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February 4 - 6, 2015 | Hershey Lodge and Convention Center

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36. Act 69 of 2014 - Dyslexia Screening and Early Intervention Pilot Program

02/05/15, Hershey, PA
>> Welcome to this session and we have a panel here and I am looking at a description of our presenters here and the first is Lynn Dell. Lynn began her role as Assistant Director for the Pennsylvania
Bureau of Special Ed with over 30 years of service to children with disabilities and their families. And I'm going to turn it over to her because she said she'll take it from here.
>> Thank you. Well, we have the distinct pleasure and honor of having some very distinguished guests with us today that I have gotten to know in the last six months. And we've been working together
along with a few others to pull something together that I never had an experience with, but these folks have helped us along at the Bureau of Special Education. We were charged with the Bill 198
which was the Dyslexia Screening Pilot Bill and developed guidelines and now Act 69. And we started around July and we have our panel of folks that are on our Advisory Committee with us today. So
they're going to talk a lot more about who's involved, what's involved, where we're going, and some future things. And we're going to end with a Q&A. So for our Q&A we're going to have a microphone
in the audience. If you have questions, we'll leave about 10 minutes at the end. We have an hour so we're going to pack a lot of information into this hour. But we're going to try to save some time
for Q&A.
So with us on our panel is Daphne Uliana is a parent and Founder of the PA Literacy Coalition. And to her left is Diane Reott also a parent and Founder of PA Literacy Council. To her left is Pam Cook,
Advocate and parent on the Parent Advisory Council for the Pittsburg area. They'll tell you a little bit more about themselves as they talk, I'm sure. And last but certainly not least is Marilyn
Mathis who is the Director of the Allentown Dyslexia Center. So I'm the facilitator. I'm not going to say much more until the end and try to fill in a few pieces at the end. So we're going to start
off with Diane, Daphne, and Pam.
>> I get to go first. First of all, I just want to thank everyone for being here and for being interested in this pilot. Diane, I will tell you our stories briefly, but it just has meant so much to us
to actually be here and again be around people who are really interested in making a difference for not only our kids, but other children. Again briefly, I'm just going to tell you my story. I have
three children that are dyslexic and I am dyslexic. My oldest son, Nicholas, attended the local Catholic school where his father attended. That's where he was going to go to school. That's what was
going to happen. Kindergarten fine, first grade we saw some trouble, second grade getting tested. We did all kinds of things. By the time we got to fifth grade we were having some real struggles. And
the school tried, but at fourth grade he was done. He couldn't get any more help from the local IU. And then by the time seventh grade came we knew we were really struggling. Grades one day would be
great, the next day would be terrible. I would study with him for three hours. I knew he knew the material. He would take the test and fail it. You'll hear that story again and again from a parent of
a dyslexic child. And there was only so much that I could do because myself, I'm dyslexic.
My second son struggled. We caught him very early and we got him tutors early and ended up sending him to a local school that was specialized. But they would come home to me and say, you know, you
need to work with your son these words and learning these things. I couldn't help him. I'm dyslexic. A nonsense word is truly nonsense to me. I can't make sense of it so it was very, very difficult.
Fast forward, I got my children to a private school that the teachers understood and knew about [INDISCERNIBLE], knew how to teach them, small classrooms. And I tell you that they went to a private
school only to reinforce the idea that they were lucky and I'm here because I believe it shouldn't be about luck, about where you live or how much money you have. A child should be able to learn to
read no matter where they are, no matter how much money they have -- their parents have or don't have. So it was very important to me to try to give back and to make sure all children have an
opportunity to learn to read.
About three years ago I finally joined the International Dyslexia Association. At the time I had sent them a note, are you planning on working on legislation in Pennsylvania because I'd been reading
about New Jersey and Ohio. They were just starting to form a group and at that point is where I met Diane Reott and some other ladies and we started this group. As a little note, my former life I was
involved in politics and I worked a lot on campaigns and so Harrisburg didn't scare me. I knew a little bit about how to get legislation worked on. Not a lot, just a little bit. We had certainly a
lot of help so that's kind of how I got to sit here at this table. And again, my kids were lucky and not everyone is lucky. And we want to make sure that again reading is not about where you live or
how much money you have. Everybody should be given that opportunity. Before I introduce my friend Diane, I want to just do a cheap plug for the Dyslexia Literacy Coalition. There's a story about
Diane and her son in this month's Parents magazine. So cheap plug. Sorry.
