Connected Nation

The partnership that's helping create a more inclusive and effective educational system in the US

November 09, 2022 Jessica Denson Season 3 Episode 21
The partnership that's helping create a more inclusive and effective educational system in the US
Connected Nation
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Connected Nation
The partnership that's helping create a more inclusive and effective educational system in the US
Nov 09, 2022 Season 3 Episode 21
Jessica Denson

On this episode of Connected Nation,  we talk with those behind a powerful new partnership aimed at helping school districts remove barriers to the use of technology within special education.
We ask how the new partnership will work to support school leaders, what parents and teachers should know, and why this is a critical step in creating a more effective AND inclusive educational system within the US.
Related links:
CITES framework -

CoSN podcast -

 CoSN website -

 CAST website -

 Press release on partnership -



Show Notes Transcript

On this episode of Connected Nation,  we talk with those behind a powerful new partnership aimed at helping school districts remove barriers to the use of technology within special education.
We ask how the new partnership will work to support school leaders, what parents and teachers should know, and why this is a critical step in creating a more effective AND inclusive educational system within the US.
Related links:
CITES framework -

CoSN podcast -

 CoSN website -

 CAST website -

 Press release on partnership -



Jessica Denson, Host (00:06):

This is Connected Nation, an award-winning podcast focused on all things broadband from closing the digital divide to improving your internet speeds. We talk technology topics that impact all of us, our families, and our communities. 

On today's podcast, we talk with those behind a powerful new partnership aimed at helping school districts remove barriers to the use of technology within special education.

We ask how the new partnership will work to support school leaders, what parents and teachers should know and why this is a critical step in creating a more effective and inclusive educational system within the us. 

I'm Jessica Denson, and this is Connected Nation. I'm Jessica Denson, and today my guest star, Carla Wade, who is the senior director of external relations for Kosin, Short for the Consortium of School Networking. And Christine Fox, who is the project director for cast, also known as the Center for Applied Special Technology. 

The two organizations are part of an important partnership to make digital learning inclusive and effective. Welcome ladies.

Carla Wade, CoSN
Thank you. Good to be here today.

Christine Fox, CAST 
Yes. Thank you for having me.

Jessica Denson, Host (01:15):

 I'm excited to dive into this. It's a really important issue that's going on in the United States right now to make schools better and more accessible for all people. I'd like to ask each of you though, to give our audience a little background. Some of them might not have heard of COSN or cas, so I'd like to start with you, Carla, and if you could share a bit about CoSN and what it is and what its mission is.

Carla Wade, CoSN  (01:39):

Sure. COSN is known as the Premier professional association dedicated exclusively to serving and supporting education technology leaders in our schools. We are nationally and internationally recognized as a strong advocate for education, technology policies and respected as a source of credible information. Homan provides thought leadership resources, community best practices and advocacy tools to help leaders succeed in digital transformation. CoSN represents over 13 million students in school districts nationwide and continues to grow as a powerful and influential voice in K-12 education.

Jessica Denson, Host (02:21):

I'd ask, I'd like to ask you to expand a little bit on what you mean by community best practices or leadership resources, advocacy tools. I kind of have an understanding, but can you give us some examples of what those might be?

Carla Wade, CoSN  (02:34):

Sure. We have several thought leadership groups and committees. So where we combine the expertise of school district leaders and business and industry to create resources that are up to date, reliable and support schools. For example, in cyber security, we know that's a huge topic right now. So we've done reports on the first five steps of things you need to do. We've done white papers on how to staff for cybersecurity. Other areas that we do a lot of this work in or this committee type work in would include digital equity, network design and infrastructure empowered superintendents because they're a critical part of the role of the technology environment within a school district and of course cybersecurity.

Jessica Denson, Host (03:31):

And you really have a strong background in education, especially relating to technology. Can you give us a little bit of a brief of, I understand a long career, but a brief of what your background is in that and what has led you to your current RO role at CoSN?

