Last week at the UDL Seminar hosted by the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and CAST, Adam Deleidi, from Revere Public Schools, shared the process his school went through to fully implement UDL. His experience may help you to implement UDL in your own school.
Step 1: Educate
The first goal was to educate as many teachers as possible in the UDL framework. UDL is not an initiative and it’s not something else to do. It lives in every decision you make, and will affect your learning environments on every level. Even though many teachers already use some of the UDL Guidelines, implementation of the framework requires knowledge of the brain research, the scientific validity, and the connection between implementation and increased achievement for all students. In short, UDL is a change in the way to think and to do this, all educators need to learn about it. To educate his teachers, a team from Deleidi’s school attended a week-long UDL Institute.
Step 2: Form a Leadership Team
After a cohort was educated in UDL, they formed a UDL Leadership team. That team was responsible for planning the roll-out at the school level, so they received additional training throughout the year in a UDL Academy, hosted by CAST. That UDL team continues to come together in Revere to design professional development for their teachers in UDL.
Step 3: Continued Professional Development
Deleidi started with words of wisdom, “Start simple.” Begin PD by introducing the UDL principles and then transition to applications to lesson planning as these are the most practical applications for teachers. Different schools may focus on different pieces, but in Revere, they focused on writing objectives, how to add enhancements to lessons during the planning process, and how to induct all new faculty into the UDL mindset. This teacher-led PD was designed and implemented by the UDL team to increase buy-in and authenticity.
Step 4: Celebrate
After the first year, the school hosted a UDL Showcase at a principal’s meeting. Groups of content area teachers formed PLCs, participated in a book study, and then planned and implemented a 15 minute mini-lesson, in their content area, that incorporated all the information they’ve learned about UDL. All staff members had the opportunity to experience UDL as a student and celebrate each other’s success and the new school wide philosophy.