>> Thanks for being here, everybody. We're happy about this mainly because the word dyslexia is in the heading speaking about dyslexia. I am a mom of a son with dyslexia. My son is 19 and as this
article will tell you, when my son was tested at five years old, the woman who tested him said, "Oh, he's severely dyslexic. He will never read. You'll have to have him learn braille." So my husband
cried and I said, "He's not blind." So I was determined that there had to be something to do. It was a daunting journey and I sit here representing parents because that journey I would -- there were
nights when I just didn't know where else to turn. I didn't know what else to do for him. My son had wonderful teachers. Wonderful teachers who really tried to help him, but they had no idea what to
do with this kid. They just weren't trained in whatever they needed to be trained in. This was 13 years ago so it was a long time ago.
When we started this Coalition, one of the reasons we started it was because at the same time that Daphne was looking at things and as the Universe came together, I had started a parenting group in my
area to help other parents. I had gotten a call from a few of the parents desperate to help their children or their child read. They were going through exactly what I had gone through 10 years
earlier. There was no reason they should still be. We know the signs. We know so much. These kids, we can teach children to learn to read. In that time, I grabbed a group of people together and we
started this Coalition. Representative Nielsen who at the time was up at the Capitol had a child who was dyslexic and decided that he wanted to do something. So he came to us with this pilot and
basically said, "Hey, I have this idea, I have this pilot, can you help me with it?" It really needed work. He let us sit down and rewrite this whole pilot so that it had the kind of fidelity that at
this point in time we really understand what we need to do in order to teach these kids to read. He allowed us to do. We worked really hard, but the pilot went through. We have been honored to be
part of the Advisory here. When we were able to sit and give our information, what we've learned. We have stayed active in this. This really takes a village, people. This is really about these kids.
There is so much misinformation. There are no tinted glasses. There are no vitamin supplements. It really means that from kindergarten to third grade, they are not making sense of what's on that
page. They are learning language. They are learning letters. They are learning the foundation of reading. So when somebody says, "Oh, we want them to pull it from the page." They are not pulling it
from the page in kindergarten. We need to give them this foundation and this structure.
So I sit here because I want this as much for you, the teachers, as I do for the children. This is really important for everybody. These kids deserve that much. I've said to my son many times, "You
have to look at your strengths not your weaknesses. You need to define yourself by those strengths and not your weaknesses." It's not just about reading. These kids feel awful about themselves. My
son went into kindergarten bright, bushy tailed, so happy. By October of first grade, he looked at me -- this teeny little thing with these big tears and said, "Mom, I'm the stupidest kid in my
class." That's a kid who gave up at six years old. It's not fair. So I sit here today saying it's up to all of us. It's their civil right to learn to read or at the very least help them find their
strength. I will close and give it to Pam.
>> Hi, I'm Pam Cook. I'm an Advocate from the Pittsburgh area and I am totally in awe of fabulous parents like Diane and Daphne and what they have accomplished in the last couple of years starting
with decoding dyslexia in New Jersey. I think it's in almost every state now in the country. Legislation is being passed in the big states. It's truly amazing. It's especially of concern to me --
I've been an Advocate for about 25 years in the Pittsburgh area. And when you realize that dyslexia affects approximately one in five children, varying degrees of severity. Granted they're not all
severe. But all of these children are struggling and they're all feeling the effects on their self-esteem as are their parents. And this committee is committed to having a parent liaison involved
with each of the sites so that a parent can be that representative who the parents of these children who are struggling can approach to be there intermediary as they try to figure out what and how to
proceed with their children. So that is going to be part of the picture with this project is having that parent liaison as a part of the committee, as a part of the process so that all parents can
then feel comfortable. Have someone they can go to, to talk to, to ask questions and provide resources.
>> Before we go to Marilyn, I did want to mention; we just spent the day with the Districts and just saw someone in the audience and I thought before Marilyn began with some of the more specifics of
what we're going to be doing I thought I would announce which Districts they are. So if you are in the audience if you would be so kind as to stand up and wave frantically. Anita Archer was in here
right before us and she had a standing ovation. And I said why? And they said she uses her hands when she talks. So I thought, okay, I'll leave that in. All right. I'm a weaver. Crawford Central.
