UDL MODEL SITE VISITS
Prettyboy Elementary and Halstead Academy, Baltimore County Public Schools
Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) were first introduced to UDL at the awareness level for almost fifteen years ago. According to the Chief of Organization Effectiveness, Billy Burke, the district was “stuck” in awareness until five years ago, when they engaged in targeted UDL work at the district level and in several schools through a professional learning community model. See more about BCPS’ journey here: http://www.udlcenter.org/implementation/fourdistricts/baltimore In addition, BCPS’ primary focus is on STAT, or “Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow.” At the heart of the STAT framework is the learner-centered environment, which exemplifies UDL in practice. Each school has a STAT teacher who provides professional learning to teachers. STAT teachers have all been trained in UDL. Both Prettyboy Elementary and Halstead Academy are models of UDL in practice. Each school has a PLC dedicated to UDL and a principal who is a leader in implementation.
Prettyboy Elementary is one of the highest performing schools in the district. The principal, Nicole Norris, lead the UDL implementation work at Lansdowne Middle for the past four years. In her first year at Prettyboy, she worked to make the school a model of UDL implementation through small group instruction and project-based learning. Halstead Academy, a Title 1 school, was considered a failing school five years ago. In the past 5 years, under the leadership of Principal Jen Mullenax, Halstead has closed the achievement gap, improved test scores, and parent involvement is at an all-time high. Halstead Academy now serves as a Lighthouse School for the school system, allowing teachers from across the county (107 elementary schools) to come to Halstead and observe model student-centered instruction focusing on UDL. In addition, Halstead is a Professional Development Learning Center that has partnered with Towson University to help recreate the university’s teacher prep program.
Both Prettyboy and Halstead have hosted UDL observations for other school staff and district leaders. Staff members have presented on UDL at the district, state and national levels. Come see how their journey toward UDL implementation has allowed students to take more responsibility for their learning, increased student-centered learning environments, and changed teacher mindsets and beliefs in how their practices motivate and captivate even their toughest students.