Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Advances on the reading front: Library of Congress adds teachers; DESE changes screening rule

"The Library of Congress kicked off the 2022-2023 school year by welcoming two teachers to its Capitol Hill campus. Jacqueline Katz and Caneshia Mills will work closely with staff in the Library’s Center for Learning, Literacy and Engagement to make primary sources from the Library’s collections more accessible for teachers, students and families throughout the United States.

Jacqueline Katz, a high school science teacher from Princeton, New Jersey, will serve as the Library’s Albert Einstein Fellow.

Caneisha Mills, a middle school history teacher from Washington, D.C., has been named the Teacher-in-Residence at the Library. "

Teachers to Advance Accessibility of Primary Sources for Educators
Teachers to Advance Accessibility of Primary Sources for Educators

The State House News Service writes:
"Massachusetts schools for the first time will face a requirement to screen young students for dyslexia and other potential learning disabilities at least twice per year under a policy state education officials approved Tuesday. 
Taking aim at what Education Secretary James Peyser dubbed a "wait-to-fail strategy," the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted unanimously in favor of regulations setting statewide standards for districts to monitor student literacy progress.

Many Bay State schools are already performing some kind of dyslexia or learning disability screening, but officials said the existing framework is dotted with gaps. Now, schools will be subject to the same requirement to assess every kindergartener, first grader, second grader and third grader at least twice annually using state-approved tools to gauge their "reading ability and progress in literacy skills."
Continue reading about the regulation change 

Tracy Novick, Worcester School Cmte member and field director for Mass Association of School Committees (MASC), covers the full Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) board meeting held Tuesday morning (during which the above rule change was approved). Her notes and a link to the proposal can be found online

Section of meeting on rule change

Note: this is an unfunded mandate. DESE provides some grant opportunities to obtain the screening tool and professional development for the tool but NOT for the actual implementation of the tool during the twice a school year period to be required. Why is that important? For this group K-3, and in particular for the K level, who manages the other 18-20+ students while the assessment on 1 is conducted? This becomes less of an issue for the students in 1, 2, 3 grades as they are more independent learners (or should be by that time).
"The Department is supporting schools with a variety of funding opportunities. The Department has offered a competitive grant twice in the last 18 months to support the purchase of early literacy screening assessments and the associated professional development, awarding over $471,955 total to 27 school districts. A similar grant will be offered again in the current school year to support schools that do not yet have an appropriate screening measure in place or are in need of training. The Early Grades Literacy Grant and Growing Literacy Equity Across Massachusetts Grants also provide funding to school districts to purchase an approved screening assessment and the associated professional development if needed. Student Opportunity Act (SOA) guidance identified early literacy screening as a key evidence-based practice, and the Department encourages school districts to use SOA funding to support this cost."

From the "backup" doc shared by Tracy

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