Chapman University’s Thompson Policy Institute on Disability (TPI) has wrapped up another successful Active Education Webinar Series. TPI helped develop the California Alliance for Inclusive Schooling (CAIS) Active Education Webinars Series for teacher candidates earlier this spring in response to widespread school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In partnership with the Orange County Department of Education (OCDE), TPI held 12 total webinars in 2020, serving more than 1,300 participants.

Active Webinars

As part of a joint effort with state and national partners, including the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) and OCDE, the CAIS webinars were designed for candidates in all preliminary teacher preparation programs—Multiple Subject (elementary), Single Subject (secondary), and Education Specialist (special education) candidates. The goal was to help teacher candidates continue to gather required observation or clinical hours, despite widespread school closures.

The Spring 2020 CAIS Active Education Webinars served 800 participants with eight webinars that covered topics such as Universal Design for Learning, differentiated instruction, Multitiered System of Support (MTSS), and collaborating with students in face-to-face, virtual, and blended learning environments.

Throughout this fall, another 500 teacher candidates, teachers, and college/university faculty and supervisors attended four additional webinars:

  • Using Tech Tools to Universally Design Distance Learning
  • Culturally and Linguistically Relevant Academic Instruction (parts 1 & 2)
  • Building Community through Restorative Practices

The fall series especially focused on remote instruction and learning and serving students’ social-emotional needs via remote environments.

Both spring and fall webinars utilized integrated breakout sessions to help teacher candidates form professional learning communities with peers and veteran teachers. Each fall webinar also included an interactive padlet with resources and additional information to facilitate continued learning after the webinar.

Participant Feedback

Preliminary survey results show the webinar attendees benefitted from the expert content. After attending the fall webinar, nearly 95% of surveyed participants said they felt more prepared to create lesson plans, learning experiences, and support structures for students and families, and 98% said the webinar content will help them in their clinical practice and future teaching to meet the needs of diverse learners. Teacher candidates found it helpful to interact with professional teachers working in the field.

The participants particularly appreciated the fall focus on remote learning and instruction. One participant noted that “deeper dives into distance learning for K-12 students are critical since COVID-19 is not going away.”

On Demand Resources

Recordings of all past CAIS Active Education Webinar sessions and all fall 2020 interactive padlets are available online. Thanks to financial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Thompson Family Foundation, the webinar recordings and padlets are available at no cost.


Thompson Policy Institute on Disability
Founded in 2015, Chapman University’s Thompson Policy Institute on Disability (TPI) strives to impact policy by reducing barriers that limit access to learning, living, and working for individuals with disabilities. TPI efforts involve a combination of original research, training, and advocacy work in the areas of inclusive education and services.

Visit TPI’s website for more information about its research and ongoing initiatives.