The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and BetterLesson supported a cohort of experienced educators to create resources for diverse learners, especially students with disabilities and English learners
On this National Teacher Appreciation Day, BetterLesson and The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation celebrate the tremendous work that teachers do every day to meet the needs of all their students and to continuously grow in their practice. They announce the publication of nearly 50 strategies, tools, and resources created by experienced educators to differentiate instruction based on the Universal Design for Learning Guidelines (UDL). This approach supports all students’ diverse learning needs, especially students with disabilities and English learners.
As a part of their “Master Teacher Project” model, BetterLesson selected 12 teachers based in and around Kansas City who had proven experience working with diverse learning needs. These educators participated in Professional Learning Communities, received regular coaching, and each created several robust instructional strategies containing real-world examples, videos, and applications to distance and hybrid learning.
“Our Master Teachers show us that educators are eager to improve their craft and share their best practices – at any stage in their careers,” said Valerie Librizzi, Senior Manager of Instructional Content at BetterLesson. “With support from the Kauffman Foundation, we’re able to make these robust resources available so that all teachers can deepen their practice and create inclusive, responsive classrooms where all students can thrive.”
The strategies in the “Meeting the Needs of All Learners” project are designed for K-12 educators, and cover a variety of topics, from content-specific strategy ideas (math, literacy, science, and more), to assessment, class culture, building relationships, and family engagement. (Explore all strategies here, and view a video on select strategies here)
Educators in this Master Teacher Project come from eight school systems, including: Kansas City Public Schools (Missouri), Kansas City Kansas Public Schools, Shawnee Mission School District, Hickman Mills C-1 School District, Brookside Charter Schools, DeLaSalle Education Center, Kansas City International Academy, and Crossroads Charter Schools.
Three of those teachers shared why this initiative felt different and important:
Cara Kearney, Shawnee Mission School District, Shawnee Mission, KS: “The leadership I’ve seen modeled and the leadership strategies that I’ve learned throughout this process will be really beneficial for me in the future in how I want to help other teachers improve and be the best that they can be.”
A.J. Culey, Shawnee Mission School District, Shawnee Mission, KS: “One of the great components of this project was being paired with a mentor coach who met with us on a biweekly basis to talk through the next steps – someone I could bounce ideas off to talk through the strategies as they were being developed.”
Julian Johnston-Marshall, DeLaSalle Education Center, Kansas City, MO: “The strategy I created, Chop and Sample, is one that I use in the classroom frequently. It really helps students and teachers learn together and grow together, to deep dive into a text and have really meaningful conversations.”
BetterLesson and the Kauffman Foundation honor all school districts that appreciate teachers by lifting up their expertise and providing professional development and resources to them throughout their careers.