Crawford Central from the West. Okay. All right. Crawford Central and I'm going to go across the state first. Okay? Crawford Central, large district, okay? Governor Mifflin. Whoo! Governor Mifflin,
middle part of the state. Okay, central region. And Delaware Valley, east. Wonderful. Okay, those are our three districts, large districts, 3000 population to 15,000, part of Act 69. They will be
following a certain structure, okay? But because Pat Hozella in the back of the room waving frantically like Anita Archer. Okay. Wanted to also add districts that would be below the 3000 mark because
I believe it's 45% of our 500 school districts are below 3000. So to spread that wealth of training that's going to be coming to them from PaTTAN, we are also providing grants to Bentworth school
district. Bentworth -- fabulous. In fact, their superintendent is here today. Spent the day with us. So there's a lot of commitment here. Blue Mountain, smaller district, central region. Oh, smaller
district, large team. Penn Argel. Penn Argel, fabulous. East, I believe in Allentown area, yes? Yes. Okay. And back to the western part of the state, Elwood City. Elwood City. Yay! Fantastic.
Okay, so we spent the day with them as I mentioned. We went from soup to nuts on everything from grants and funding all the way through protocols and we're going to start doing training soon. We're
starting with letters training through the PaTTAN system, but we're also starting with some training in August and over the summer. So before I go on too long, Marilyn is now going to talk a little
bit about what that training is going to look like and the language. I'll flip your slides for you, too.
>> One thing we forget to mention, there are three ladies from Decoding Dyslexia Pennsylvania who I think are here and they are also a very important part of our Coalition. So please stand up, you
ladies, I see you back there. Yay! Thank you.
>> We're working on environmental arrangement. Right there, how's that. There you go. You're good.
>> Where's the tech person? Got it? How's that? Well, I'm really excited to be here today and I feel especially fortunate to be working and in the company of all the women and men who are on this
pilot committee. They have been working so hard and have brought to the table such diverse areas of expertise to bring it all together. And I tell you it's really been exciting to be part of that.
I've been working with children with dyslexia for the past 25 years or more and before that I was Special Ed teacher and a speech pathologist. So it's really been a career for me, but this phase of
my career has been particularly rewarding. I've been a Director of the Allentown Center for the past 17 years and I don't know if all of you in the audience know about this program, but they have
centers across the state and they have been providing at no charge to families or to teachers free teacher training and quality state of the art research based intervention. And they have also been
tutoring the children at the centers. So if anybody in the audience is interested in that kind of that training, that's my little plug while I'm up here, too.
But I was asked to talk about the language in the dyslexia pilot and that's why we're here today. And I'm going to start with the [TECHNICAL]. So the first word that we're going to talk about that's
in the legislation is the D-word. Ready? And the D-word, a lot of people in schools are very hesitant to use this word. But I'm going to put it right out there as my first slide because it has a
fancy definition, but we really don't need to go there today. [TECHNICAL]
So dyslexia quite simply if you pull it apart it comes to us and we look at the morphology. It's dys means difficulty and lexia means words. And when you're having difficulty with words we say that
that is really a symptom of dyslexia. There I said it. So let's talk about for a minute the reality of having dyslexia and not having intervention in the early years. That's why we're all here today.
We're here because of the reality of dyslexia in the country and in Pennsylvania, for sure. Twenty percent, one in five, of students have some degree of difficulty with reading, difficulty with
words. Eighty percent of students identified as learning disabled have phonological processing difficulty which results in having difficulty with words and learning to read. So then you look at, well
what are the effects of this 20% that can't learn to read and that's why we're all here today not only because of this 20%, because of the effects of what happens when a child can't read.
And one of the first things that comes to mind is a third of the Special Education students are at risk for dropping out of school. Second, school dropouts are at risk for drug abuse, juvenile
delinquency, incarceration and eight times more likely to end up in poverty. Fifty percent are welfare recipients. Sixty percent of prison inmates have reading difficulty. So in the words of Dr. Reid
Lyon who was the Chief of the National Institute of Health and Child Human Development, he said one time at a presentation that I was attending and it's a simple little quote, but it comes to mind
all the time. When a child doesn't learn to read he doesn't do very well in life. And so this is the downward spiral that can happen. And I'm bringing this up first because it impacts our communities
and that's our tax dollars. And we're here to try to turn this around because if we can identify these kids in kindergarten and provide them with the right education, we can turn that around.
