February 8, 2023
VINCENNES, Ind. - As part of efforts to support inclusive learning environments for all students at any age, Vincennes University hosted special presentations by expert Jennifer Pusateri on how to minimize barriers in education and maximize learning for everyone.
Around 140 people were in attendance to learn about Universal Design for Learning (UDL) on Tuesday, February 7, 2023.
Pusateri’s Transform Your Teaching with Universal Design for Learning presentation for K-12 educators at the Red Skelton Performing Arts Center was hosted by the VU Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council in partnership with the VU Innovative Teaching Summit Team and the Vincennes Community School Corporation.
There was a presentation earlier in the day solely for VU faculty and staff that also focused on teaching methods and practices that foster accessible and inclusive learning at the university level.
VU Professor Jessie Davis, host of the presentation at the RSPAC, reiterated the value of these events.
Davis said, “There’s really nothing more relevant to educators of all walks than creating learning environments that are conducive to all learners. Capitalizing on the time we have with our diverse student populations by fostering inclusive and accessible environments is key to our effectiveness. I hope that attendees walked away with a renewed sense of empowerment to take into their classrooms."
Clark Middle School sixth-grade special education teacher Casey Butler was among the attendees at the RSPAC who represented the VU Education and Child Development programs, Vincennes Community School Corporation, North Knox School Corporation, South Knox School Corporation, Barr-Reeve Community Schools, Washington Community Schools, Pace Community Action Agency, Knox County CASA, Knox County Public Library, Southwest Dubois School Corporation, and Children and Family Services.
Butler said, “I am looking for methods to help improve the education for students. I feel like I got some practical strategies that will help me in the classroom.”
According to Assistant Superintendent Dr. Christina Lange, implementing universal design learning strategies is a robust initiative currently underway in the Vincennes Community School Corporation. So it made great sense and provided an extraordinary opportunity for the school corporation and VU to partner in bringing Pusateri to Vincennes.
Lange said, “We have Indiana Center of Teacher Quality (ICTQ) coaches in each one of our buildings at the elementary, middle, and high school levels that have gone through a yearlong training in UDL. They are learning how to coach other teachers in their building on how to implement these UDL strategies in their classrooms. This is a five-year process, and we are in Year Two. At the end of the five years, our hope is for all teachers to have been thoroughly and fully trained in UDL practices.”
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