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Dyslexia Working Group

News

The application window for one available position on the Dyslexia Working Group has been extended to March 18, 2022.  The working group was established in the 2019 legislative session by the Colorado General Assembly through House Bill 19-1134.  The legislation directs the Commissioner of Education to convene a Dyslexia Working Group to improve the identification of and educational support for students with dyslexia to improve their educational outcomes. 

The following open position is available:

  • A principal who is employed at an elementary school in a rural school district.

Membership will be determined through an application process through this link. Applications are due by 5:00 PM on Friday, April 1, 2022. CDE will notify applicants no later than Friday, Friday, April 15, 2022. 

To achieve a diverse membership, applications will be reviewed based on the consideration of geographical representation and individual knowledge and experience for the required representative of the working group.

Questions can be sent to Melissa Colsman at colsman_m@cde.state.co.us


Background Information

During the 2019 legislative session, the Colorado General Assembly passed House Bill 19-1134 (PDF), Identification and Interventions for Students with Dyslexia.  The bill created a working group appointed by the Commissioner of Education to analyze state and national data and practices concerning identification and support of students with dyslexia.  The working group is also tasked with recommending dyslexia screening tools and processes, a statewide plan for identifying and supporting students with dyslexia, and educator training in recognizing and providing interventions for students with dyslexia. The working group must annually submit a report of its recommendations to the Commissioner, and the Commissioner must submit the report to the State Board of Education and the education committees of the General Assembly.

The bill also establishes a pilot program to assist local education providers in using READ Act assessments to screen for dyslexia and in providing interventions for students who are identified as having dyslexia. More information about the pilot program will be available in the late fall of 2020.

For questions regarding the Dyslexia Working Group, please contact Melissa Colsman at 303.866.6737 or Colsman_M@cde.state.co.us.


Working Group Facilitation

Deborah Hunsaker, M.ED. serves as the facilitator of the Dyslexia Working Group.  Ms. Hunsaker shares the CDE’s strong commitment to improved Dyslexia screening, identification, and support for Colorado’s students. The primary roles of the facilitator are to manage the working group meetings and record the working group’s recommendations in a final report. All meeting agendas and summaries are publicly available on this webpage.


Focus of the Dyslexia Working Group

Each year, the Dyslexia working group determines a focus area for their work based on the legislative charge for the group.  The Dyslexia Working Group has following tasked outline in statute:

  1. Analyze current national and statewide data related to students identified as having dyslexia, including but not limited to identification rates and achievement rates;
  2. Analyze the implementation and demonstrated effectiveness in other states of statewide legislation for dyslexia screening, educator training, and other dyslexia related laws;
  3. Identify and recommend appropriate dyslexia screening tools and processes as well as comprehensive assessments that address the recognized challenges of dyslexia, including phonological processing, phonemic awareness, and decoding and encoding skills;
  4. Identify and recommend a statewide plan for supporting students who are identified as having dyslexia, including specific intervention structures and their components, which must include evidence-based interventions, progress-monitoring systems, and data collection systems.
  5. Identify and recommend components of dyslexia awareness training for Colorado educators, including the content, target audience, time frame for training, and projected cost; 
  6. Identify and recommend educator training for in-state approved programs of preparation for teacher and alternative teacher programs and recommended training for current educators, based on effective practice in other states, as well as recommendation from state and national organizations focusing on literacy.  The recommendations concerning educator training may include the content, target audience, time frame for training, and projected cost; and
  7. Provide recommendations to the Department concerning the design and implementation of the pilot program. 

In addition, the Dyslexia Working Group must, “analyze and integrate, as appropriate, the work and recommendations of other previous and ongoing state initiative related to improving the identification and support of students who have dyslexia.” 

The outcomes for each year of the Dyslexia Working Group are outlined in an annual report.  The annual reports for the following years are available to download:


2021- 2022 Meeting Dates and Locations

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most meetings of the Dyslexia Working Group for the 2021-22 school year are anticipated to be held remotely.  If conditions permit, the Dyslexia Working Group may meet in person following proper health protocols.  The meetings are open to the public; however, only working group members have an active role in the meetings.  The Dyslexia Working Group meetings are scheduled for the following dates below. 

2019-2020 Past Meeting Dates, Locations, and Meeting Notes


Membership

HB 19-1134 specifies that the membership of the Dyslexia Working Group consist of the following:

  • A parent of a child who is identified as having dyslexia
  • A parent of a child who is identified as having dyslexia and a disability
  • A school district literacy specialist
  • A school district director of special education
  • A state or national literacy expert
  • A state or national dyslexia expert
  • Two elementary grade teachers, one of whom teaches in a rural school district or a small rural school district
  • A principal who is employed at an elementary school in a rural school district or an employee of a board of cooperative services who has expertise as a literacy specialist
  • A faculty member of an institution of higher education who teaches in an approved educator preparation program for elementary grade teachers
  • A member of the local chapter of an international dyslexia association

 

 

Dyslexia Working Group Members

Jamie Brackney

Tamara Durbin

Kathleen Grubb

Holly Hill

Karin Johnson

Sierra Loar

Jay Mayer

Kathy McCall

Rita Robinson

Laura Santerre-Lemmon

Jennifer Urbach