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Building Bridges at the 2023 Case Conference

By Jennifer Ribordy

As Bluum’s Special Education Development Director, I, Jennifer Ribordy, recently joined forces with national collaborative partners, including Kaci Coats from the Collaborative for Exceptional Education in Colorado, Brooke Allen from the Diverse Learners Collaborative in Tennessee, and Sarah Okun from the True Measure Collaborative in Washington State. Together, we presented at the 2023 CASE Conference in Pittsburgh, PA, alongside special education leaders from across the country. This premier professional learning and networking event attracted over 1,130 special education leaders and featured more than 80 exhibitors sharing innovative solutions to field-related needs.

The conference theme, “Building Bridges,” resonated deeply with me and my team as we addressed the critical challenge of establishing strategic partnerships between traditional districts and public charter schools. Our presentation aimed to enhance the continuum of service options available to students with disabilities. The session highlighted exemplary partnerships from across the nation, spotlighting success stories like Rise Charter School and the Kimberly School District in Idaho, Pride Network of Schools and Spokane Public Schools in Washington, and the collaboration between the Metro Nashville School District and Nashville Charters.

A notable aspect of our presentation was the inclusion of practical tools that schools could immediately implement to initiate the problem-solving process. These “take-away tools” included an equity screener example used in Colorado, an action plan template, and example language for the development of Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) related to expanding the continuum of services available to students with disabilities.

Our presence in the national special education leadership scene reflects Bluum’s intentional and continuous efforts to challenge the narrative and conversational silos between charter schools and traditional districts. These efforts aim to improve relationships that ultimately impact outcomes for Idaho’s most vulnerable student population.

Bluum’s special education involvement in multi-state collaborative partnerships underscores its dedication to understanding and implementing impactful practices for students with disabilities. These collaborations have not only strengthened the organization’s national presence but also contributed to a broader understanding of effective strategies and best practices in the field of special education.

For those interested in accessing the resources mentioned in the presentation, inquiries can be directed to Jennifer Ribordy at