A person running BEST/MTSS Summer Institute 2015

Strand N

Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Melissa Storm Edmiston


Implementation of UDL is crucial for improving school climate.  UDL promotes accepting and addressing the diverse learning and behavioral needs of students, and through implementation schools and districts can move towards a more inclusive school climate and one in which all students have their needs met and feel valued.  The UDL strand at the BEST/MTSS summer institute will introduce participants to UDL and provide tools and resources to begin implementing UDL in the classroom.  The strand will open with an overview of UDL and the brain research that supports UDL implementation.  We will address the connections between UDL and the Common Core State Standards(CCSS) and an MTSS framework.  The bulk of time in this strand will be spent creating a personalized UDL plan for the classroom or school and, in doing so, investigating UDL strategies and approaches to assessment. 

Throughout the strand, participants will engage with technology, including planning tools and resources for implementation.  Participants will also examine and reflect upon examples of UDL in action as they plan implementation for their own schools and districts.


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Melissa Storm Edmiston, Ph.D.Melissa Storm Edmiston, Ph.D, a principal researcher in AIR’s Education Program

Dr. Edmiston has over 20 years of experience in education, training, technical assistance and evaluation work related to students with disabilities. Dr. Edmiston has expertise in universal design for learning (UDL), instructional strategies, and providing students with disabilities access to the general education classroom. She currently leads the Vermont Universal Design for Learning Professional Development project and the Vermont Mathematics Professional Development project, providing TA and training to administrators, teachers, and coaches in Vermont on topics related to UDL, mathematics, and access. 

Dr. Edmiston also serves as co-project director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) IDEA Analysis, Communication, Dissemination, and Meetings Support Contract. In this role, she oversees a team to coordinate policy requests, evaluations, national workgroups, and meetings for OSEP, as well as to develop communications projects for dissemination. Dr. Edmiston’s previous TA and training work at AIR includes serving as TA lead for OSEP funded centers including the National Center on Intensive Interventions and the Access Center: Improving Outcomes for All students K-8 where she coordinated efforts for three regions and served on the knowledge development and dissemination team, designing and delivering direct trainings and train-the-trainer sessions.