A person running BEST/MTSS Summer Institute 2015

Strand N

Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Amanda Duffy & Kathryn Balestreri


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.


Check back after May 1



Amanda DuffyAmanda Duffy, M.A. is an Education Researcher at American Institutes for Research and has over 10 years of experience in teaching, training, and technical assistance.  Ms. Duffy is a Reading Specialist and has expertise in teacher training, curriculum design, and standards-based instruction.  She provides training and technical assistance to a variety of stakeholders, including Adult Education state directors and teachers through face-to-face training, webinars, coaching, and professional learning communities.  Ms. Duffy earned a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from George Washington University.

Kathryn BalestreriKathryn Balestreri is an Education Research Associate at American Institutes for Research, and works across various projects to support federal initiatives and state agencies of education. Prior to joining AIR, she spent a Fulbright year abroad assisting the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala to implement and deliver a micro-scholarship program providing English language opportunities to disadvantaged youth. Balestreri’s passion for education stems from her experiences as an ESL instructor. She earned a bachelor’s degree in social policy from the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University.