Professional Development


Project Core has developed 12 free professional development modules to assist you with implementing the Universal Core in your school and classroom.

An adult is holding out a universal core board and pointing at a symbol as a student looks over it.
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We are excited to announce that many Communication App and Speech Generating Device developers have created resources for the Universal Core. These partnerships will make it easier for students to transition to appropriate products with voice output.

student with a voice output device
Success Stories


Harold is an observant and active high school senior. It is quite common to wander into Harold’s classroom and see him expressing his desire to be on the go as he physically wheels himself in the direction of the door with a look of determination. As Harold’s communication abilities have developed, he is often on the lookout for friends he can recruit to help him go.

A student looking over the 30 location universal core board that is taped to the tray of his wheel chair.


The Project Core Team recently presented at the 2019 ATIA Conference in Orlando, FL.

Dr. Lori Geist presenting at the 2019 ATIA Conference
Hillside Success Stories

Hillside Developmental Center

The Project Core team worked directly with Hillside in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years. The 50 students who participated in the project across both years had an overall increase in level of communication on the Communication Matrix. School performance on the state’s required end-of-grade alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards provides additional evidence of the impact of Project Core on this school.

a teacher showing a student a core vocabulary board attached to a lanyard
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A smiling student in a wheelchair.

Professional Development Modules

A collection of free professional development modules.

A student in his wheelchair; a universal core communication board is taped to a tray in front of him.

Teaching Supports and Implementation Resources

Resources to assist with the implementation of the Universal Core in your classroom.

A high contrast 4 square communication book is mounted at eye level on a student's wheel chair.

Universal Core Communication Systems

Sets of communication formats for the Universal Core.

What is Project Core?

The Project Core implementation model is aimed at helping teachers provide students with significant cognitive disabilities and complex communication needs with access to a flexible Universal Core vocabulary and evidence-based instruction to teach them to use core vocabulary via personal augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems.

The model is designed for students with significant disabilities who do not yet use speech, signs or symbols to communicate in flexible ways. This includes students who rely on early forms of communication such as facial expressions, vocalizations and body movements, as well as students who are beginning to use symbols, signs, or words but cannot yet put them together.

No prior training or experience with AAC is necessary to get started, but a fundamental belief and classroom culture that recognizes that all students can learn to communicate in increasingly complex ways is required.

Project Core Goals


Empower teachers and classroom professionals to deliver access to a Universal Core vocabulary and communication instruction.


Leverage the academic and daily routines of the school day to dramatically increase the frequency of daily communication instruction and learning opportunities.


Improve the academic achievement of students with significant cognitive disabilities as evidenced by gains in their communication and literacy skills.

Want to know more?

Click play to watch a short video about Project Core!

Success Stories

Harold is an observant and active high school senior.  Jade is blind and has severe intellectual disabilities. Jeffrey is an elementary student who has complex physical needs. Nathan is an enthusiastic and energetic preschool student. Do you know a Harold, Jade, Jeffrey, or Nathan?

Hillside Developmental Center Success Story

Hillside is a public separate school that serves school-aged students with significant cognitive disabilities and preschool-aged students with a range of developmental disabilities…

Share your story!

Do you have a success story about how Project Core has helped one of your students? Please share it with us!

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This site was produced under U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs Grant No. H327S140017. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the positions or policies of the Department of Education. No official endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education of any product, commodity, service or enterprise mentioned in this publication is intended or should be inferred. This product is public domain. Authorization to reproduce it in whole or in part is granted.