Supporting Special Populations

Special populations refers to students that must overcome barriers that may require special consideration and attention to ensure equal opportunity for success and in an educational setting. These students must be provided support that will ensure they have equal access to education resources and opportunities.

The U.S. Department of Education administers multiple programs to empower States, districts, and other organizations to meet the diverse needs of every student, including these special student populations. Several of these programs are listed on this page. Additionally, technical assistance centers funded by OESE provide content expertise and resources to effectively address State and local needs to support all student populations and their families and communities. Visit the technical assistance center websites linked on this page to learn more about resources and supports available to families, educators, and schools:

Featured OESE Offices

The Office of Indian Education (OIE) establishes policies and provides financial and technical assistance for supporting LEAs, Indian tribes and organizations, post-secondary institutions and other entities in meeting the special educational and cultural related academic needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives.

The Office of Migrant Education (OME) administers programs for migratory children of migratory agricultural workers and migratory fishers, and seasonal farm workers. Programs under these authorities are designed to meet the special needs of these children whose schooling is disrupted by moving, and to aid in their continued development to full potential.

The Rural, Insular and Native Achievement Programs (RINAP) provide financial support and technical assistance to improve the educational outcomes of students, particularly students in rural and geographically isolated areas.

The Office of School Support & Accountability includes the Teachers, Leaders, and Special Populations team, which houses programs for students experiencing homelessness, neglected and delinquent students, students in foster care, and English learners.

Partner Offices

The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) supports programs designed to meet the needs and develop the full potential of children with disabilities, reduce dependency and enhance the productive capabilities of youths and adults with disabilities, and support research to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities , regardless of age.

The Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA), Language Enhancement and Academic Achievement for Limited English Proficient Students administers, coordinates and recommends policy for developing and supporting high quality instructional programs designed to serve the education needs of linguistically and culturally diverse students, thereby helping these English language learners and immigrants attain English proficiency and language success.

Featured Technical Assistance Centers

The National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) is a technical assistance center funded by the U.S. Department of Education to support the implementation of the Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) grant program. NCHE provides technical assistance and support to State coordinators, school district liaisons, families experiencing homelessness, and other stakeholders and partners.  NCHE’s website features a comprehensive suite of technical assistance resources, EHCY program data, and contact information for State- and district-level practitioners from across the country.

The Neglected or Delinquent Education Technical Assistance Center (NDTAC) is a technical assistance center funded by the U.S. Department of Education to support the implementation of the Title I, Part D Neglected and Delinquent formula grant program.  NDTAC provides direct support to State Coordinators for the Title I, Part D program; State and local agency education directors and grant contacts; and communities and families.  NDTAC’s website features resources and data designed to improve education services for children and youth who are considered neglected, delinquent, or at risk.

Equity Assistance Centers provide technical assistance and training, upon request, in the areas of race, sex, national origin, and religion to public school districts and other responsible governmental agencies to promote equitable education opportunities. The four regional Equity Assistance Centers work in the areas of civil rights, equity, and school reform. This assistance helps schools and communities ensure that equitable education opportunities are available and accessible for all children.

National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA). Authorized under Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), NCELA supports the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement for Limited English Proficient Students (OELA) in its mission to respond to Title III educational needs, and implement the ESEA as it applies to English learners (ELs). NCELA collects, coordinates, and conveys a broad range of research and resources in support of an inclusive approach to high quality education for ELs. NCELA supports high quality networking among state-level administrators of Title III programs and serves other stakeholders involved in EL education, including teachers and other practitioners, parents, university faculty, administrators, and federal policymakers.

Office of Special Education Programs Technical Assistance and Dissemination Centers. The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) supports personnel development, technical assistance and dissemination, technology, media and materials, and parent-training and information centers. OSEP funds over 50 centers to provide a diverse range of services and supports to special education stakeholders. These centers provide technical assistance (TA) services to families, schools, districts, and States.

The Early Learning Technical Assistance Center (ECTA) focuses on assisting states to improve service systems for young children with disabilities and in scaling up and sustaining effective services and research-based interventions for infants, toddlers and preschoolers with disabilities and their families.

Please explore this page for resources from these and other federally-funded technical assistance Centers.

Go Back To OESE Resources

Please note that the materials presented concerning resources available are being provided for your convenience as a potential resource for parents, students, schools, teachers, and other educators to use during this challenging time. They were not developed by the U.S. Department of Education, and we do not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of this information. Furthermore, the inclusion of any hyperlinks and the content presented is not intended to convey their relative importance, nor is it intended to endorse any views expressed or products or services offered. The Department does not control, direct, or encourage any particular curriculum or the information related to curriculum. The use of materials or information by a school or educator is strictly a State and local matter.