So the goals of the pilot talk about a specific piece of the legislation and I'm here to talk about the language and how it relates to what we're doing. We're going to identify students with reading
difficulties early and provide intensive evidence based instruction. So when you talk about -- and I just pulled these from Lynn's slides actually that she gave -- and when you talk about evidence
based instruction, you really need to think about two primary national organizations. And the first is the National Institute of Health and Child Development which I'm sure you're all familiar with
and the second is the National Reading Panel. And because I'm speaking to an audience of educators, I'm sure you can recall back in the 1980s and 90s, there was a lot of controversy swirling around
about how to treat reading, whole language, this method and there's all kinds of ways to teach. So that's when the National Institute of Health got involved and they started research all around the
country. And not only in the United States, but in Europe and Asia and they collected all this research. And then along about 1997, the U.S. Congress asked the Director of the National Institute of
Health and that was Dr. Reed Lyon, my hero, in consultation with the Secretary of State of Education to convene a national panel to assess the status of research based knowledge including
effectiveness of various approaches for teaching children to read. And so what constitutes effective instruction and what does it look like? I'm sure many of you already know this, but they ended up
the findings of the National Reading Panel what was the best approach to teach reading is one that incorporates explicit instruction in five specific areas. And they are phonemic awareness, phonics,
fluency which also entails oral reading of text, vocabulary, and finally all of this together the goal of reading is comprehension.
Next slide. How does what we are doing fit into this because we're talking about the language of the legislation and evidence based. That's one piece. So how does [INDISCERNIBLE] fit into these five
big ideas? Well, the second piece of the language says intensive intervention such as explicit instruction, right? That means that you're explicitly teaching the rules of the English language using
multi-sensory approach, auditory/visual kinesthetic. Synthetic phonics instruction; that is the pull apart from part to whole like cat -- C-A-T and putting it back together. A structured language
program; so it is really teaching the basic structure of the English language and it should be delivered with fidelity by trained interventionists via timely targeted instruction with strategically
teaching. So that's the language and the law and when you take that and you look at the principles of [INDISCERNIBLE], it's like the perfect match. Hey, this is what we've been doing. It's
simultaneous, multi-sensory, everybody knows what that is. When we say simultaneous we're doing, you know, two or more of those pathways at the same time. If they're writing a letter, they're naming
the letter, you know. If they're looking at it, they're visually looking at it and saying it and so on. So we try to incorporate as many of those pathways as possible each and every time they're
reading. It's systematic and cumulative. We're going from least difficult to -- we're teaching in a logical order going from least difficult to most difficult and it's cumulative over time taught in
a sequence. We use direct instruction. We never assume that they know it just because they've been in that classroom. We're going to teach them directly. And we don't rely on influential learning at
this point. We actually teach every piece of the language. And it's also very diagnostic. We're constantly looking at what they got correct and what they missed and if they missed it, it falls back
in. It's been said that a dyslexic child needs between 500 and 1500 presentations of a concept to get it. So this is automatically built-in, the review, because what we're doing with all this
multi-sensory and that's a whole nother hour discussion. But they've done brain studies and they know that the language part of the brain is not lighting up, right? So what happens when you do this
it actually begins to light up these neurotransmitters in the language part of the brain. And when they went back and tested those children, they found out it was sustaining. So the brain is
malleable and they just weren't born with those particular genetic elements in place. But we can change that and we can change the brain, just ask Dr. Sally Shaywitz. She wrote a brilliant book and
she just testified before Congress. Anyway, there's a lot of research behind all this.
And again, it's synthetic and analytic. The taking apart of words and the putting back together. And also a sample of a [INDISCERNIBLE] lesson will always include these same elements. You're going to
be talking about alphabet scales very explicitly. Handwriting; we actually teach cursive so hold onto your hats. There's been a lot of research now that talks about cursive writing in relationship to
sort of turning on the neurotransmitters that help you remember spelling and reading. There have been articles in the Wall Street Journal and so on. And I always think the people that started this
back in the 1940s had such forethought that they had all this in place. So cursive handwriting we do. We also work on decoding scales. There's 26 letters, but 44 sounds and 98 letters or letter
clusters. We work on fluency along the way, too, and fluency starts really with -- it could be just rapidly naming letters. Then it could be naming words. And then it could be phrasing. So we just
take them and just take them right into, you know, scooping for accuracy and rate. And phonological and phonemic awareness is also important. This is the number one at risk sign. That's why we can
identify them in kindergarten because we know right away in kindergarten they had difficulty rhyming or difficulty learning the alphabet, difficulty saying the sounds of the alphabet letters.
