So you want to UDL?
Sanger Unified is committed to the vision that “All students will have the options to demonstrate what they learn and the opportunities to be successful and achieve their dreams!” Universal Design for learning is a framework and lens that supports our vision. Bringing UDL to a place in which teachers are creating the buzz and drive behind implementation has been a powerful result of thoughtful and intentional design. The intention behind our efforts of scaling out UDL was not to create a top down new initiative that teachers and leaders would implement out of compliance and only while monitored, it was to create and foster a mindset of accessibility~“that what is necessary for a few is really great for all!”
The roll-out was a two-prong approach. One prong was designed to engage teachers in learning while doing, playing and creating, and following the process and lead of the teachers and their students. We created this by opening up the opportunity for grade level PLCs throughout the district that were interested in playing with the UDL Principles and guidelines.
Working with these initial 8 pilots, we met throughout the year as a PLC team. Between PLC meetings, we would meet with individual PLCs to support and answer questions specific to their needs. During this time PLCs were encourage to select a Principal they were interested in exploring and guidelines they wanted to work at implementing. The process and implementation were non-evaluative PLC teams were encouraged to take risks, learn from failure or mis-steps, and share transparently the successes and pitfalls of working within the UDL lens or frame works. We were intentional in creating an atmosphere and culture of trust within the Pilot PLC so learning was free to occur.
The second prong was to engage the site leadership in the process. This involved front loading information and an understanding of UDL through District Principal PLC’s, Administrative Retreats, and other informal opportunities to discuss UDL and status of the pilots, as well as training side-by-side with their Pilot PLCs. This allowed Principals to share in the learning process yet also to share a collective understanding of UDL and how it was being implemented through across the district.
Sanger’s UDL roll-out has been thoughtful and intentional by design. UDL is being introduced through Curriculum and Instruction to emphasise it’s a best practice and is for ALL students. The selection of a small pilot group was designed to allow for nurturing of the implementation practice and support for the pilots, as well as, create a safe PLC in which participants would share the ups and challenges of designing and implementing UDL. Our success in creating a mindshift is indicated by the number of new PLCs wanting to become pilots and the interest other staff members are having in learning more about UDL!
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Sanger unified school district
Curriculum & Instruction department