Thea Durling lives and teaches in North-Central Massachusetts. She has been teaching math (grades 7 and 8) and English as a Second Language for over 17 years in the Commonwealth and abroad. She has an M.Ed. in Multicultural/ESL/Bilingual Education and a second M.Ed. in Math (5-8) and she holds teaching licenses in math (5-8, 8-12), ELL (5-12), and Moderate Disabilities (5-12).
Thea was introduced to Universal Design for Learning (UDL) by her assistant superintendent and UDL consultant, Dr. Katie Novak. Thea took her first course with Dr. Novak in the fall of 2015 and began working as a graduate assistant and instructor for Dr. Novak in August 2016. Since then, Thea has taught the following courses:
- Co-teacher (with Danielle Patenaude, UDL coach and Literacy Coach): Universally-Designed Project-Based Learning; summer 2019
- Co-Teacher (with Dr. Novak): UDL Design Lab (online graduate course); 2018-2019
- Instructor (as a private consultant): UDL 101 (online graduate course); summer 2018
- Co-Teacher (with Julie Spang, Instructional Technology Coach): Enhancing your UDL Practice with Technology (hybrid graduate course); summer 2018
- Instructor: UDL in-service (in-district professional development); 2018
- Instructor: UDL 101/UDL 102 (online courses for in-district professional development); 2017
- Graduate Assistant/Coach (with Dr. Novak): Scaling and Optimizing UDL Implementation; 2017
- Facilitator/Coach: UDL Working Group (in-service); 2016-2017 school year
- Graduate Assistant/Coach (with Dr. Novak): Universal Design for Learning (in-district Professional Development); summer 2016
In addition, Thea has presented on UDL at the Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference (2017, 2018) and at the MassCUE Fall Conference (2017, 2018). In July 2018, she gave the closing plenary address, “Snapshot of a UDL Journey,” at the UDL Rocks! Conference hosted by Groton-Dunstable Regional School District. She worked with the Massachusetts Department of Education to set the standards for the 7th and 8th grade MCAS and returned in August 2019 to repeat the work with the 10th grade MCAS scores, including participating in the Validation process for Competency Determination.
In the 2019-20120 school year, Thea will be working as an OPTIC Content Fellow for the Center for Instructional Support with the Massachusetts Department of Education, in addition to her usual work. She opened her classroom for observation during the UDL Symposium in October 2019. She will also be co-presenting with Sarah Jordan, Ph. D., on “Using Technology to Strengthen ELL Instruction through UDL” on December 4, 2019, at the Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference.
Thea works as a private consultant in Universal Design for Learning and has served as the co-chair of the district committee on MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Support) since its inception. She is a Level One certified Responsive Classroom teacher. Thea also works for Worcester Polytechnic Institute creating online content for the What Works Clearinghouse-reviewed ASSISTments program, focusing on Eureka Math, grades 6-8, and is a registered Professional Development provider for the state of Massachusetts.
Thea is frequently joined by some of her four cats who insist on “helping” as often as possible.