We always work on spelling. We have systemic approaches and procedures that we do to make that work. And they learn all the spelling rules. And finally, we work on comprehension, too. A little bit at
a time and with these kindergarteners, we'll read to them. But we'll talk about the who, what, when, where, and so on and then we transition them into looking for that when they begin to read text.
We also include syntax, how to write sentences, grammar's not on here, but we teach the parts of speech and even as a first grader they learn what nouns are, articles, and verbs. And finally,
morphology. And all this is done in what we call multi-structured language education and it's an approach. It's not a program per se. But it is an approach where we are teaching the teachers the
structure of the language so that she can pull out these parts when necessary, even for the entire classroom. So a lot of the teachers that we train take it back to the classrooms and they have a
whole class. I have first, second grade teachers that are still tutoring for me at the center and they use it in a first grade class. Elements of this pertain to each and every child.
So we very often -- the content and knowledge in-depth of training are lacking in the most basic areas of preparation for teachers that are responsible for teaching reading. And I can say that because
I was a teacher and I didn't really get any kind of instruction like this in my course work. And so we're kind of all in the same boat. So I am going to take a little bit of a departure because I
hope I'm not over my 10 minutes. I probably am. I come here as a professional who found a career path, but I also come as a mother of a dyslexic child. And with my background in education I couldn't
help him. And I saw when he was struggling of course in fourth grade and we went to the meeting in the office there and all the teachers were sitting around. And they said, you know, he sat and
looked at the clock all day. And this was in the fourth grade. And he just can't learn. And so I did have him tested and I was told a similar story which was if you don't get the proper help for your
child, he will be illiterate. Well, that got my attention. And shortly thereafter I saw a program on 60 Minutes and it was a school -- the lab school in Washington D.C. -- and they were talking about
dyslexia and they were doing something. I could see there was thing going on. So I said we're all going. We just got in the car and I called that school and we went and I went around and then I found
this number that's called the Dyslexia Hotline and that led me to Texas. That's some 25 years ago, 30 years ago. And that's where I learned about this specialized training and so that's when I went
and got it.
So it's been quite an adventure, but I can tell you from my own personal experience on every level, I understand this from a parent's viewpoint, a professional's viewpoint. This is a system that
works. I've seen it working with all the children that we've had at the Center and the ones I had in my private practice years ago. And this pilot committee has chosen -- I'm getting to the next
slide. I got off on that. I have to tell you this is the most important thing. To do this work, they chose a multi-sensory center training course and it's called the Compass Reading Center and it's
ISLA accredited which means that they have met all the qualifications and standards and rigor of being reviewed by a committee that says that they can do this with intensity and fidelity and that
means they're recognized by the International Dyslexia Association. So this pilot has put this whole program into very good hands. I know that you shall be happy with the results, no doubt, because
our children will certain have a brighter future because of it. And consequently be productive citizens of the State of Pennsylvania. And I guess that's all I have to say.
>> Thanks, Marilyn. Okay, we're going to open this up for Q&A, but before we do that I do want to mention we didn't go over -- it's a three year project, okay? So it's a three year pilot. We will
start with kindergarten classes and I'm going to put this down just for a second. [TECHNICAL] And so what we'll be doing is we will be -- I'm trying to find my other disc here. Sorry for the -- I
think it's this one. Good. And we'll go here. All right. So I just wanted to give you some pieces here. So Marilyn shared -- we talked about our Advisory Group and it's up on the screen, great. But I
wanted to go over a visual. I'm all about visual. This is a lot of words here. But this is the visual to show you and I think in the brochure it mentioned a little bit about what we've been up to. So
we started registering for the webinar. We had a webinar. It is online. There is a website -- the PaTTAN website. It's under projects. So if you were curious at all, you can go on and find out more
information. We had that in October.
