Nonprofit Receives Funding to Reimagine Learning for Diverse Learners

Self Cohort Group 2022

NEW ORLEANS – On Jan. 17, the Special Education Leader Fellowship announced it joined a national cohort of organizations receiving funding and support from NewSchools Venture Fund to advance work supporting students with learning differences, specifically those who also experience the impacts of poverty and racism. 

The investment from NewSchools will help SELF design, launch and expand its Leader Fellowship nationwide.

“As an educator I have always advocated for diverse learners and in my experience, educators want to do what’s best for students but lack specialized knowledge and skills,” said SELF CEO Aqua Stovall in a press release. “We see this moment as an opportunity for a transformational redesign. Lessons from COVID show that it is time to reimagine our schools as welcoming environments to teach to the edges and create inclusive communities where all students can reach their full potential.”

Founded in 2015, SELF is a New Orleans-based nonprofit that trains teachers and leaders to provide high-quality services for students with learning differences. SELF believes in the potential of all students, regardless of background or socioeconomic status, and that educators must take responsibility for student success. Founder and chief executive officer Aqua Stovall has built the organization from the ground up, forming relationships with school leaders, teachers and funders to move the mission forward to meet the need for high-quality special education programming in schools across the nation.

NewSchools selected SELF and 10 other organizations committed to helping schools better meet the needs of students with learning differences. Investment decisions were made using a community review process that centered on the expertise and lived experiences of individuals with learning differences, including students, caregivers, special educators, school and district leaders and special education researchers. 

In addition to funding, SELF will receive management assistance support from NewSchools and will join a national community of practice with other organizations charting new paths to help students with learning differences realize their full potential.

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