Friday, December 18, 2020
When we went into lockdown last March, I wrote the first of what became 39 TGIF notes to my CAST colleagues—and counting. I challenged all of us to imagine a way to turn this crisis into something positive. Disruption is a powerful force for innovation, and CAST has innovation in its DNA.
Like you, we really did feel that every week was a new milestone culminating in those TGIF moments on Friday afternoons.
And now, as 2020 comes to a close, we look back in amazement and with pride in all that we have accomplished and learned this year.
We provided a rapid response to help partner schools, districts, and states make accessibility and universal design for learning a priority in their pandemic plans.
We pivoted to online institutes and conferences so our professional learning support for the field could continue uninterrupted.
Our National AEM Center provided regular webinars, online resources, and consultation to support accessibility challenges.
We increased and strengthened our efforts to bring UDL innovations to work-based learning pathways and career education, including apprenticeship programs, in Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and nationwide through the National Science Foundation.
We successfully competed to partner with the state of California on a major new literacy initiative.
We embarked on new work to bring multigenerational STEM learning to a public housing community with the goal of creating a scalable model.
We continued and expanded our multiyear, professional learning (PL) support for educators in the state of New Hampshire—including the pilot of a virtual PL model for teachers in remote areas.
We shone a light on systemic racism and inequity in our annual themed symposium, published Antiracism and Universal Design for Learning, and launched an initiative to update our UDL Guidelines in ways that place equity front and center.
We urged Congress and the USDOE to honor their commitment to protect students with disabilities.
CAST’s mission is to transform education design and practice until learning has no limits. We don’t know what 2021 will bring, but CAST will be ready.
As you consider year-end gifts, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to CAST, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Your gift will help us continue to empower learners and educators in these challenging times as we envision the classroom of the future. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.
Happy Holidays and Goodbye 2020!
Linda Gerstle, CAST CEO