Decoding Dyslexia VA

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PALS Screening in Virginia

ACTION ALERT: INPUT NEEDED!

 

 

 

In an attempt to understand our publicly funded Virginia Universal Screener and the impact it has on our children in the classroom, Decoding Dyslexia Virginia began requesting data that is required by our universal screening law to be collected on our children in grades K-3.  

To provide background:

  • We understand that our state has mandated that a universal screener be administered to every child ages kindergarten through third grade.  
  • We are aware that the PALS assessment is the screener that the state has made available through public funds to our districts and if a district chooses to use an alternate screener, there must be an approved waiver.  
  • At this time, every district with the exception of Fairfax County, has committed to using the PALS screener as their fulfillment of the universal screener mandate.

Decoding Dyslexia Virginia has a mission to raise awareness and connect families to information and resources.  In our work to understand the issue of dyslexia and how it is intrinsically connected to literacy in Virginia, we believe it is important to understand everything about initial literacy screenings, appropriate interventions delivered by qualified educators, and access to assistive technology and accommodations.  

In an effort to increase transparency with our community, we would like to share information about our efforts to obtain the PALS data in the last few months. Please consider completing this informal community survey to enrich our understanding of screening in the state of Virginia.

If you’d like to help cover the cost for this FOIA request, please DONATE here.

Timeline for obtaining PALS data:

September 19, 2018 – A DDVA parent sent an email to the VDOE requesting information on how to access the data collected from our publicly funded state screener.   

September 19, 2018 – VDOE response was that the data was accessible to vetted researchers only through the VLDS (Virginia Longitudinal Data System).

September 19, 2019 – DDVA parents respond that they are not vetted researchers and unable to access PALS data.

September 20, 2018 – VDOE informs us that suppressed data is available to the public through an FOIA, Freedom of Information Act request.  Easy how-to-do-it-yourself instructions available here!

September 21, 2018 – DDVA parents submit an FOIA request asking for state data.  This request was for information over multiple school years, to include grades K-3 and both subtest and composite test scores.

September 26, 2018 – VDOE issues the following response and invoice:

“VDOE staff has determined that it will take approximately 68.5 hours for staff to search, review, and produce the requested information.  VDOE policy provides that a $19.98 per hour fee shall be assessed for staff time to respond to FOIA requests, and waives the first $20.00 of charges. Therefore, your total estimated cost to respond to this request would be $1348.63.“  Invoice available here

September 26 – October 4, 2018 –  DDVA founding members conducted discussions regarding next steps. Outreach to additional experts in the field for guidance on our efforts to collect PALS data that was not readily accessible with our initial parent request

October 11, 2018 – DDVA submitted the $674.32 deposit (link google doc of invoice) through the mail to move forward with the data request.

October 18, 2018 – VDOE receipt of deposit begins the work on the DDVA FOIA request.

October 18, 2018 – VDOE files for an extension, new due date October 31, 2018

October 31, 2018DDVA receives answers to specific questions from VDOE.  Raw data for dollars that districts have received through the publicly funded Early Intervention Reading Initiative, EIRI

November 1, 2018 – DDVA sends the remaining balance of $674.32 to VDOE through the mail.

November 1, 2018 – Present  – DDVA begins analysis of data.

November 6, 2018 – DDVA developed an informal community survey to gather additional information.  
For a deep dive on Virginia literacy, we provided some additional resources HERE.

Helping Dyslexia Bill SB1386!!

jill vogel

DDVA’s first meeting with Senator Vogel  on April 10, 2013.

