Who is The Arc?

tas_libraryThe Arc was founded in 1950 from a grassroots movement of families working to create services for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). With more than 600 state and local chapters across the country, The Arc is the oldest and largest organization advocating for and serving people with IDD.
Learn more about The Arc.

Find a chapter of The Arc in your area.

What is The Arc@School?

tas_booksSince its founding, The Arc has advocated for students with IDD to have access to educational supports and services. The Arc was a driving force in the passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 1975, which required schools to educate all students with disabilities for the first time. The Arc@School is The Arc’s newest initiative in special education. The mission of The Arc@School is to build the capacity of our nationwide network of chapters to provide individual advocacy that helps students with IDD and their families navigate the special education system. The Arc@School is available to chapter staff for technical assistance, training, and resources on special education advocacy.

As part of its program planning, The Arc@School conducted an investigation of existing special education advocacy practices. The investigation included a scan of academic research journals for articles on special education advocacy, identification of existing advocacy training programs, conversations with key special education advocacy stakeholders, and outreach to special education advocates in The Arc’s chapter network.  The investigation report identifies a list of recommendations, which form the basis for The Arc@School’s current efforts.

The Arc@School Team

Katy Schmid is the Senior Director of National Program Innovation at The Arc. She graduated with honors from Longwood University earning her master’s degree in education with a K-12 special education certification as well as a K-6 general education certification. After many years in the classroom, she moved on to oversee technology integration and implementation for secondary and postsecondary students with disabilities as an Assistive Technology Resource Professional at Fairfax County Public Schools. She immediately saw the impact that assistive technologies can have on the goal advancement of individuals with disabilities. As her passion for technology integration grew, she joined Rethink Ed as the Director of Professional Services where she worked to provide technology and behavior supports for teachers and students across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast United States. Most recently, she became certified by International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) as a Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies.

Katy’s work has been featured by the Journal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities, ABC-DC news and NPR. Katy joined the team at The Arc in January 2016.