Carla Wade, CoSN  (03:52):

Sure. Well, I started my work in education in the non-profit informal science area. I worked at the Oregon Zoo, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry where I first got used to playing around with technology and with outdoor school programs. Then I moved into being a middle school science teacher and led STEM training across my district, and that led to me going to the Oregon Department of Education where I became the digital innovations lead. I've been a member of CoSN and served on the board of directors for Isti and Cita, which is where I first met Christine.

Jessica Denson, Host (04:29):

And tell us a little bit about what your current role is with CoSN, what you do in that position.

Carla Wade, CoSN  (04:36):

In my current role, I'm working a lot with building our corporate partnerships. So we bring in, as I said in our committees, we combine the expertise of districts and industry in the work that we do. We need those partnerships with industry to be able to do that. So I work with the existing corporations that we've been working with and seek out new ones as technology involves to become part of our work. I also work with policy and advocacy. So when we're for example, this last week we just signed onto a letter with 64 other organizations about the need to continue funding the emergency connectivity fund for our school districts. This last round of applications, they saw more than double the amount of requests for the money that was needed. So we're trying to have a voice for our school districts across the nation on Capitol Hill about how they can best help us meet the needs of our districts.

Jessica Denson, Host (05:44):

And just to make a point on the emergency connectivity fund, that really has long been about helping schools expand their networks and stuff, but there has been a push to get more help for at home connectivity through that.

Carla Wade, CoSN  (05:56):

That's part of how our districts have provided at home connectivity. There's a lot of concern out in the field about what happens if this funding goes away. And particularly when we look at some of our students with who live in poverty or have special needs, they need that access at home, not just at school to be successful. And so that the importance of closing that digital divide, closing that homework gap is on the forefront of some of our work.

Jessica Denson, Host (06:28):

That's fantastic. It's such an important thing to advocate for. Let's come now to you, Christine. I know this is a partnership between KOSEN and Cast, but explain what CAST is, what it does as an organization and just give us kind of a foundation of what your side of the project is.

Christine Fox, CAST  (06:46):

Sure. So CAST is a nonprofit organization based out of the Boston area a research and development organization that started almost 40 years ago. They are most recognized for creating and implementing the Universal Design for Learning. So the UDL guidelines were actually originally published by Cass and are widely accepted across the education both in the US and worldwide. And as an organization are Mission is until learning has no limits. So we work to support students with disabilities thinking about all students, whether they have an IEP or 5 0 4 plan but those students that need any type of additional support or alternative opportunities to engage with teaching and learning.

Jessica Denson, Host (07:39):

Explain for someone who may not know what a IEP or a 5 0 4 plan is, just those, just define that for us.

Christine Fox, CAST  (07:47):

Sure. So an IEP is an individual education plan. These are plans that are written for students, both exceptional students, whether they are gifted or have a learning disability. They may have a physical disabilities where the special education team and the general education teams come together to create a plan to support those students in the classroom. These are actually legal documents that districts must abide by when they're look supporting these students. And then a 5 0 4 plan varies on the why. So some students with medical concerns such as a seizure disorder or a Aller Extreme allergies all the way to students that may have behavior issues or other learning concerns but perhaps don't qualify for an iep. They will have a 5 0 4 plan, which is also a binding document and it helps to support the students in the classroom with their families on the best ways to provide learning.

Jessica Denson, Host (08:53):

Fantastic. Thank you. I, myself included, I thought some of us might not know what that was and I just definitely want people to understand the importance of what we're talking about here share with our audience Also some of your background. You worked previously for CoSN, is that correct?

Christine Fox, CAST  (09:09):

Yes. So I was a predecessor to Carla's role at CoSN with the bulk of my career was spent at c a, the State Ed Tech Directors Association where I had a variety of roles but a large chunk of that was conducting research and reporting on best practices in education technology. At that time I worked with Connected Nation around some of the advocacy efforts we had around both on and off campus, broadband access and also worked in other primary topics include instructional materials, professional learning interoperability and as well as the accessibility, which is what the project I'm working for at Cast UM, is around.