jill vogel

Senator Vogel speaking before the 2015 Senate Session in support of SB1386 

If you haven’t heard by now, let us be the first to share with you that Senate Bill 1386, introduced by Senator Jill Vogel, regarding teacher training on dyslexia has been voted on and passed in the Virginia Senate by a unanimous vote of 38 yes to 0 no.
What’s next?
First: THANK THE SENATORS
Take a minute to thank your Senator!!!  No guess work here…every senator in our great state voted in support of this bill. A quick email of thanks will let them know how much you appreciate their support! Here is a link to a quick listing of our Senators.
Second: CONTACT YOUR HOUSE of DELEGATES REPRESENTATIVE
Call and/or email your Delegate to let them know that dyslexia is important to your family and you would like them ‘to sponsor SB 1386’.  This means that they sign on in support of the bill, even before it gets to the Education Committee Review.
What you need to know:
It’s WAY EASIER than it sounds!  Use this link to identify your Delegate.
Call their Richmond office number, since they’re in session now!  And spend 3-5 minutes letting them know that dyslexia is important to your family and you would like them ‘to sponsor SB1386’!  THAT’S IT!  EASY!
If you’d like some dyslexia specific facts, check out this link:
Third – CONTACT THE HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE
Call and/or email the House Education Committee Members to let them know that dyslexia is important to your family and you would like them ‘to sponsor SB1386.
What you need to know:
It’s WAY EASIER than it sounds!  Use these links to view the Committee Members and find their contact information.
House Education Committee:
House Education Committee email addresses. Copy and paste directly into the “To” link of your email.
Samples for your Delegate:
Phone call:  “Hello, this is XXXX, I live in Delegate XXXX district.  I am calling today because I support SB1386 introduced by Senator Jill Vogel.  Dyslexia is an important issue and impacts my family, this bill will help support both teachers and students with dyslexia in VA.  I would like to ask for your office to support this bill by cosponsoring it.  Thank you for your time and service.”
Letter/email: 
Dear Delegate XXXXX
I am reaching out today because I support SB1386 introduced by Senator Jill Vogel.  Dyslexia is an important issue and impacts my family, this bill will help support both teachers and students with dyslexia in VA.  I would like to ask for your office to support this bill by cosponsoring it.  Thank you for your time and service.
Sincerely,
xxxxxxx
123 any st
anytown, VA 12345
If you’d like some dyslexia specific facts, check out this link:

A Thank You and an Update!

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Feb. 4, 2015 Update:

Thank you again for all the support from our community! What a fabulous day of dyslexia awareness!

Our Bills are still moving through the legislative process.  If you joined us on Feb 3rd and visited with our VA Senators and Delegate please remember to send a quick thank you to the offices. Below are links to the Senate and House directories which include email addresses.

House of Delegates:  http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/house/members/members.php

Senate:  http://apps.senate.virginia.gov/Senator/index.php

If you were unable to join us but would like to continue to help, please visit:

TOP 5 WAYS TO SUPPORT THE DYSLEXIA BILLS

TOP 5 WAYS TO SUPPORT THE DYSLEXIA BILLS

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TOP 5 WAYS TO SUPPORT THE DYSLEXIA BILLS

Feb. 4, 2015 Update:

Thank you again for all the support from our community! What a fabulous day of dyslexia awareness!

Our Bills are still moving through the legislative process.  If you joined us on Feb 3rd and visited with our VA Senators and Delegate please remember to send a quick thank you to the offices. Below are links to the Senate and House directories which include email addresses.

House of Delegates:  http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/house/members/members.php

Senate:  http://apps.senate.virginia.gov/Senator/index.php

 

#1 JOIN US AT THE COMMITTEE MEETINGS:

Comment at either the Senate Education Committee and/or the House Education Committee

What you need to know:

The Senate Education Committee meets Thursdays at 8:00 am in Senate Room B of the General Assembly Building in Richmond.

The House Education Committee meets Mondays and Wednesdays at 8:00 am in House Room D of the General Assembly Building in Richmond.

We will need to watch the agendas/dockets for those meetings to make sure they will be reviewing and hearing comments on the bill we are supporting.  We are watching for SB1386 introduced by Senator Vogel on the Senate side and for HB2374 introduced by Del Cline on the House side.

Senate Ed docket:  http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?151+doc+DOCS04

House Ed docket:  http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?151+doc+H0910126

After all that being said, we will look to arrive 20-30 min prior.

 #2 EMAIL US YOUR TESTIMONY

Send us a quick email (or your full dyslexia story) with or without your name and city and let us know why you support the bills.  We will bring them with us to share with the legislators.

 What you need to know:

This is the time that we need a collective voice to speak up about the need to empower teachers with dyslexia specific training.  There is power in numbers and WE NEED YOU NOW!

 Email your testimony to decodingdyslexiava@yahoo.com with ‘STORY’ in the subject line.

 If you’d like to write your full story, check out the suggestions here.  A number of examples are in the comments section.

https://decodingdyslexiava.wordpress.com/real-stories/

 #3 CONTACT YOUR SENATE REPRESENTATIVE

Call and/or email your Senator to let them know that dyslexia is important to your family and you would like them ‘to sponsor SB 1386’.  This means that they sign on in support of the bill, even before it gets to the Education Committee Review.

What you need to know:

It’s WAY EASIER than it sounds!  Use this link to identify your representative.

http://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov

Call their Richmond office number, since they’re in session now!  And spend 3-5 minutes letting them know that dyslexia is important to your family and you would like them ‘to sponsor SB1386’!  THAT’S IT!  EASY!

If you’d like some dyslexia specific facts, check out this link:

https://decodingdyslexiava.wordpress.com/talking-points/

 #4 CONTACT YOUR HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE

Call and/or email your Delegate to let them know that dyslexia is important to your family and you would like them ‘to sponsor HB2374’.  This means that they sign on in support of the bill, even before it gets to the Education Committee Review.

