Schools of Excellence Award

2024 School Year Application Period is Now Closed

Applications for 2025 School Year Will Start in January 2025

Since 2008, the National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET) has annually bestowed upon qualified licensed private special education schools throughout the United States the distinction of being selected as a NASETSchool of Excellence.  Selection as a NASETSchool of Excellence is the highest honor a private special education school can achieve through our professional association.  The recognition is bestowed on private special education schools that meet rigorous professional criteria and have demonstrated truly exceptional dedication, commitment and achievement in the field of special education. (see a list of past recipients)

NASET annually completes a screening process of various private special education schools in the United States.  Upon preliminary review, certain select schools will be notified that they appear to meet the criteria as NASETSchools of Excellence.  Upon notification, the schools will need to complete an application form for verification of the information obtained by NASET.

For a list of Recipients for 2024 NASET Schools of Excellence - Click here 

The following are the 13 eligibility criteria a private special education school must meet to be a NASET School of Excellence:

I. Licensure: All NASET Schools of Excellence must be licensed by their respective State Department of Education.

II. Licensure of Professionals: All NASET Schools of Excellence employ special education professionals who are certified or licensed in their respective professions.

III.  Student Population: All NASET Schools of Excellence educate students with disabilities and or disorders.  This includes, but is not limited to, individuals diagnosed with:



Developmental Delays

Emotional Disturbance

Health Impairments

Hearing Impairments (Including Deafness)

Learning Disabilities

Intellectual Disabilities

Multiple Disabilities

Orthopedic Impairments

Speech and Language Impairments

Traumatic Brain Injury

Visual Impairments

IV.  Enrollment Size: All NASET Schools of Excellence are schools dedicated to meeting the individual and unique needs of their students.

V.  Staff/Student Ratio: All NASET Schools of Excellence have a very small Staff/Student Ratio.

VI.  Age of Students: All NASET Schools of Excellence serve a student age population, with all students being between 3 to 21 years of age.

VII.  Related Services:  All NASET Schools of Excellence provide various types of related services for their students including, but not limited to:


Cochlear Implant Services


Deaf Community Interaction

Evening Tutorial Program

Local Mainstreaming opportunities

Occupational Therapy

Physical Therapy

Psychological Services

Speech, Sign Language Services


Vocational Evaluation

VIII.  Curriculum: All NASET Schools of Excellence ensure that students receive a well rounded curriculum to meet the specific needs of each individual student with a disability.

IX.  Length of Operations: All NASET Schools of Excellence have been in existence for at least 5 or more years.

X.  Number of Months Open: All NASET Schools of Excellence are open a minimum of 10 months out of the calendar year.

XI.  Multiculturalism: All NASET Schools of Excellence seek to provide a multicultural environment.

XII.  Affiliations and Memberships: All NASET Schools of Excellence are affiliated and/or have memberships in other professional associations and organizations.

XIII.  Admissions Procedures: All NASET Schools of Excellence have a specific admissions procedure that they follow and adhere to in accepting the students in their programs.

All private special education schools that are distinguished as a NASET School of Excellence will receive a certificate of this honor.  They will also be included on our website and the website of The National Association of Parents with Children in Special Education ( as a NASET School of Excellence (If you would like an engraved plaque for parents, students, teachers, and administrators to see proudly hanging in your school, one can be ordered).

All NASET School of Excellence applications for the 2023-2024 academic year must be received by May 15, 2024.

There is an application processing fee (peer review of materials) of $250.00 required of all candidates for the NASET School of Excellence.  ***Please note that if your school is not selected as a NASET School of Excellence, the entire processing fee of $250.00 will be returned to you. Checks should be made out to NASET.

For more information, contact us at 1-800-754-4421 ext.106 or email to

If you believe your school meets the Eligibility Criteria and you would like to apply as a NASETSchool of Excellence., you may fill out the applications that are available to download at the top of this page.

To top

Past Recipients of the NASET Schools of Excellence Award


The section of the NASET website on SCHOOLS OF EXCELLENCE is designed to provide users with information about specific private special education schools that have met certain standards as determined by NASET. The information included is provided free of charge as a user convenience and is to be used for informational purposes only. Some information may represent opinion or judgment or contain inadvertent technical oversights, factual inaccuracies, or typographical errors. The information regarding all SCHOOLS OF EXCELLENCE were reported by the respective schools, State Departments of Education, and a review of the documentation submitted by the schools.  As such, NASET does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information on the NASET website. NASET will not be responsible for any errors, inaccuracies, omissions or deficiencies in the information provided on the NASET website.

This information is provided "as is" with no guarantees of completeness, non-infringement, accuracy or timeliness, and without warranties of any kind, express or implied. You therefore assume sole responsibility for all risks associated with the use of this information and further accept that NASET is in no way responsible for any consequences whatsoever to anyone arising from your use or interpretation of any information contained within or linked from or to the web site. Before making decisions based on any of the SCHOOLS OF EXCELLENCE, NASET strongly recommends that you visit the schools and ask the directors of the specific programs specific questions pertaining to your child's needs.