November 4th we hit the road and we went out to see all of the applicants. I believe there were a total around maybe 12-13, but we really wanted to go with those regions. At least one for each region
[INDISCERNIBLE] so we could make sure a representative of the state. In December we made our final decisions. We awarded in December and now we're coming together for our training. We will be looking
at our next -- I want to go onto some of these slides. [TECHNICAL] So PVE is awarding $40,000 per school district for those sites that I mentioned earlier and they will be receiving that each year.
They'll be receiving training of personnel over the life of the project so we do have a staff assigned to each of the districts. They've made some pretty significant commitments and we have school
board assurances and superintendent signatures. They're going to be looking at their schedules and considering their multi-sensory structured language programs and made a commitment for the three
And so we are using intensive evidence based practices, but our key here is the two biggies are early to see if we can find out information from this pilot about early and how. And then the second
piece is can it be done in the schools by schools -- public schools -- can it be done in the public school setting? So those are the two big pieces that we're looking at. So it's a screening
assessment piece that we're looking at with our evaluation and with the implementation piece as an evaluation. We have the American Institute of Research and the Hoskins Lab who are also helping us
through this evaluation process. So the teams are going to be busily going back to their schools next week. But they were troopers today. We thank them for their time and our panel was there as well,
got to meet them. Robert Tate stopped in for lunch and we had a photo op. And we also wanted to take a Q&A right now. Okay?
So what we'll do is we'll take a question and answer and if the panel could repeat the question unless we have a microphone in the audience. So if you have any questions, we'll take those now.
>> Hi, first I want to say thank you so much for all of your hard work. It's really, really very impressive and touching. The question I have which I think is probably on everybody's minds in this
room is are we now aloud to say dyslexia in the school setting?
>> I believe that's a yes.
>> Yahoo! Whoo!
>> She said the D-word.
>> Can I ask a second question? Is that okay? So is this pilot program designed for individual intervention or is this whole group instruction?
>> So the design that we're working on, we're doing a business as usual. Business as usual. We were trying to really focus on that today because the districts are already doing some fabulous things,
right? They're doing some systematic screening. The pilot talks about we must screen at least three times a year. So many of the districts, in fact all of the districts are already involved in some
kind of a response to intervention and/or [INDISCERNIBLE] screening process, whatever, version or collecting data, doing some analysis, doing progress monitoring meetings and such. So there was a lot
of good -- we were thrilled when we went out to visit the school districts. So that culture was already established in the pilots and every one of them has fantastic strengths, but they're all
different strengths. So we're learning exactly how to develop some additional kinds of things. The parent piece, for example; one of the school districts -- a couple of school districts had fabulous
parent outreach. That's just one example. So we're also going to be providing and you guys might want to talk a little bit after I get done talking about the parent liaison piece maybe. How you're
developing and we'll work through that. But through that business as usual, we are just looking at how early. So we are going to have a protocol for the large districts, 3000 to 15,000 districts. We
are going to have a protocol when looking at when do you assess further so that we can start to establish a process that the outcome is diagnostic thinking rather than more and intensive and
frequent, but diagnostic thinking. So the business as usual piece is what we were trying to alleve some of worries of some of the districts, okay? So that's already going to be involved in that. So
I'm not sure if I got to every aspect of your question, but we didn't want to come in and change everything around. We want to see what they're already doing and then look at early, that's the title,
and look at what can be done in schools.
>> Can I just say one thing as a parent? When we worked on this or began working on it, the one thing we did know is that we do screen the children. We don't do anything with the screening. And when
we do find that a child has a problem, we don't know what to do with them. So the pilot came to be because we wanted to show that if we did do these things right, if we did do right by these children
and by the teachers and by the school districts, this is not a Special Education situation. It's a regular education situation. We want to not have these kids go into Special Education. And we will
grab the other children as much as the dyslexics. This is also a literacy pilot. Those struggling readers, those [INDISCERNIBLE] children, those economically disadvantaged, they will benefit from
this. So the pilot is just a small piece of showing that if we do it the right way and I think the thing that we as parents have learned is it's not that simple when you're in a district. And so I
think every district will do it a little differently, but we know we can do this. You just have to figure out how you could do it in your particular area with your particular children so it's a work
in progress. Am I making sense there? I hope and I hope that answered where the pilot came from.
