Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
Universal design for learning (UDL) is an evidenced-based educational practice founded upon principles of universal design, brain research, and instructional design research. It specifically addresses curriculum development, which includes the curriculum goals, instructional approach and strategies, materials and resources, and assessment.
UDL in itself is not a required practice in public schools, but is presented as a recommended practice under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 2004). The IDEA allows state education agencies to utilize portions of the IDEA funding to develop instructional materials and assessments that incorporate universal design principles (USC 20 1400 § 674(b)2) and to develop the knowledge and skills of personnel (USC 20 1400 § 662(c)2) in the use of UDL as an instructional practice. The IDEA also provided for further research of the benefits of implementing universal design principles in the design of curriculum, instruction, and assessment (USC 20 1400 § 681(d)6) through the development of the Special Education Research Center(USC 20 1400 § 177(a)12).
When UDL principles are incorporated into the initial design of curriculum, instruction and assessment with forethought in the design process, school districts proactively address the requirement to provide students with disability-accessible instructional materials (AIM). AIM is required under both federal (34 CFR § 300.172 § 300.210) and state (TAC § 66.121) regulations.
What We Do
The Katy ISD Office of Special Education Services, in collaboration with Technology, provides a growing list of universal resources and materials that all campus teams can access.
All students and teachers have access to Office 365 at home or at school. Digital content is a means to provide multiple means of representation, multiple means of action and expression, and multiple means of engagement, particularly with text-rich instructional content. Additional tools include the Natural Reader, which is free and available at home/school. Katy ISD is committed to including additional tools as we grow in this area.
School personnel may access introductory professional development on Universal Design for Learning and district wide resources to implement the UDL principles in instruction through the K drive. Professional development is also available through the 'Summer Blitz' and upon request through the Office of Special Education Services.