For the past few years, George Van Horn, Special Education Director at the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation (BCSC) in Colombus, Indiana and current Indiana CEC President has implemented a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework across the district. As a result, BCSC has lowered its number of students eligible for special education, eliminated many discipline issues and seen student achievement gains. This week, U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), highlighted the district’s accomplishments during a hearing in before the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in the Senate.
The Senate hearing, entitled The Promise of Accessible Technology: Challenges and Opportunities, featured four speakers, including the Superintendent of BCSC, Dr. John Quick. Dr. Quick explained that UDL is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn. Dr. Quick described how the district worked for years to implement UDL and how it incorporated technology into its student’s lives. He discussed the importance of student engagement and project-centered learning.
Moreover, he emphasized the point that although UDL specifically benefits students with disabilities, it benefits all students in the district and is used to help everyone better access knowledge and demonstrate learning growth. Training for professionals working in the schools is essential and in BCBS all teachers undergo a three day UDL workshop at the beginning of the year to ensure they can fully integrate UDL throughout their practice.
The gains the district has seen are real and continuing. CEC applauds George Van Horn, Dr. Quick and BCSC on their hard work and success with students. This is just another example of CEC members making a difference.
To read more about UDL, click here. http://www.cast.org/udl/
To purchase a CEC product about UDL, click here.
To attend a session on UDL at this year’s CEC Convention or just see the offerings, click here.
To view the whole hearing, click here.