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CAST to Continue Efforts to Improve School Technology Systems for Students with Disabilities

Logo for the Center on Inclusive Technology and Education Systems (CITES)

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

CAST’s Center on Inclusive Technology and Education Systems (CITES) will continue to support the nation’s need to improve the effective use of technology for students with disabilities and their families, with the support of a second round of funding from the U.S.  Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. The $3.5 million will be used over the next five years.  

The CITES framework of evidence-based practices will continue to provide local education agency (LEA) teams with the resources to establish inclusive technology practices via collaboration across education technology, information technology and assistive technology programs to enhance the use of technology to support all students’ success. CITES 2.0 will extend the existing Center’s work to provide state-aligned, intensive technical assistance support to four LEAs within two states (two LEAs in each state) and via targeted technical assistance to a minimum of six additional LEAs. As a part of this work, CITES will leverage Active Implementation Frameworks (AIF) to align with sustained and scalable systems change tools to ensure alignment with state-adopted frameworks, such as Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), as well as state accountability systems. The CITES framework will continue to be refined through an updated literature review, landscape scan, and knowledge development with state and LEA teams. 

The CITES team will continue to offer learning and networking opportunities, including an engaged community of practice, for any team or individual looking to create a more inclusive technology ecosystem in their school or district. All resources are openly licensed and readily available so that leaders may leverage the content to best meet their district’s individual needs.  

“By 2028, CITES will provide LEAs around the country with tools to develop more efficient and effective technology services—breaking through the educational silos that often hamper the delivery of those services to students with disabilities,” stated Tara Courchaine, EdD, CAST’s Chief Research and Development Officer.  

To achieve this, CAST will partner with a variety of premier organizations across the country, including the Parent Training and Information Centers, the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), Project Tomorrow and the Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance. 

“Accessibility does not just affect some students,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. “In the digital age, all school systems must address seamless, equitable access to digital tools and resources head-on so that all learners, including those with disabilities, have personalized access to assistive technology tools and accessible resources. CoSN is delighted to continue its partnership with CITES at CAST." 

Learn more about the CITES project.

About CAST 

Founded in 1984, CAST is a nonprofit whose mission is to lead, inspire, and convene a global community to design equitable, inclusive learning experiences through our Universal Design for Learning framework. Winner of the Smithsonian Innovation in Education award and many other honors, CAST conducts research and development, provides technical assistance and professional learning, and publishes exceptional media for the education market. CAST authored the renowned Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework and UDL Guidelines. 

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