Building Equitable Supports for Childen with Disabilities

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Building Equitable Supports for Childen with Disabilities

The Initiative

Children with disabilities and their families face significant barriers to accessing equitable and inclusive high-quality early childhood programs.

The Building Equitable Supports for Children with Disabilities (BESCD) initiative, administered by CES, is designed to help school districts by creating a professional community that centers equitable support as a key to successful inclusion in their early childhood programs. 

To read more about the research behind BESCD, click here.

Who is involved:

There are 30 participating individual and regional school district teams. Each team is comprised of 3 to 5 members, including Special Education Directors, Early Childhood Coordinators, Teachers, Early Care and Education Directors, Head Start Disabilities/Education Coordinators, Family Services Coordinators, CPPI Coordinators, Early Intervention Directors and Community Partners.  

Teams will work to improve and enrich their inclusive early childhood programming through: 

  • Individual coaching, including problem solving around unique school district needs
  • Regional team coaching,  including problem solving around unique school district needs
  • A series of six monthly Professional Learning Community (PLC) webinars
    • Implicit bias and understanding race, racism, and equity in special education.
    • Using data collection to inform practices
    • Inclusion supports for children in public pre-k and community programs
    • Engaging and working with families.
    • Trauma informed practices and the effects on learning for children with disabilities
    • Wellness practices for early childhood educators and administrators
  • Support for development an Action Plan addressing equitable supports to improve their inclusive practices of children with disabilities; guided and informed by BESCD experiences
  • Implementation strategies for applying the concepts, resources and best practices shared in monthly PLC style webinars

The Outcome

The BESCD initiative recognizes the inequities that often exist in special education programs. Participating teams will develop relationships, knowledge and skills, designed to support school districts in addressing these inequities.

Teams will:

  • Learn and implement practices to address disproportionality and implicit bias.
  • Build relationships with families to engage them in decisions around inclusion.
  • Develop techniques to sustain inclusion practices to build strong community connections for children with and without disabilities.
  • Receive tools for building wellness practices.
  • Recognize trauma and the effects on early childhood brain development for children with disabilities.
  • Identify how to interpret behaviors in children with disabilities through the lens of trauma.
  • Practice self-care/self-reflection techniques when working with children with disabilities impacted by trauma and their families to avoid secondary trauma and burn-out.  
  • Develop an action plan that describes how you or your team will implement practices learned to sustain positive outcomes for children with disabilities.

For more information:

Emily Koester, BESCD Project Coordinator,

This FREE initiative is funded by the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), and is administered by the Collaborative for Educational Services (CES).

EEC logo
ESE logo


For more information, contact: 
Administrative Assistant
413.586.4900 x5568