Jessica Denson, Host (09:59):

Fantastic. Let's stay with you for a moment, cine. As we dive into this partnership. I know a lot of it is centered around cast cities framework. I did a little research before this of course, but can you explain to our audience what Cast Cities is or sites, I'm sorry, I'm saying it wrong and what it's meant to do, lay the framework for that, so to speak, even though it's what it's called <laugh> if you could.

Christine Fox, CAST  (10:26):

Sure. So the Center on Inclusive Technology and Education System Sites is a federal center funded by the US Office of Special Education. So this is a project that CAST has the grant, they have multiple grants with OSEP is what the Office of Special Education acronym is. And the goal of this project is to empower school districts to sustain, create and sustain inclusive technology systems. Those are systems that serve all students, those with disabilities requiring assistive technologies and accessible educational materials. And also students that may benefit from assistive technology tools that might not have the plans that we were referring to earlier, like an IEP or 5 0 4 plan. So examples of some tools that students often find beneficial are things that we use in our everyday lives, texting voice to text screen readers where your device can read content to you. Some of these have become part of our everyday lives when we're using our mobile phones outside of school but they're not necessarily included as an option in school with the student devices. So we bring together the educational technology teams with the IT leaders, the ED tech teams, as well as the it and then the assistive technology, so that special ed and general education and IT are all working together to create accessible environments.

Jessica Denson, Host (12:07):

Is there sometimes a learning curve for an IT team to understand how these work together or is that something you guys fill in or is there across the educational system in the us? I mean, I'm asking you a broad question. I know. Is there a general understanding of how to enter to bring those in to work collaboratively to really serve all students right now?

Christine Fox, CAST  (12:28):

Absolutely. There's a learning curve on both sides and that's where it's been exciting for me. I was actually on the advisory board for Cass and the AIM Center to be a part of this work where I've had more experience with the ed tech folks, but sometimes they're not even using, they don't even understand each other's language and acronym. So actually sites just recently published a glossary so that we could all know what we're talking about. For example, interoperability in the ed tech world typically is talking about data interoperability and leveraging data standards. So information is moving seamlessly in the systems, whereas in special education and at interoperability is really about devices. Does a student that needs a switch or some other device work with his or her school device

Jessica Denson, Host (13:22):

Makes sense That glossary is probably an important place to start for sure. Carla, I, I'd like to turn to you now and how did CoSN get involved with cas? What led to this partnership and how Envision does your team envision this will work moving forward?

Carla Wade, CoSN  (13:38):

Well, AAM and koon have been and cast have been connected for many years, but the site screen gave us a specific opportunity to partner and to share resources. This is only the beginning. I believe in building this partnership. We are looking forward to other opportunities to share our me share, make sure our membership knows about the site's work and the importance of accessible resources

Jessica Denson, Host (14:07):

And how will CoSN support this.

Carla Wade, CoSN  (14:10):

COSN will work with sites and AEM to provide resources for our members, webinars, blogs and podcasts and sessions at KOSEN 2023 in Austin. KOSEN will include work on accessibility in our diversity, equity and inclusion committee work and strive to improve the accessibility of our own resources and communications. As this work continues, we'll continue to identify new ways to partner and emphasize the importance of accessibility to our members.

Jessica Denson, Host (14:43):

And as you as Koon and cast begin this work, I know you, you've already well into it. I'll include a link to the webpage that lays out this process step by step, which I thought was incredibly easy to follow, at least from my point of view. I, I'll add it to the description of this podcast. But Christine, let's go back to you. Can you tell us a little bit about how school districts can get started with this? What they should do other than just go to the website league?

Christine Fox, CAST  (15:13):

Sure. So the best part about sites I think is that it's based off of the National Education Technology plan from 2017. The areas that we're focused on are really things that districts are already doing. So the importance of being able to connect and break down those silos is critical. And if your school has a school improvement plan, you're looking at your strategic plan, you're an mtss, there's lots of different initiatives that districts have and the sites framework can really compliment those work the district is already doing. The best place to start is really to figure out where are you in this process? Does your district require that all communications are accessible? Where are you using headings? And providing alt tags for all images is are closed. As an example included whenever sharing videos, there's simple things that districts can do from the district office level that can model best practices down through the classroom.