>> And I will just add to that that we wanted to make sure that, you know, we learn from other states that if you go in and ask for this big ask and to change all these things, it just isn't
successful for a variety of reasons. Half the time the legislation never gets passed. And it was really important to us to work within the networks that were already there, the structures that were
already there. And when our first meetings with Lynn and Fran, we talked about that. We want to make this as Diane said as simple as it can be and not recreate the wheel because so many school
districts were doing the right thing. But let's do this where it can make sense and let's be practical about it. Would we love everybody to be trained in OG? Sure. But I'm not sure that's really
practical right now. Anyway.
>> And in adding to that, part of what we want to do in these school districts, the ones for the research, is we want to open up the beginning lectures to all of the school faculty that want to sit in
on those lectures of the first 24 hours so that they'll have the general knowledge and background and understand the language of what we're doing. But for the Tier 3 interventionists in order to be
certified, they have to do a practicum one on one. But that's special. Everybody doesn't need to do that. I think if each building had a few of these that could intervene in the right way with the
students, that's going to be a big help. And remember, this comes in all varying degrees. It comes mild, mildly impaired, moderate, and severe. And so with some of the thing that the kindergarten
teachers are going to learn and the first and second grade teachers, they're going to be able to implement a lot of these and have access to these materials. So for certification, yes, one on one.
But we certainly, you know, we're talking one in five. We're talking 20% of the kids and again, some of those will, you know, it would be great to have one on one, but that's not a reality in a
school. But to learn it and to learn it well so that it can be sustaining in your school, you need that practicum piece, okay? So that's the compromise to make this work.
>> Any other questions?
>> Hi, I apologize up front because I realize when people raise their hands how many districts in the building are already part of this and obviously we can hear your heartfelt time, energy, love, and
passion for this work. But I'm feeling sitting here coming to this hoping to get some answers. But I am leaving here not quite sure what the it is. So I know that you were saying we want to see, we
don't want to go out, we want to make sure it works. I just want to make sure that this PowerPoint is not just available. It took me a little while to find it. I'm not the most tech savvy. But I just
want to make sure that we as educators, as consultants can speak to this because we will be asked in the districts. I mean I did find it, but I had to go under projects. I want to make sure that the
word gets out how to find it, what it's under, etc.
>> Because this has a lot of --
>> Sure, sure, okay.
>> I thought you were talking about this PowerPoint. I'm thinking I don't think I put it out there anywhere.
>> Because at least there's some other information.
>> It's a concern that now we can say dyslexia in a building. I know reading specialists and school psychologists are going to come back to who makes that determination, what's the criteria. And I
>> Yes.
don't have a problem saying this wonderful project. I just need a little more meat on which I don't want to say oh it's another initiative. So I really -- as much information as you can give us...
>> It isn't an initiative at this point other than it's a pilot -- a three year pilot and we want to tap into the existing resources that are already going on in our technical training at PaTTAN, at
the three sites, which I believe letters training has been going on for quite a few many years -- seven years I be-- eight years. So there have been things already going on. I think Marilyn spoke to
the it and I think that was the multi-sensory structured language piece. I think you're right; I don't think when we were doing letters we ever doubt that it was a necessary thing to go back and say
the D-word. But in this case the legislators had it in a title and it became an Act in June so that's why we said that. Okay? As far as the information on the web page, we also have a signup sheet at
the front desk in case there are other districts that may not -- and/or charter schools that may not have been aware of that webinar. And the webinar is on that website as well. So there is
information there. We also -- I wanted to mention two other people that were on our Advisory Panel because of the awareness of the discussion about we know that there's a lot of folks out there that
have a pedagogy around certain thoughts. So one of our other panel members was Dr. Monica McHale Small who's the Superintendent of Saucon Valley. So we talked and talked and, you know, we worked
through this as well and then also Dr. Eugenia Flaherty who wasn't able to make it today. So we are aware that this is going to happen. We are going to also do a parallel training series with our
school psychologists at the --[INDISCERNIBLE] has some forethought on that and thought that that would be something that would be helpful to the districts as well so with our speech pathologists. So
we're going to rule out a parallel training, not part of the pilot, but a parallel training to that that's going to talk us through this process of how we are shifting towards a little bit more
clarity around what exactly does the multi-sensory structured language programs address. And that is some pretty significant dyslexia in many cases. Okay? Not all cases, but many cases. Okay?
