Ed Reformer: Nakita Packer

Unleashing Potential: How Nakita Packer is Revolutionizing Special Education in DC

By Minetre Martin, DFER D.C.

Meet Nakita Henderson Packer, a driving force at Bridges Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. Nakita’s decision to become an Education Reform Champion was driven by her belief in the transformative power of inclusive education. She has redefined special education with the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework. Promoting diverse student engagement, her UDL-guided program has driven an impressive 9.1% rise in PARCC test scores, even during the global pandemic.

Nakita’s success has been evident in many of her students’ successful transition from a special education class setting into a general classroom setting. Bridges PCS was acknowledged for Nakita’s work with the Bold Performance School Award, solidifying their innovative influence in special education. The significance of this award is best described by a statement from EmpowerK12:

“This year’s Bold Performance Schools have 2022 PARCC proficiency rates that were an average of 9.1 percentage points better than other Bold-eligible schools, and their 2022 PARCC 4+ proficiency rates were 2.6 percentage points better than the pre-pandemic average for schools serving similar demographics.”

Now, thanks to her tireless training and mentorship, her colleagues at Bridges PCS have embraced the UDL framework as well.

Her strides haven’t just captured local attention. In 2022, Nakita and Bridges PCS were invited to participate at the prestigious Elevate Conference, a premier professional development event for Pre-K – 2nd Grade Educators. They shared their success with the UDL framework, further extending their influence and sharing their innovative approach with educators from across the country.

Outside her professional life, Nakita balances passion and personal time, reminding us that harmony in life is achievable. Nakita’s work is a testament to the transformative power of inclusive education, setting a new standard for special education.