So we do have a get started page and this kind of tells you, okay, what are you getting into and where will this work go? And the first thing you have to do is have some district buy-in and create a team. And when we think about those teams leadership from the district level as I mentioned earlier, from special ed, ed tech, it at Assistive technologies, many districts either have a full or part-time leader that's focused on assistive technologies or they've contracted that work and they all need to be involved in the conversation from the beginning. And then once you've established the team and of taken a look at the framework, we usually recommend folks start with leadership, Where are you now and where do you wanna go? So it's not a one to 10 accomplish this first and then next cuz it really is fluid based on where a district is in the process of inclusion.

Jessica Denson, Host (17:23):

And where do teachers fit in <laugh>? I mean I imagine they're at all parts of this, but is it at the assisted learning level or where do teachers fit into this framework?

Christine Fox, CAST  (17:38):

Sure. So the framework has five primary categories, leadership, infrastructure, teaching, learning and assessment. And clearly devices are great and all the technology and broadband in the world is wonderful, but if it's not being leveraged in the classroom by the teachers and they don't know or haven't had the proper training in how to use them, then it, it's really wasn't worth all the effort. So within the teaching we really talk about creating learning opportunities, making sure that the teachers have the technology skills. So if a student comes to their room and they have, for example, I was in a district last week that students were learning how to use eye gaze. So these are students that are nonverbal. They may or not have motor skills but they can use their eyes to focus on the answers to questions with their device. So it's pretty helpful.

Jessica Denson, Host (18:38):

That's really incredible. I mean that's a pretty incredible thing. That's off. That's amazing. And so it allows them to communicate in a new way, but that's such an important thing for learning, correct.

Christine Fox, CAST  (18:49):

Absolutely. And that's where the families are also so critical. A major part of the site's framework includes family engagement and we're just working to add that content throughout the site. But for example, with the I Gaze, it takes everyone, right? The teachers in the classroom as well as the family at home to have the device, it has to be charged, everyone needs all the right tools. And when the students are encouraged to use that process that their communication can really blossom. Whereas in the past or without these technology tools, they may have had very little communication.

Jessica Denson, Host (19:26):

I looked over the site as I said, and I really liked, I think it was pretty encouraging to see the quote from Simon Sinek or if I may, it says Dream big, start small, but most of all start. And I think that's a really good way to tackle such a big issue and an important part of education. Carla, if you would like, I would like to give you an opportunity to expand a little bit more on how districts approach this work with small steps that lead to big changes.

Carla Wade, CoSN  (19:56):

Well, I think districts need to look at this kind of as a culture shift. The many districts have, well, all of our districts have competing priorities and accessibility is only one of those competing priorities. But by starting small, it allows the staff to build their skills, it allows the team to build their plan and then put that plan into action. And once they have the confidence, it's easier to move forward to the next step. It allows the school to change that culture from being, this is the responsibility of the special education teacher to this is the responsibility of every one of us in the district.

Jessica Denson, Host (20:36):

I really, really like that. I think that's important that this is not just, it's easy to say the special ed teachers had training in this, they should just figure it out. It's something that the entire district and everybody should take part in. Parents, the student, all of it. Correct.

Carla Wade, CoSN  (20:52):

Correct. Absolutely.

Jessica Denson, Host (20:54):

I think that's a fantastic thought. It's a community. Say that again.

Carla Wade, CoSN  (20:58):

It's a community plan and it's a community culture you need to build.

Jessica Denson, Host (21:01):

Yeah, I think that's a fantastic approach. And so let's step into that a little bit more. What do parents and teachers know? Christine touched on this a little bit, but if you'd like, I would love to hear your point of view and expand upon it.

Carla Wade, CoSN  (21:15):

Well, I've been the parent of a student who was dyslexic and I knew that I had to be an advocate for my child at school. I needed to also work at home to make sure she had the resources she needed to be successful in school. And the collaboration between the parents and the teachers are key to this culture shift. Everyone in the school should have an understanding of the importance of accessibility and how to work with the families to make sure it happens and how to make a difference in their own classrooms. Parents, I also need to understand that this is a work in progress. They need to be supportive, they be need to be an advocate for their child. And whether or not your student needs accessibility and or excessive tech assistive technology tools, these are important in the mission of this school to have all students be successful.

