DREAM (formerly known as DREAM Charter School and Harlem RBI), is an innovative educational and youth development organization, serving over 2,500 East Harlem and South Bronx youth by providing free, high-quality summer and after-school programs to youth ages 5-22 years in an intensive multi-year commitment that connects youth and families to age-appropriate programs and passionate professional staff over time.
DREAM Charter School, a rigorous, K-11 public charter school in East Harlem, is seeking a dynamic and engaging leader to serve as our Director of Special Education. Reporting to the Managing Director of Schools, the Director of Special Education will lead the development and implementation of DREAM’s inclusion program, systems for special education compliance, and build capacity in DREAM staff to ensure all DREAM scholars are reaching their goals. DREAM Charter School's mission is to prepare students for high-performing high schools, colleges and beyond through a rigorous academic program that develops critical thinkers who demonstrate a love of learning, strong character, and a commitment to wellness and active citizenship.
Like all DREAM employees, the Director of Special Education should demonstrate a strong commitment to the mission and values of DREAM and should have substantial expertise in all areas of responsibility. Come join an organization that has been recognized as one of the “50 Best Non-Profits to Work For” by The Nonprofit Times and as the winner of the Nonprofit Excellence Award – Silver Prize for Overall Management Excellence by the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York.
- Establishes, communicates, and executes on a philosophy of inclusion and related practices;
- Leads and promotes high standards and expectations for students and staff for the purpose of driving academic achievement for students with disabilities;
- Provides positive, collaborative leadership and participates in collegial problem-solving in a variety of situations and departments;
- Creates a quality of service rubric for all special education programs and monitors progress towards excellence;
- Has expertise in federal, New York State and local special education regulations and drives compliance systems and special education billing practices;
- Collects, analyzes and summarizes data regarding the achievement of students with disabilities for the purpose of developing proposals to refine program design and/or instructional practices that would promote increased achievement results for students with disabilities and students in RTI;
- Builds capacity in teachers and deans in creating individual behavioral supports for students, including BIPs and FBAs;
- Provide administration with regular updates regarding special education team information, student data, parent, and CSE interactions
- Provide on-going meetings with Deans and teacher teams to determine progress or concern regarding students’ plans
- Provides special education paraprofessionals and related service providers with training and materials, manages schedules, evaluates performance, and serves as the point person with agencies;
- Manage the implementation of procedures for IEP development, placement, evaluation and re-evaluation of students with disabilities and maintains school-wide calendar to monitor timeline compliance;
- Supports Deans in overseeing delivery of instruction as indicated on IEPs to ensure an integrated service delivery system;
- Regularly review IEPS to ensure that they are based on quantitative present levels of performance, curriculum standards, and content, and that they are relevant for each student;
- Support Deans in ensuring that teacher and related service provider reports are timely and of high quality
- Provide administrators with best practice, research-based curriculum to assist in the development of the academic program and supports deans in ensuring that teachers are implementing effective and appropriate curriculum
- Progress monitor SpEd and RTI instruction across DREAM’s schools and address areas in need of improvement with Deans and Principals;
- Work with Deans and Principals to plan and deliver professional development sessions for staff;
- Monitors and supports IEP meetings chaired by deans and develops Deans in running effective IEP meetings, as needed;
- Provides monthly reports to school leaders that include academic achievement, timeline compliance, and staff performance;
- Promotes positive parent relationships, monitors communication to parents, and provides guidance in complex cases;
- Facilitate discussions in all matters of dispute resolution (Due Process, MDRs, etc.) for the purpose of identifying appropriate actions/resolutions that ensures adherence to compliance and positive outcomes for students with disabilities.
- A firm belief that all children can and will recognize their potential and realize their dreams;
- At least 4 years of experience as a special education teacher;
- At least 2 years of experience in a leadership role (department chair, dean, or assistant principal);
- At least 2 years of experience coaching special education teachers;
- At least 2 years of experience chairing IEP meetings;
- A masters degree in education, special education or related field preferred;
- Has experience working in a charter school or a large metropolitan school district serving students from diverse backgrounds;
- Certified by the New York Department of Education in Special Education;
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills and the ability to influence and build strong relationships to enhance work practices and support the achievement of goals;
- Excellent project management and organizational skills;
- High energy individual with strong interpersonal and communication skills;
- Ability to lead and take initiative, maintain flexibility, and creatively solve problems
- Flexible, collaborative, team-player;
- Deep embodiment of DREAM’s organizational values of teamwork, diversity, integrity and fun
- Knowledge of Spanish language preferred
- Salary is highly competitive and commensurate with experience. All full-time employees receive an excellent benefits package including health and dental insurance, a 403(B) retirement account, life insurance, twenty days paid vacation per year and access to a full range of social services through our Employee Assistance Program.