure behavior intervention plans are well designed and well implemented
  • Deliver measurable student academic growth and increase each individual student’s achievement; collaborate with the Academic Dean to ensure the assessment of every student’s mastery of the content and support teachers and coaches in diagnosing and responding to areas of student misunderstanding
Core Instructional Excellence
  • Ensure strategic scaffolding of instruction that maintains high rigor for all students
  • Coach and support pedagogical skills that result in all students being supported to reach high academic and behavioral outcomes
  • Deep content knowledge in elementary reading development is an asset at all levels, though not required
  • Collaborate with teachers, school support staff and school leadership to provide professional development as needed

Classroom Culture

  • Ensure that the positive, achievement-oriented, and structured learning environment invests all students their own achievement
  • Embrace and use school culture systems, while seamlessly integrating individual student accommodations and modifications
  • Identify scholars who are struggling behaviorally and provide proactive support
  • Understand guidelines for suspension and expulsion of students with IEPs and ensure procedural rights are upheld

Planning and Data Analysis

  • Set measurable, ambitious yet attainable goals for the year and for each interim assessment cycle
  • Internalize standards and scope and sequence (for own grade/subject and the grades one year before and one year after) and know how standards build and are assessed
  • Thoughtfully review and plan lessons and develop and implement specific strategies to ensure that each student achieves dramatic gains
  • Coordinate the collection and analysis of RTI data to ensure that all below grade level scholars are receiving high quality interventions

Student and Family Relationships

  • Build rapport with students outside of class (e.g. lunches with scholars, special events) so students understand unambiguously that teachers care about them
  • Invest parents and families in their children’s academic success through regular communication of success and challenges; communicate and engage regularly with parents about student progress and IEPs
  • Provide school-site support for families with children with disabilities

Personal Organization and Effectiveness

  • Reflect on successes and areas of growth around all areas of teaching; seek to improve performance; receive feedback eagerly
  • Work with manager and school team to constantly evaluate and improve special education programming
  • Use system to capture and check action items and prioritize work appropriately
  • Enthusiastically participate in structured and informal learning and development opportunities
  • Create successful partnerships with outside parties (e.g., district special education office) 

Contribution to AF and School Communities

  • Collaborate with colleagues to ensure a rigorous, joyful, and safe environment
  • Assume responsibility for every single scholar’s success by holding all students accountable during transitions, meals, trips, etc.
  • Create unit plans, lesson plans, or other instructional materials as needed to ensure student success across the entire network

Skills and Characteristics

  • Strong instructional and classroom management skills
  • Record of success in developing teachers
  • Strong problem analysis and problem resolution at both a strategic and functional level
  • Knowledge of child development and different learning styles
  • Demonstrated mastery of subject matter
  • Unyielding commitment to students, self and school’s constant learning and development
  • Relentlessness - doing whatever it takes to ensure success
  • Team player
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Highly organized
  • Belief in Achievement First’s mission that the charter movement must embrace and serve students with disabilities
  • Maturity, humility, strong work ethic, sense of humor, and “roll-up-my-sleeves” attitude; flexible, able to work autonomously as well as take direction as needed
  • Experience and familiarity with IEP process, behavior modifications and special education law
  • Belief in and alignment with Achievement First’s core believes and educational philosophy is non-negotiable

Educational Background and Work Experience

  • Three or more years of teaching experience in a special education setting with a record of high student achievement
  • Master’s degree from a competitive college or university
  • Special Education certified.
Salary for this position is very competitive and commensurate with experience. Further, Achievement First offers a comprehensive benefits package.  

Achievement First is an equal opportunity employer and an organization that values diversity. People from all diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply. Spanish language proficiency is a plus. You can learn more about diversity at Achievement First here: http://achievementfirst.org/about-us/diversity/


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