Jessica Denson, Host (22:12):

And as I listen to what you both are saying, I have this thought that it's, it's not only critical to be inclusive for the student themselves, but for other students to see that, don't you think?

Carla Wade, CoSN  (22:25):


Jessica Denson, Host (22:28):

And why would you say that? Why would you agree with that statement that does it encourage positive growth? I mean, from an educational point of view, why would that be critical?

Carla Wade, CoSN  (22:40):

I'll jump in here first, Christine. I think that it's important for other students to see that to learn, have empathy for kids who have different abilities to learn, and that regardless of your disability, every child has a gift, every child has something to share. And by having access to assistive technologies and support, it allows those students to thrive and to excel and to shine maybe in a different way, but to be on an equal playing field with their other classmates.

Christine Fox, CAST  (23:22):

Now, I'll add to that, I think creating a equal playing field is so critical. I taught in the first inclusion school here in Palm Beach County School District. And at that time, students with a variety of disabilities were included in the general education classrooms and then special education leaders went into those classrooms to support those students. Sometimes they were pulled out for specific services, but it really was a culture of inclusion and that's our goal. And with casts, until learning has no limits mission, it is just about that all are included. And the other thing to think about is sometimes there might be students in a classroom or general education classroom that don't have specific disabilities. However, someone in their family might and oftentimes parents do and the district needs to address that. Similarly, students with all kinds of needs can benefit from assistive technologies. For example, whether a child is labeled with a d d or not, being able to just do a brain dump by voice to text to gather all their ideas can help with the writing process, where then they can see all the ideas that have been spinning around in their head, organize them in a document. And so we like to really coach people up that a lot of these tools and resources should be available to all students and many students will thrive in different ways because of accessibility features and tools.

Jessica Denson, Host (24:59):

If I may stay with you, Christine, for a moment why is the sites framework so critical within that? We're talking about why it matters and who we impact, but why is sites framework so critical within this conversation?

Christine Fox, CAST  (25:14):

Sure. So sites is so critical because we hit on all of the different aspects of the inclusive technology practices. So from the very top level of the superintendent within the district all the way to learning at home, everyone understands what the assistive technology and accessibility, understanding the law is one thing, but then understanding how to implement and support all learners is so critical. And there are opportunities within the sites framework to gain knowledge and better understanding of the how and why. And then it's just the goal really would be this is just how a district does business. Their RFPs require accessibility as a part of any product that they're purchasing. Their communications team ensures that everything they're pushing out is accessible to both students and families. So that is really the goal that it's a comprehensive culture shift. As Carla mentioned

Jessica Denson, Host (26:20):

In preparing for this podcast and this discussion today Christine, you wrote that this matters because accessible access to teaching and learning is a civil right. It expand upon that idea and why, and these organizations kind of take that point of view.

Christine Fox, CAST  (26:42):

Sure. So actually there are legalities around this with I D E A and the Office of Civil Rights has been very clear on the fact that all students must have the opportunity to engage in the same interactions and the same services, whether or not they have a disability with equal ease of use. And that is from the Office of Civil Rights. So retrofitting tools, purchasing a device, and then trying to figure out how a student can access information on it or purchasing curriculum and teachers going back and making copies or trying to re-edit because the PDF is not accessible, it just doesn't work. It's time consuming and it's really, it's actually just not legal. So we don't like to lead with that. I think the quote that you mentioned earlier is really powerful. It's more about moving and taking those steps but at the end of the day, these students have the same rights as all of their students in the classroom and it is the school and the districts and the teachers jobs to make sure that they have that access.

