KYREADS: Kentucky Ready to Advocate for All Students With Dyslexia
A US Department of Education Teach to Lead Project
Teach to Lead, organized by the U.S. Department of Education, encourages teachers across the nation to play a more central role in the transformation of teaching and learning and in developing policies that affect education. Teams of teachers propose projects to be designed at the summit and then implemented in their school, district, and/or state. Projects range from student centered learning, to professional learning initiatives, to student advocacy projects. Recently, a team of four educators and a liaison from the Kentucky Department of Education was fortunate enough to attend a Teach to Lead Summit in Long Beach, California. Team members consisted of Allison Slone; Hope Street Group Kentucky State Teacher Fellow, KDE Dyslexia Task Force member and our Teach to Lead Team Leader, Sarah Reed; KTOY 2015, Robin Burr; National Math and Science Initiative Award Winner, Kayla Steltenkamp; higher education instructor and KDE Dyslexia Task Force member and Traci Branstutter; KDE liaison.
At the summit, the team developed a problem statement and a long-term goal.
Problem Statement: Not all Kentucky schools understand the legal aspects of how dyslexia fits within the identification of students and services as part of a specific learning disability. Identifying students with dyslexia is important to student success in Kentucky. Our state (teachers, district personnel, administration) is not adequately trained, therefore students are not receiving appropriate identifications and interventions.
Goal: Develop a statewide plan to disseminate awareness of dyslexia using stories, research and evidenced based resources to prepare Kentucky educators for future task force recommendations.
Mission Goal: KYREADS disseminates dyslexia research, case stories, evidence and accommodation/modification resources to educators across the Commonwealth so that all Kentucky educators are properly prepared and supported to act upon future KDE Dyslexia Task Force recommendations.
The team members collaborated to complete a Logic Model that consisted of a rationale, inputs, activities, outputs, and outcomes with assistance from our Teach to Lead critical friend, Jill Lewis, Consultant and CO ASCD President. The six members of our team analyzed the facets of the issue, with hopes that by May of 2017 the Kentucky Department of Education Dyslexia Task Force is prepared to make recommendations to the commissioner and that from those recommendations comes a statewide plan to address the needs of students with dyslexia and the educators who teach them. With that in mind, our team spent two days in Long Beach forming what is now known as KYREADS, Kentucky Ready to Advocate for All Students With Dyslexia. The KYREADS team began:
• Addressing the problem that not all Kentucky schools understand the legal aspects of how dyslexia fits within the identification of students and services as part of a specific learning disability
• That identifying students with dyslexia is important to student success in Kentucky, and
• That our state educators are not adequately trained or prepared for the task for recommendations, therefore students are not receiving appropriate identifications and interventions.
With these issues in mind, the KYREADS team developed a set of next steps to begin immediately implementing:
• Network with as many education organizations, stakeholders, educators and legislators as possible
• Begin collecting monetary support
• Build awareness through the dissemination of stories, research and evidence based resources to prepare Kentucky educators for future KDE Dyslexia Task Force recommendations.
• Provide all Kentucky public schools with facts surrounding dyslexia in an attempt to debunk many of the myths and inaccuracies.
• Provide teachers with accommodations, modifications, and strategies they can immediately implement to help all students with dyslexia be more successful in the general classroom setting
• Provide resources and tools to all Kentucky educators through the KYREADS webpage that is currently under constructions, and
• Develop a dyslexia toolbox of reproducibles, information, and facts that can easily be distributed among faculty and staff.
Only two weeks out, KYREADS has already taken many steps forward such as, an amazing social media presence, communication with Dr. Pruitt, the Commissioner of Education in Kentucky, shared results from a statewide survey on dyslexia, presented at ECET2EKY in Pikeville, submitted a proposal to present at the KCTE/LA Conference in February of 2017, began designing our webpage, drafted our mission statement and begun talking to shareholders about monetary support.
KYREADS is dedicated to disseminating awareness of dyslexia using stories, research and evidenced based resources to prepare and support all Kentucky educators for future KDE Dyslexia Task Force recommendations.