Can we show the website?
>> While she's looking for the website, I wanted to make a comment more than a question kind of directed over here to the question that was over here. My children have profound dyslexia and my school
district is here; one of the ones chosen. And I can tell you they worked for years to teach my children to read and they used many different programs and they worked very, very hard to teach my
children and they did not learn. And my son was placed in a private school and he did learn and he is profound. I think of all the time and the effort that those teachers used and all the resources
that school used if they had [INDISCERNIBLE] to begin with, I would not have an eighth grader still getting [INDISCERNIBLE]. He'll have to have it in ninth grade. He was identified in first grade. So
basically what my comment is and he's profound. So when you talk about a continuum, some of these little kids are never going to have to go to Special Ed. Mine, he would have went to Special Ed
anyway because he's profound. But you're talking a slim amount then rather than all these kids that the teachers are going, "They don't do what I tell them. They're not initiating, they're not
moving." It's a lack of a skill set. So we're asking them to do something they can't do and then they have behaviors and they're getting sent to Special Ed for behaviors when they haven't been taught
to read. You know, I looked at my own son came home after we found out we were in the pilot and I said, "You know, we got in." And he's 12 and he said, "You mean other kids aren't going to have to
suffer the way I did?" And I know not a single person in this room wants the kids in their classes to suffer, but these kids are suffering every day for something that everyone takes so naturally.
They should be able to learn to read. [INDISCERNIBLE] will do that and if you're school's not in it, learn it anyway. Step out and learn it because the difference you will make in those children's
lives will be worth it.
>> Can I say one thing? Not every child is dyslexic who struggles with reading. And I think what we're here to say to you is if you do this initially with these kids coming in so they are screened, we
are going to start some basic foundational information, some foundational work. These kids are going to be caught. They're going to shuffle around in that crowd. The ones who really are dyslexic,
you're going to know they're dyslexic. You're going to see that they aren't going to pick it up the way the other kids are. But again like we're saying there's what we call the seeds community.
Struggling readers, [INDISCERNIBLE], economically disadvantaged, dyslexics and kids with other disabilities. The thing is you at some point once you learn this, you'll be able to differentiate. I
don't want any of these teachers leaving here who don't believe in dyslexia to leave here and think oh now I have to have -- every kid has to be dyslexic. That's not what we're doing. We're saying
it's only fair that we do this for everybody. And I will tell you that studies have been done and the children in that classroom who aren't struggling and who aren't dyslexic still went up three
grade levels with using this very foundational language. My daughter who now teaches dyslexic children, she went all through school, fabulous student, fabulous in college. When she went for her
training, the third day of her training she said to me, "Are you kidding me? They never taught us any of this. I never knew there was a structure to all language." There is a structure to our
language like it or not and we need to learn it and we need to start teaching our kids. I might sound like a -- but I am really, really very passionate about watching these kids be treated like they
don't deserve a chance. They do. Every one of them. And our schools right now are more about all those other disadvantaged kids. Your classrooms aren't all about the kids who get everything, you
know, like when we were growing up, you didn't have as many foreign children here. You didn't have as many disadvantaged. It was a different thing. So maybe it was only 30%. Today that seeds
community is more like 70%. Not every kid is dyslexic, but it's the same kind of thing. And dyslexia is the cog in the wheel to what we know about literacy. So I'm just coming in very emotionally and
I'm sorry, but I have to say do not -- don't make every kid dyslexic just because they have a reading issue. Find out what the issues are and work from there.
>> Do not apologize. Do not apologize. I think we have a room full of people who do -- are of the same mind. I really do and that's why they're here so they want to know what's going on. So we have
come to the end of our time and I want to thank everyone for being here. We had a gentleman this morning, Robert Tates, speak to us and, you know, I kept thinking okay bring it back around, Robert,
bring it back around to education, bring it back around and he did. And I'm telling you it wasn't able to articulate as some of us might have wanted him to about his specific ways that he changed and
learned to read from the program he attended to, but he truly knew that there was something going on, right? He knew it and these kids know it. So let's go help them and be the -- what was it -- be
seeds --
>> Okay, great. And be the change you want to see. Be the change you want to see.
>> Great, thank you.



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Q & A

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