Summer Series: UDL

The 2021 Summer Series opens with a roundtable discussion on Universal Design for Learning. Joining Tom for this discussion are Fatima Sammy, Jackie Duncan, & Alisha Poling.


Fatima Sammy (M.Ed, MPH) is the 8th-grade science teacher and teacher leader at the Putnam Avenue Upper School in Cambridge, MA. Her teaching focuses on instructional practices and routines that enable students to develop into independent learners. She leads a Professional Learning Community (PLC) that fosters collaboration, values student’s voice, and places an emphasis on the importance of learner visibility in the classroom. Fatima also serves as an education consultant for the Diversity, Education and Outreach Office of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. In this role, she trains scientists to engage with students and collaborates on an out-of-school-time interactive bio-coding curriculum.


Jackie Duncan (M.A.) is the UDL district coordinator, is a high school English teacher within Shelby City Schools in Shelby, OH. Jackie has a non-traditional path into education that started with a tour in the United States Marine Corps, law enforcement, and a few other endeavors before she finally set her sights on earning her teaching degree. She has been teaching for the better part of the past decade and was introduced to UDL practices fairly early on in her practice. UDL’s focus on breaking traditional norms within education and creating multiple pathways to learning was the perfect pairing to her own philosophy of education. She has recently completed her graduate certificate from the University of Pennsylvania Literacy Network in UDL.


Alisha Poling (B.S., M.Ed., M.A.S.E) is a Special Education Teacher and 504 Monitor at Mark Twain Elementary in Kirkland, WA. Alisha has taught in both self-contained and resource room programs and was introduced to UDL by education consultant, Dr. Cassie Martin who is affiliated with the University of WA Haring Center. Prior to teaching in WA, she taught art for 5 years and special education for 1 year in TN. She has worked in several districts and schools and believes that leadership is the key to making systemic changes in education. However, she believes that teachers who are trained in UDL can make THE difference in kids’ lives when the paradigm shift occurs. Currently, the school that Alisha works at (Mark Twain Elementary) is collaborating with the University of WA Haring Center and the TIES center as a model school for inclusionary practices. 


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