More students identified with dyslexia received specialized services through special populations this school year as the number of Certified Academic Language Therapists increased.
Dyslexia identification in Waxahachie ISD increased by 100 students from the previous school year. In total, 6.7 percent of the current student population has been identified with dyslexia — that equates to 632 kids.
Since 2014, the district utilized just one CALT certified dyslexia therapist to conduct initial evaluations for students. Currently, there are nine CALT certified therapists. In total, there are 12 dyslexia therapists spread throughout the campuses. Of those, all but three are Certified Academic Language Therapists, but all 12 will be certified by summer.
“This is a higher-level qualification that requires pretty significant training and observation hours,” explained Dyslexia Coordinator Dr. Sarah Holman. “We have two new therapists that are going through the training program now.”
Additionally, two dyslexia therapists are undergoing training to become dual language certified.
Students in grade levels 2-12 utilize “Take Flight,” a two-year program that focuses on remediating reading and spelling skills to an extent to where the general education curriculum is more accessible with minimal accommodations. Students typically complete the program during an off period for 45 minutes, five days a week.
Meanwhile, students in kindergarten and first-grade undergo a unique curriculum that was written by the WISD dyslexia staff. The program was developed from the existing curriculum that meets the criteria from the Texas Education Agency.
Spring 2020 was the first semester for the K-1 dyslexia program to be implemented.
The dyslexia department will also be able to acquire more resources due to the increased allotment through House Bill 3. Based on the number of students enrolled in dyslexia education, WISD will receive approximately $350,000 from the Texas Education Agency within the year, according to the WISD business office. The district is required to spend 100 percent of those funds on dyslexia.
Standard protocol dyslexia instruction and monthly newsletters can be found on the website.