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Partnerships

Sad News:

 

The UDL Mathematics teachers from both the Duffy Elementary and MacKinnon Middle Schools were disappointed to find out that our partner school, Sacred Heart Elementary, will be closing its doors in June 2009. It has been our pleasure working not only with Sacred Heart, but particularly with Gail Miller.

Sacred Heart Partnership:
With the recent closing of the St. Mary's School in Wharton the Inclusive Practice Team formed an alliance with the Sacred Heart Elementary School for the purpose of disseminating the principles of the Universal Design for Learning model.  In partnership with the UDL mathematics teachers from the Duffy Elementary School and the MacKinnon Middle School, Sacred Heart Mathematics teacher, Gail Miller will participate in mentoring sessions and workshops designed to increase teacher understanding of UDL as it relates to mathematics education.  Sacred Heart Principal, Sister Dominica lends her continued support to this professional development opportunity.  We look forward to a successful and productive partnership experience for all.

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UDL Providers:
Guidelines of the INCLUDE grant require a number of partnerships between participating school districts and institutions offering professional development oportunities.  In an effort to ensure that the principles of the Universal Design for Learning become established in districts throughout New Jersey,  a number of state affiliated Educational Technology Training Centers (ETTC's) participated in intensive training offered by the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) on UDL design during the Summer of 2007. 
 
Because the Morris County ETTC was unable to participate in the state sponsored UDL training of 2007, the Wharton School District is enjoying a UDL partnership with certified trainers from Hudson County ETTC.  Our ETTC trainers, Jacki DiGregorio and Mary Denver, have provided a number of professional learning opportunities related to principles supporting UDL design; including differentiated instruction,  assistive technology, principles of problem based learning, and alternative assessment techniques.  Ongoing workshops and mentoring sessions are planned for Phase II of INCLUDE.

Evaluation:

An evaluation plan is created each year for determining if the grantee has successfully completed the goals, objectives and activities indicated in the approved application. The state grants department requires all participating INCLUDE districts to use uniform evaluation plans, therefore, we along with several other INCLUDE districts have contracted with Branch Associates of Philadelphia, as our outside evaluator.  Branch Associates provides research, evaluation and technical assistance services and supports for nonprofit organizations, foundations, government agencies and private sector organizations.  In its work, Branch Associates combines the rigor of social science research and the savvy of experienced program evaluators and technical assistance providers in order to provide clients with rigorous assessments of program effectiveness, and the factors contributing to it.

IHE Partnership - Centenary College:
Another partnership required by the guidlines of the INCLUDE grant involves ongoing professional development in the area of math pedagogy as it relates to mathematics education within the UDL classrooms.  With regard to this requirement the Wharton IPT team has partnered with Centenary College as our IHE (Institute of Higher Education).  Throughout the initial phase of INCLUDE the teachers from the Inclusive Practice Team participated in a number of professional development offerings facilitated by professors from Centenary College's Department of Educational Studies.  These mentoring and workshop experiences centered around developing skills in differentiated math instruction, improving teachers' concepts of math pedagogy, employing assistive technolgies to improve math instruction and assessing district math curriculum and text books with regard to its alignment with New Jersey Core Curricular Content Standards for Math.
 
Phase II plans for the participating teachers include an after school math study group facilitated by Centenary mathematics education professor, Dr. Simon Saba, as well as, continued onsite mentoring for UDL math teachers and their administrators.  Based upon the highly beneficial professional development experiences throughout  Phase I, the Inclusive Practices Team anticipates continued success in its partnership with Centenary College throughout the remaining phases of the grant.