What you need to know:

It’s WAY EASIER than it sounds!  Use this link to identify your representative.

http://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov

Call their Richmond office number, since they’re in session now!  And spend 3-5 minutes letting them know that dyslexia is important to your family and you would like them ‘to sponsor HB2374’!  THAT’S IT!  EASY!

If you’d like some dyslexia specific facts, check out this link:

https://decodingdyslexiava.wordpress.com/talking-points/

#5 CONTACT BOTH OF THE EDUCATION COMMITTEES

Call and/or email the House Education Committee Members and the Senate Education Committee Members to let them know that dyslexia is important to your family and you would like them ‘to sponsor HB2374 or SB1386.  This means that they sign on in support of the bill, even before it gets to the Education Committee Review.

What you need to know:

It’s WAY EASIER than it sounds!  Use these links to view the Committee Members and find their contact information.

House Education Committee:

http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/house/members/members.php?committee=Education

House Education Committee email addresses. Copy and paste directly into the “To” link of your email.

DelDBell@house.virginia.gov,DelDBulova@house.virginia.gov,DelMCole@house.virginia.gov,DelGDavis@house.virginia.gov,DelPFarrell@house.virginia.gov,DelTGreason@house.virginia.gov,DelDHester@house.virginia.gov,DelMKeam@house.virginia.gov,DelSLandes@house.virginia.gov,DelJLeftwich@house.virginia.gov,DelJLeMunyon@house.virginia.gov,DelJLindsey@house.virginia.gov,DelSLingamfelter@house.virginia.gov,DelJMassie@house.virginia.gov,DelJMcClellan@house.virginia.gov,DelBPogge@house.virginia.gov,DelJPreston@house.virginia.gov,DelRRobinson@house.virginia.gov,DelTRust@house.virginia.gov,
DelRTyler@house.virginia.gov,DelDYancey@house.virginia.gov,DelJYost@house.virginia.gov,

Senate Education Committee

http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?151+com+S4

Senate Education Committee email addresses. Copy and paste directly into the “To” link of your email.

district35@senate.virginia.gov,district11@senate.virginia.gov,district18@senate.virginia.gov,district32@senate.virginia.gov,district23@senate.virginia.gov,district02@senate.virginia.gov,district39@senate.virginia.gov,district19@senate.virginia.gov,district08@senate.virginia.gov,district13@senate.virginia.gov,district40@senate.virginia.gov,district22@senate.virginia.gov,district34@senate.virginia.gov, district14@senate.virginia.gov, district06@senate.virginia.gov

 IT’S FAST AND EASY TO SEND ONE QUICK EMAIL TO ALL OF THE COMMITTEE MEMBERS!

But you could call their Richmond office numbers, since they’re in session now!  And spend 3-5 minutes letting them know that dyslexia is important to your family and you would like them ‘to sponsor SB 1386 (Senate Bill) and HB2374 (House Bill)’!  THAT’S IT!  EASY!

Sample for your Senator:

Phone call:  “Hello, this is XXXX, I live in Senator XXXX district.  I am calling today because I support SB1386 introduced by Senator Jill Vogel.  Dyslexia is an important issue and impacts my family, this bill will help support both teachers and students with dyslexia in VA.  I would like to ask for your office to support this bill by cosponsoring it.  Thank you for your time and service.”

Letter/email: 
Dear Senator XXXXX
I am reaching out today because I support SB1386 introduced by Senator Jill Vogel.  Dyslexia is an important issue and impacts my family, this bill will help support both teachers and students with dyslexia in VA.  I would like to ask for your office to support this bill by cosponsoring it.  Thank you for your time and service.
Sincerely,
xxxxxxx
123 any st
anytown, VA 12345

Samples for your Delegate

Phone call:
“Hello, this is XXXX, I live in Delegate XXXX district.  I am calling today because I support HB2374 introduced by Delegate Ben Cline.  Dyslexia is an important issue and impacts my family, this bill will help support both teachers and students with dyslexia in VA.  I would like to ask for your office to support this bill by cosponsoring it.  Thank you for your time and service.”

Letter/email: 
Dear Delegate XXXXX
I am reaching out today because I support HB2374 introduced by Delegate Ben Cline.  Dyslexia is an important issue and impacts my family, this bill will help support both teachers and students with dyslexia in VA.  I would like to ask for your office to support this bill by cosponsoring it.  Thank you for your time and service.
Sincerely,
xxxxxxx
123 any st
anytown, VA 12345

If you’d like some dyslexia specific facts, check out this link:

https://decodingdyslexiava.wordpress.com/talking-points/

Want to join us?

