Skip to main content

CAST Takes Center Stage at the White House

Monday, May 20, 2024


Photo of four people smiling and dressed in professional attire, standing in front of three banners spelling out UDL.
In honor of CAST’s 40th anniversary, we convened in Washington, DC, to celebrate four decades of pioneering innovation in education and Universal Design for Learning. Together with the United States Department of Education, we advocated for the future of learners and educators, striving towards a vision where learning knows no limits.

White House Round Table

Photo of a diverse group of adults in professional attire smiling. A young girl in a white headscarf and dress stands in the middle of the adults smiling as well.

After introductions were made by CAST Board Chair Shelley Berman, Board Members LaRon Scott and Trey Vasquez shared research on Artificial Intelligence in accessible education, and the importance of UDL in creating a brighter future for learners. The research identifies UDL implementation as an important factor in promoting student growth, improving test scores, and higher rates of inclusion.

“Accessibility saved my life and UDL transformed it,” stated CAST employee Luis Pérez while sharing his journey. “We’ve made a lot of progress, but there’s still a lot of work to do. And that’s why I work at CAST. No matter the path your life takes, we’re here to provide the support to make your life successful.”

Photo of CAST disability expert Luis Perez speaking with teacher Brandon Woodland in a conference room at the White House

The event also featured Meagan Alderton, Director of Education Innovation and Improvement at the DC Special Education Cooperative. Alderton emphasized the crucial role of UDL in promoting student agency and racial equity. "When we talk about racial equity and students with disabilities, one of the things we need to do is to make sure our students feel empowered to take control of their learning. And UDL does that," she shared, reinforcing UDL's role in creating inclusive and empowering learning environments.

Teachers Brandon Woodland and Nakita Henderson-Packer from Bridges Public Charter School brought the discussion back to the classroom, sharing their passion for infusing joy into learning through UDL. Their stories highlighted how UDL transforms the educational experience, making learning engaging and accessible for all students.

Photo of a diverse group of people in professional attire smiling and seated at a long table, sitting among adults is one child in a white headscarf.

The event's highlight was the testimony of 9-year-old fourth grader Sidra Hassen, who spoke about how her teachers support her learning through diverse instructional materials, multimedia resources, and inclusive spaces. Her vibrant account brought to life the positive impact of UDL, showing how it nurtures and enhances the educational journey of young learners.

As CAST reflects on 40 years of innovation and advocacy, this celebration at the White House serves as both a milestone and a motivation. It is a testament to the enduring vision that began in a humble pizza parlor and a commitment to a future where learning has no limits. CAST's journey from that initial meeting to influencing national policy highlights the power of dedicated individuals to effect profound change. The celebration underscored the importance of continuing to advocate for UDL, ensuring that every learner has the opportunity to succeed.

In the years to come, CAST will continue to push the boundaries of education, driven by the same spirit of innovation and inclusion that defined its inception. The future holds promise for even more significant advancements in educational accessibility, as CAST remains steadfast in its mission to make learning limitless for all.

UDL Policy Award

Photo of Senator Hassan holding the UDL Policy Award, next to CAST CEO Lindsay Jones in a White House office

CAST CEO, Lindsay Jones, presented the inaugural UDL Policy Award to Senator Hassan for her continued work and advocacy to include UDL in education policy.

Thank you, Senator Hassan!

Top of Page