Jessica Denson, Host (27:57):

I think we would echo that connected nation. There are a couple of terms, if I may just jump around for just one moment and a couple of site issues that impact the idea of digital learning and the importance of having broadband access, who has it and who doesn't, and how this all intermingles and plays a role in it. Connect definitely has opinion on this and we're very strong advocates in that everybody should have this access. But Christine, from your point of view or from, could you define digital learning for our audience and explain why from your point of view? Broadband access is an important piece to this puzzle.

Christine Fox, CAST  (28:38):

So this is a topic also that I have been passionate about for the bulk of my career. And we have an official definition in the glossary on the site's website, but we really are talking about online and blended learning opportunities so that students have access both on and off campus to content and digital tools and resources. And to me, there is no going back at this point. Almost every student has access to a device in the entire country, which is incredible. <affirmative> and during the pandemic lights of inequities became very clear. So the devices are in hand. Unfortunately the broadband is not everywhere as I'm sure youre <laugh>. Yeah, you're hyper aware <laugh>. Yeah. But I do think any call I'm on, whether I was on a coasting call or even at cas, it comes that access at home to broadband comes up because teachers are assigning homework and projects. Students are used to collaborating online. Most schools have some type of learning management system. And so there really is no going back when there isn't a career in the world especially in this country where you wouldn't have a need for technology. So to me it's about the learning and digital tools and resources support that learning and it's hard to totally separate them as in the past where, oh, you're finished with your work, you can go work on the computer in the back of the room. Life just isn't like that anymore.

Jessica Denson, Host (30:17):

I think a lot trying to explain that to people before the pandemic was much different than now. Carla, I'd like to pose the same questions to you about accessibility to broadband, but I would like you to add why this partnership is key to bringing this to more schools that maybe talk about the human side of it as well.

Carla Wade, CoSN  (30:40):

Well, I live in a state where of 197 districts, 138 of them are rural or frontier. So building out fiber through a lot of basalt or across tribal lands is really challenging. We are still facing some significant challenges in this country about getting broadband connectivity out to our rural communities. And it's been something I've been passionate about during my entire time at the Department of Education. When it comes to the human side of this, if you're a parent of a student with accessibility needs, you count on the school to provide all of the supports, not just a few, but all of the supports that your child needs to be successful. And not just to be successful but to thrive, not just get by. As Christine stated, accessible access is a civil right. And we need to think about this in terms of now with all of the post pandemic social emotional issues that're coming up in our schools, sometimes kids are gonna have a bad hair day <laugh>, so to speak. And that assistive technology and those supports that are available to all students may help that child move past that social emotional challenge that's impeding their learning that day or that time period.

Jessica Denson, Host (32:11):

And why is this partnership important in your mind to filling some of those gaps?

Carla Wade, CoSN  (32:17):

I think it's essential be this partnership is essential because coon members represent a significant number of the school districts and technology departments across this nation who need to work on this culture shift. I think the framework provides an excellent tool for districts to work through this. And we wanna make sure that our membership has access to the training, the resources, the sites framework, and any of the success stories that come out of this work so that they can implement these strategies, this work in their districts to remove the barriers that are faced by many of our students today.

Jessica Denson, Host (33:03):

And on, when I read the release about this partnership, which made me try to track you both down <laugh> it said the point was to make it more digital learning, more inclusive and effective. I know we've expanded upon it, we've talked about the partnership, we've gone back and forth, but what exactly makes it more inclusive and more effective than things that were already being done?

Carla Wade, CoSN  (33:25):

Well, I think first in the first place there's a lot of places there that it's not very inclusive or it may be inclusive in one classroom but not another. This needs to be ubiquitous across the school, across the districts and across our nation for every student. And by through this partnership and disseminating the information and the professional learning, it'll lead to that culture change in our schools where accessibility is a key component, component of every district's vision. It's embedded in all of their technology plans, it's embedded in their education plans or school improvement plans, and it's monitored regularly for progress so that they continue to improve.

Jessica Denson, Host (34:14):

I can talk to you both all day about this and dive in deeper and deeper, but I would like to know is there anything I didn't touch on that you thought we should have brought up about this or some key part of this that I have stepped over or missed? Christine, you could begin if there's anything you think that we've lost or that I haven't touched on.

