University of Vermont

The Center on Disability and Community Inclusion (CDCI)

BEST: Building Effective Support For Teaching Students With Behavioral Challenges

A Running PersonBEST/MTSS Summer Institute 2017

Strand J

Three Peas in a Pod: MTSS, Differentiated Instruction (DI), and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Together in the Classroom

Michael McSheehan, Dawn Miller, and Loui Lord Nelson


Each day, teachers are challenged to align multiple systems, provide quality instruction, assess student knowledge, and use those subsequent data to improve their instruction. While each system brings strength to this cycle, instruction on each system is typically delivered in isolation of the others. In addition, further growth in knowledge and application is usually reliant upon training rather than coaching.

This strand will demonstrate the overlap and positive integration of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), Differentiated Instruction (DI), and the use of data systems to improve instruction. Emphasis will be placed on the practices that would occur in classrooms, as well as how administrators, support personnel, and instructional coaching can be used as part of a support system for implementation. Tools designed using implementation science will provide participants a way to investigate their understanding and application of these systems in order to plan for the successful implementation of key practices. Participants will also have the opportunity to utilize briefs written specifically for families and community members as a way to design the outreach to and ultimate involvement of these individuals.

Specifically, participants will:
  • Increase their understanding of the context of a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS), making connections across VT MTSS & SWIFT frameworks
  • Increase their understanding of and skills with Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Differentiated Instructino (DI), using data systems
  • Increase their understanding of how UDL and DI improve outcomes for all students, particularly students from poverty and students with academic and/or social/emotional/behavioral challenges.
  • Increase their understanding of and skills with tools to enhance parent/family engagement within MTSS
  • Increase their understanding of and skills with instructional coaching to support these practices
  • Increase their understanding of and skills with planning using the implementation science to set teams up for effective implementation

Who Should Attend:

Anyone is welcome!


Making Sense of Universal Design for Learning

Between June 20th – 27th go to and enter code 3614 to share your level of action with the UDL framework.

Giangreco, M. F. & Suter, J. C. (2015). Precarious or purposeful? Proactively building inclusive special education service delivery on solid ground. Inclusion, V.3 #3. 112-133.

Dweck, C. (2010). Mind-Sets and Equitable Education. Principal Leadership, NASSP.


Hello Three Peas Participants!


This DropBox link will connect you with a shared folder that includes materials for our strand, Strand J: Three Peas in a Pod.


Materials are numbered by day to help you locate things.


We will continue to add to the dropbox throughout the week.


Michael McSheehanMichael McSheehan serves as the Coordinator of Technical Assistance for the School-wide Integrated Framework for Transformation (SWIFT) Center and is on faculty with the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire. Prior to working with the SWIFT Center, Michael led a variety of state and federally funded initiatives to advance research, policy, and practice in inclusive education, alternate assessment, collaborative teaming, and Response to Intervention (RtI). For example, he was a developer, researcher, and co-author of The Beyond Access Model, an intensive supports planning model for teams working with students with significant disabilities. Michael also helped lead a five-year, state-wide project to develop and implement a Response-to-Intervention model for academic and behavioral supports with seven elementary schools and five school districts in New Hampshire.

Dr. Dawn MillerDr. Dawn Miller currently serves as a member of the SWIFT Center at the University of Kansas. Prior to joining the SWIFT Center, Dawn served as the Innovative Project Facilitator for the Shawnee Mission School District. In this role, Dawn was a district team member leading planning, staff development, implementation, and evaluation for MTSS efforts around integrated academic and behavior supports. Prior to joining Shawnee Mission, Dawn served as a project director for statewide implementation of the problem-solving process and developing a tiered system of support for literacy. As part of the statewide efforts, Dawn was involved with a statewide committee which led state regulation changes regarding child find and eligibility and has helped to translate these changes into district procedural changes linked to the School Improvement Process. Dawn has applied her skills to work as a special education teacher, a school psychologist, adjunct faculty member for administrative programs in Kansas, and district and building consultant/trainer. She has authored or coauthored published work regarding implementation and sustainability issues with MTSS, use of a problem-solving process, assessing written language, and family communication and involvement.

Loui Lord NelsonLoui Lord Nelson, Ph.D., is the UDL Specialist for the School Wide Integrated Framework for Transformation (SWIFT) Center. She is also an educational consultant whose work focuses on Universal Design for Learning. A former special education teacher, she is a member of CAST's cadre, has been an invited facilitator at the Harvard UDL Institute, provides guidance in UDL to schools, districts, state personnel, and universities across the globe, and is the author of the top selling book, Design and Deliver: Planning and Teaching Using Universal Design for Learning.

Last modified June 26 2017 08:29 AM

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