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Thinking about joining us

to comment at either

Senate Education Committee and/or the House Education Committee

What you need to know:

The Senate Education Committee meets Thursdays at 8:00 am in Senate Room B

The House Education Committee meets Mondays and Wednesdays at 8:00 am in House Room D

We will need to watch the agendas/dockets for those meetings to make sure they will be reviewing and hearing comments on the bill we are supporting.  We are watching for SB1386 introduced by Senator Vogel on the Senate side and for HB2374 introduced by Del Cline on the House side.

Senate Ed docket:  http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?151+doc+DOCS04

House Ed docket:  http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?151+doc+H0910126

After all that being said, we will look to arrive 20-30 min prior.

February 3, 2015 – Capitol Day

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RSVP Here:  http://www.eventbrite.com/e/ddva-dyslexia-awareness-day-tickets-15353373353?aff=ehomesaved 

Date of Meeting: 2/3/2015

Time of Meeting: 9:30 AM
Location: 7th Floor West Conference Room

7th Floor West Conference Room General Assembly Building http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/includes/contentTemplate.php?tid=94&ctype=t&cid=94

When: 9:30-11:30am Reception

  • Light refreshments to be served
  • Short presentation:  Decoding Dyslexia VA
  • Meetings with State Representatives
DDVA families, policy makers, educators and professionals: Please join us in Richmond to raise awareness about the importance of properly identifying dyslexia in public school students, providing educators with the appropriate training in dyslexia and in proper remediation for dyslexia. We look forward to working with all of you.

Following the reception, opportunities for Gallery seats to observe the State Session, as well as Capitol tours may be available.  This opportunity is dependent on RSVP’s and is subject to change with no advanced notice.

We encourage families and individuals who join us on the 3rd to reach out to your representatives.  Invite them to the reception or schedule to meet with a member of their staff some time during the day.  DDVA members will be available to join the conversations or offer talking points, if needed.  The goal of the day is to visit with as many State Representatives as possible.

2015 DDVA Session Update

Hello all,
DDVA is preparing for the 2015 Session.  We have done our very best to educate the state representatives on our issues and what we believe those solutions should look like in terms of law.  We have been reminded over and over by our champions at the state level that the goal is to get our issue on the floor.  We will have little control over what may be presented but what we WILL be able to do is, we will be given the opportunity to address our issue in front of our representatives at committee and to keep the dyslexia discussion alive.
I wish I had a bill number or two to pass along at this time but as of today, I do not.  I am confident we will see something.  But I do have an ask…. with the anticipation of bills being introduced, we will need to be prepared to give public testimony.  If each of you could prepare your public comment and have it ready, we will be prepared when the time comes.  
Whether the bills that are introduced are perfect or not, we can share our experiences in that testimony, driving home the need for change.  If we have the opportunity to submit written comment, to flood the committee with stories of dyslexia will make an impact and support those who are able to make the trip to Richmond in person.  If you would like to send any testimony to me, I will get a file started for the 2015 session, please include your name and address.
Please share this email with any and all families who have expressed an interest in seeing change for our dyslexic children. please see below a sample of a public comment to help.  As always please feel free to reach out for further discussion. decodingdyslexiava@yahoo.com
Cheers,
Kristin Kane
Parent

Public Comment Sample:

My name is Jane Doe and I am from Anytown, VA.  I currently have three children attending public schools in Any County Public School System.  My second child is a middle school student and is currently being served by an IEP for SLD.  My son is dyslexic, the dyslexia that is defined in our Virginia State Code.  He is well above average in intelligence and yet struggles with his ability to read, write and spell.  This deficit, in turn, negatively impacts his access to information he should be receiving in his curriculum.  He currently reads at a 4th grade level, three plus years below his peers, and after recent evaluations done by the school this February, he is in the 2% for his spelling and 17% for his writing.

Every year we meet with each of my son’s teachers to start the year off “right”.  Along with labeling a child for services, comes very real misconceptions of the child’s ability and disability.  As parents, we have found it helpful to advocate for our son in a manner that we hope helps both the team and the student.  And yet I feel compelled to bring to light that this disability, dyslexia, is the most wide spread and accounts for 80% of all SLD IEP’s in the state.

Year after year we do our best to educate the staff that will work with my son and year after year I am amazed at the lack of understanding or even base knowledge of the most common learning disability identified for services.  I want to use the word, “injustice”.  This is an injustice for the families relying on the schools for help, and this is an injustice to the teachers and staff who want to help educate our students.

As a public school mom and member of Decoding Dyslexia VA, I am asking for a plan for Virginia to implement:

  • Teacher/staff training on dyslexia, its warning signs and appropriate intervention strategies
  • Early screening tests for dyslexia
  • Evidenced-based dyslexia remediation programs implemented with fidelity which can be accessed by both general and special education populations
  • Access to appropriate “assistive technologies” in the public school setting for students with dyslexia

Thank you for your time.

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