Christine Fox, CAST  (34:39):

Well, it might be something that I didn't bring up, but I just wanted to share that the site's framework based off the national ed tech plan from 2017 is also a research based initiative. So we didn't just come up with these ideas out of thin air, but working with a core group of districts, we've been working with them for six districts for the last three years having them try out these practices giving us feedback, completing self assessments. In addition, we've been interviewing districts and completing literature reviews to support the work. So that is something that I did not mention at the forefront, but I just want to be clear it's also an iterative process. This is the last year of the grant. So we're grant funding through November 30th, 2023. So we have another year and throughout this year we will be making refinements and so that the framework is easy to follow, that we're abiding by best practices and we're following the trends of things that are going on in education systems.


So I appreciate the opportunity to share that information because I feel like I did leave that out at the top. I also wanted to mention that sites really found for all of the reasons that Carla mentioned, the coast and partnership's so critical because as she just said, there are a lot of places where inclusive practices are not the norm. There are districts we've worked with that did not have a technology plan when we started this project. So we wanted to be able to engage with those ed tech leaders and district CTOs so that they're talking and engaging with special education teams and the AT leaders. And sometimes we're making the effort to introduce them to each other. They've worked in the same district, they've been in the same buildings, but they've been, yeah, they've just been doing their own work. So this has been a powerful opportunity.

Jessica Denson, Host (36:43):

Sometimes people need help stepping back cuz you get involved in your own work and it's easy to miss the bigger picture I would think. And car Carla, is there anything you think that I should have touched on that we did not talk about? I'm happy to give you the floor as well for that.

Carla Wade, CoSN  (36:59):

I think the work that CAST has done over the years in accessibility has been phenomenal. When I was at the department, I was participating in one of the as a state cohort in their national cohort of states that was working together to improve accessibility within our states and with our districts. But the site's work is incredibly exciting to me. I think that this framework is a, it's step by step plan in how to make your district and inclusive district. And as we shared in the beginning, COSN provides thought leadership and resources and community best practices and advocacy tools to help leaders succeed in digital transformation. But that digital transformation must include building an understanding of the critical need for technology departments to understand their role in providing accessible tools, resources, and content for all of their teachers and their students.

Jessica Denson, Host (38:01):

That's very important and I would agree with that. And Christine, would you have any final thoughts you'd like to share as well?

Christine Fox, CAST  (38:09):

Yes, I would just encourage folks to check out the sites website and probably the getting started page that get started. Page sites is c i And also we do have a community of practice. So if this is just something you're interested in learning more about, we come together every other month for quick conversations. They're not webinars, but truly discussions on some of the topics that we just talked about and it's openly and publicly available to anyone. Also, the resources that we publish are all openly licensed, so we encourage you to reuse and remix, remix that content. We just ask that you provide credit to sites in the cast team.

Jessica Denson, Host (38:54):

Fantastic. Well ladies, I applaud the work you and your teams are doing. I know I speak for all of connection when we are just excited about all this good work. So thank you so much to both of you for joining us today. I appreciate you.

Carla Wade, CoSN  (39:09):

Thank you for inviting us to join you. This is an incredible partnership and we have a lot of work to do ahead, so help helping get out the information is wonderful. Thank you.

Christine Fox, CAST  (39:21):

Yes. And likewise we appreciate this and we're excited to continue and expand the partnership over time and always open and available if you wanna continue the conversation or dig into one of the topics.

Jessica Denson, Host (39:35):

I would love that I invite you both to come on as things progress and we could do some follow up conversations. So yes, please. My guests today have been Carla Wade, who is the senior director for external relations at Cosen Short for the Consortium of School Networking. And Christine Fox, who's the project director for cast, also noticed the Center for Applied Special Technology. I've included links to each organization's websites and a link to accessing the resources needed for the sites framework and the description of this podcast. I'm Jessica Denson. Thanks for listening to Connected Nation. If you like our show and wanna know more about us, head to connected or look for the latest episodes of our podcast on iTunes, iHeartRadio, Google Podcast, Pandora, or Spotify.