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CAST, University of Kansas to Build Scalable UDL Coaching Model

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs logo

Thursday, December 3, 2020

CAST, in collaboration with the University of Kansas (KU), has won a 4-year, $1.6 million grant from the US Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs to develop a sustainable coaching model that supports systemic implementation of Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

By deploying implementation science to support teachers in using more evidence-based and high-leverage instructional practices, Project COOL (COaching On Learning for UDL Implementation) will improve outcomes for students with disabilities and other high-needs learners in academic, functional, developmental, and behavioral realms.

CAST and KU will co-design coaching and professional learning resources including micro-credentials that support the implementation of UDL, coaching, evidence-based, and high leverage practices to reach all learners. The COOL team will also provide professional learning communities for coaches and educators to work and learn together.

The coaching materials, instructional supports, and micro-credentials will be housed in Learning Designed—a state-of-the-art online platform that offers educators personalized professional learning experiences within a robust community of support.

The Project COOL team will work with district instructional coaches and educators to test the program’s effectiveness and make adjustments to the design as the evidence warrants.

“Leaning on evidence-based practices and high-leverage practices, we intend to create a sustainable model for scaling up Universal Design for Learning,” says Principal Investigator James Basham, PhD, who holds a joint appointment as CAST’s Senior Director of Learning & Innovation and a Professor of Special Education at KU. “Teachers will benefit as they get closer to their goal of reaching all students. Students will benefit from more flexible learning environments that recognize that learners are variable and there are many paths to mastery.”

About CAST — Founded in 1984, CAST is a nonprofit whose mission is to transform education design and practice “until learning has no limits”®.  Winner of the Smithsonian Innovation in Education award and many other honors, CAST conducts research and development, provides technical assistance and professional development, and publishes exceptional media for the education market. CAST authored the renowned Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework and UDL Guidelines.

About the University of KansasKU is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. The university's mission is to lift students and society by educating leaders, building healthy communities, and making discoveries that change the world.

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