The California Department of Education awarded Thompson Policy Institute on Disability, in partnership with El Dorado County Charter SELPA, a grant in the amount of $419,794.00 to further Universal Design for Learning (UDL), Social-Emotional Learning (SEL), and Person Driven Planning (PDP) for educators in Southern California charter schools. The Building Bright Futures Program supports the development and delivery of high-quality best practices workshops and Critical Friends Groups to develop practices and structures that create access to social emotional and academic learning, and future/transition planning for all students, including students with disabilities.

This grant is a Public Charter Schools Grant Program Regional Technical Assistance and Coaching (RTAC) sub-grant designed to further improve schools and local education agencies (LEAs) implementation of evidence-based practices through a multi-tiered system of support (CA-MTSS). The grant targets developing college and career readiness and strategies to improve academic achievement of educationally disadvantaged students in English language arts and math through the best practices workshops and CFGs.

The Building Bright Futures Program provides three high-quality, best practices workshops for educators, leaders, and support staff in Southern California public charter and non-charter schools. Participants will gain foundational knowledge of SEL competencies and UDL principles, while exploring signature practices that can be used in the classroom. The interactive workshops make the connection between PDP, self-determination, and independence by sharing the background, principles and expected outcomes of the PDP process.

The Critical Friends Group (CFG) focuses on bringing together two cohorts of public charter school teachers who are interested in improving teaching practices through collaborative learning in a supportive environment throughout the school year. The CFG is led by certified CFG coaches Jill Perez, Program Manager from the Thompson Policy Institute and Sean Andrews, Program Coordinator-Mental Health from El Dorado County Charter SELPA. Educators in the CFG will meet monthly to look seriously at their classroom practices and make changes with the support and guidance of the CFG coaches.

Together, the best practices workshops and CFGs build the capacity of educators to provide SEL/UDL and PDP in schools. The tools the educators learn through this grant will better prepare students to transition to college and career through strengthening academic skills and providing students with a personalized plan for their future.

If you are interested in joining our Critical Friends Group Cohort, please contact us at

To learn more about Public Charter Schools Grant Program Regional Technical Assistance and Coaching (RTAC), please visit