The Florida Department of Education was selected as one of the first cohort of states to partner with the Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability and Reform (CEEDAR) Center to establish a technical assistance partnership. A State Leadership Team (SLT) was formed including a team of professionals from multiple layers of Florida’s teacher preparation system and national experts from the CEEDAR Center with the goal of analyzing current policies and practices for educating teachers and leaders and improving professional learning systems statewide. Since 2013 this group has met regularly to consider and partner with related initiatives, collaborate with other professionals in the K-12 system, and undertake efforts related to these goals.
The SLT membership includes representatives from
- The Florida Department of Education
- Bureau of Exceptional Student Education and Student Services
- Bureau of Teacher Recruitment, Development and Retention
- Bureau of Educator CErtification
- Bureau of Postsecondary Assessment
- Division of State Colleges
- Personnel Development Support Project (PDSP) at Florida State University
- Working with the Experts (WWE) at University of Florida
- State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG) at Florida Gulf Coast University
- Florida Diagnostic & Learning Resource System (FDLRS)
- Florida Institutes of Higher Education with Teacher Preparation Programs
- St. Petersburg College
- University of Central Florida
- University of West Florida
Two universities, University of Central Florida (UCF) and University of West Florida (UWF) undertook activities in collaboration with the SLT designed to enhance programs that support teacher and leader graduates in order to improve instruction in inclusive settings enabling students with disabilities to achieve college and career ready standards. Another goal of these activities was to capture the efforts and present them in such a way that they can be replicated in other institutions. Both the program improvement efforts and the methods of how they achieved success with those efforts were important. UCF and UWF both provided models of how they worked through improvements so that other similar improvement efforts can be undertaken at Institutions based on their own identified area of focus or needs specific to the institution.
• The University of Central Florida (UCF) - Model Preservice Program
The SLT goals include a performance objective to “increase the knowledge and skills of all teachers working with Students with Disabilities”. To support this objective, UCF undertook the related goal “create a model preservice program that better aligns Exceptional Student Education and General Education programs to meet additional demands without increasing program hours.”
To accomplish this objective, faculty and administrators within the elementary and exceptional student education programs at the University of Central Florida’s College of Education and Human Performance enhanced ten courses within the initial teacher preparation program in elementary education with resources, activities, and performance tasks focused on evidence-based practices, inclusion, accommodations, and universal design for learning (UDL) to meet the initial teacher competencies of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) by elementary education teacher candidates. UCF also created materials that allow other institutions to gain insight into the process to pursue similar improvements efforts. To learn how they did this, you can view this presentation.
• The University of West Florida (UWF) - Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Curriculum Enhancement Project
Another goal of the performance objective to “increase the knowledge and skills of all teachers working with Students with Disabilities” is to “increase the number of teachers who effectively implement Universal Design for Learning principles and other evidence based practices.
To accomplish this goal, UWF’s Teacher Education and Educational Leadership (TEEL) program developed the UDL Curriculum Enhancement Project which was designed to address the need to prepare all educators to teach students with disabilities. Special and general education faculty in teacher preparation programs at UWF worked in a Faculty Learning Community (FLC) to integrate UDL content coverage into teacher education programs at UWF and develop a model for collaborative curriculum review and enhancement that could be replicated in other teacher preparation programs. Teacher education faculty used a collaborative process to develop a curriculum map for UDL content integration and to enhance course content and clinical experiences to improve teacher candidates’ understanding and application of UDL concepts and strategies. An electronic UDL resource site aligned to the CEEDAR UDL Innovation Configuration was developed to provide teacher education faculty information and resources to facilitate course enhancements. In addition UDL content was integrated across the curriculum of two teacher preparation programs.
They plan to continued curriculum enhancements in additional courses in the two targeted programs and in other teacher education and educational leadership programs, continued dissemination of these efforts and to strengthen partnerships with school districts with a focus on using UDL to improve outcomes for diverse learners including students with disabilities and English language learners.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Resources
This document, created by a subcommittee of the CEEDAR State Leadership Team includes Florida state level and National level resources for the use of Universal Design for Learning in college education courses as well as K through 12 classrooms. Training teachers to use a UDL framework is of utmost importance.
FDOE Resources Related to ESE
There are many resources developed by, and on behalf of the Florida Department of Education. A subcommittee of the SLT was formed to collect and capture all of the resources relevant to the education of students with disabilities in one place. This was to meet the need of IHE faculty to remain current and relevant when instructing Florida’s future educators. These resources are now easily accessible for personal knowledge of faculty and inclusion in coursework.
This resource is designed to assist the team in identifying and monitoring the many efforts taking place in the state of Florida that have relevancy to the education of students with disabilities. Florida believes that students with disabilities are general education students first so there are many efforts to keep track of that give our team the ability to collaborate with other agencies and professionals to ensure that the needs of these students are considered in the planning and implementation stages of new or redesigned initiatives; not retrofitted after the fact. Please understand that this document is and will remain a DRAFT; as new relevant initiatives are undertaken or some are completed, this document will change and evolving. Therefore information may be added, deleted or missing at any given time. If you have any suggestions for the Initiative Map, please feel free to make them.