Wrightslaw: Special Education and Advocacy Conference
Decoding Dyslexia Minnesota is pleased to host Wrightslaw: Special Education & Advocacy Conference on September 20, 2018. The speaker, Pete Wright, is a well-known national attorney representing children with special educational needs and an author of several books on this topic. Register here.
DDMN Teacher Survey 2018
DDMN conducted a teacher survey to find out more about the learning opportunities for dyslexia in teacher preparation programs and professional development. Click here to see the results.
The 2018 legislative session has ended.
While we still hold onto hope for a special session we have an update.
Mandatory Screening, Educator Professional Development, and clarification on the MDE Dyslexia Specialist role made it through various hurdles this session and were included in the final 1,000 page omnibus bill. Per Governor Dayton's request, the dyslexia screening provision was removed during negotiations due to lack of funding. After that, our governor vetoed the entire bill.
While we walk away from session without the legislative wins desired to improve educational outcomes for students with dyslexia, my heart aches for children who will struggle unnecessarily without the public resources they have a right to. Yet, I will not look at the situation as a “win or lose” equation. Rather, I will frame my thoughts in the manner of “win or learn.” We learned incredibly this session and those learnings bring many gains!
- Relationships, inroads, and understanding of our goals were built with policymakers and organizations.
- We have raised dyslexia awareness at the Capitol and have gathered tremendous bipartisan support for students who struggle.
- The word, dyslexia was mentioned in many committee meetings this session and is on the minds of our legislators.
- Decoding Dyslexia Minnesota was invited to be part of and share our perspective on the Special Education task committee.
- The teacher’s union, Education Minnesota, is planning educator professional development modules on dyslexia for both summer seminar and MEA!
- Schools for Equity in Education (SEE) invited us to present and discuss dyslexia, our mission and policy to their members from across the state last week.
While disappointed in the current legislative status, and the inability to prioritize the education of all children above politics, I am confident in the direction we are moving. DDMN remains steadfast in our mission to provide resource and support for children and their educators. We will continue working toward our policy goals.
We ask that you remain by our side as we continue the journey to ensure that educational needs of MN students with dyslexia are met! The momentum we have would not be possible without the vocal parents and educators in our communities who keep driving legislators to prioritize dyslexia. Keep using your voice and story to advocate for student needs with your legislators and the new governor! Each “learning” year prepares us for the next win!
Yours in advocacy,
Decoding Dyslexia Minnesota
2018 Dyslexia Day Rally
We had many Legislators show up and speak, lead a chant, or quietly observe from the second floor. If you missed it, please print the Dyslexia Poster and mail to your MN Senator and MN Representative with a photo of your child attached. We are lining the hallways/doors with "Faces of Dyslexia"!
MDE has created a Dyslexia Screening Guide for school districts
MDE has put together a Dyslexia Screening Guide for MN School districts to help them be compliant with the new dyslexia screening law. The following question would be a great question to ask your school district, "What was the reporting results that our district provided to MDE on 7/1/2017 about our efforts to screen and identify students with dyslexia (MN Statute 120B.12, Subd 2)?"
Find the Dyslexia Screening Guide on the MDE website called Revising Local Literacy Plans to Include “Efforts to Identify Students with Dyslexia - 8/16/17" This guidance is provided to address district response to students with dyslexia under Minnesota's reading intervention law. Another document called Assessment Plan References was also created by MDE providing assessments that are used by districts across the state.
Parents Advocacy For Struggling Readers - What Does MN Law have to say?
"My school doesn’t say dyslexia."
In 2015, the definition of dyslexia was passed into MN Statute 125A.01, Subd 2. The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) also says dyslexia.
"Our school doesn’t have any resources on dyslexia."
A comprehensive guide was developed by MDE and Decoding Dyslexia MN called “Navigating the School System when a Child is Struggling with Reading or Dyslexia”. and can be found under Parent Resources.
In 2017, funds were appropriated for MDE to hire a Dyslexia Specialist to provide technical assistance for dyslexia, to serve as the primary source of information, to support schools in addressing the needs of students with dyslexia, and to increase professional awareness and instructional competencies to meet the needs of these students (MN Statute 120B.122).
"How are schools identifying and serving students that have characteristics of dyslexia?"
MN Statute 120B.12, Subd 2, states that each school district must report to MDE their “efforts to screen and identify students with dyslexia to the commissioner by July 1st of each year.” A student identified must be provided with alternative instruction under MN Statute 125A.56 Subd 1, that is multisensory, systematic, sequential, cumulative, and explicit.
In 2017, MN Statute 120B.12, Subd 3b, was changed to state that a “school district is strongly encouraged to provide a Personal Learning Plan for a student who is unable to demonstrate grade-level proficiency, and should be developed in consultation with the student’s parent or guardian. The personal learning plan must address knowledge gaps and skill deficiencies”.
"My school wants to stop reading intervention since my child is past 3rd grade."
In 2017, an amendment was added to MN Statute 120B.12, Subd 3, stating that the district must continue to provide reading intervention past 3rd grade until the child is reading at grade level.
"How do I know what assessments our elementary school provides to track reading progress?"
Each school district is required to have a Local Literacy Plan posted on its website per MN Statute 120B.12, Subd 4a, that explains the school’s “plan to have every child reading at or above grade level no later than the end of grade 3”. If you can’t find it on your district’s website, ask for it.
For a printable version of the above statements, click here.
For a longer version including the statute language, click here.
You can contact Decoding Dyslexia Minnesota at firstname.lastname@example.org