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City Schools of Decatur hosting dyslexia awareness webinar on Oct. 28

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City Schools of Decatur hosting dyslexia awareness webinar on Oct. 28

Elizabeth Wilson School Support Center, City Schools of Decatur. Photo by Dean Hesse.

This story has been updated.

Decatur, GA — City Schools of Decatur has received $15,000 in grants from the International Dyslexia Association to help fund Orton-Gillingham training for the district’s staff, according to a CSD Facebook post.

The district is hosting some community outreach events about dyslexia. The International Dyslexia Association will be partnering with CSD to host a virtual forum on Thursday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m. to spotlight the school system’s work and training around dyslexia, as well as an informational session by IDA.

The webinar will being with IDA-GA board members Jennifer Burch and Amelia Morel explaining what dyslexia is, the importance of early identification and intervention, and what structured literacy is.

CSD will also present the work the district is doing to raise awareness about dyslexia and promote structured literacy in the schools. There will be time to ask questions at the end of the webinar.

In accordance with SB 48, the district created a dyslexia pilot program earlier this year. The goal of the program is to identify students who may have characteristics of dyslexia and provide support to them as early as possible.

“The results from these assessments are not intended or designed to diagnose dyslexia. Their purpose is to identify children who are experiencing reading difficultly that may require extra support, and ensure support is targeted to each student’s [instructional] needs,” District Reading Coach Katrina Smith-Paggett said at the May 11 School Board meeting. “The dyslexia pilot is data driven, and student centered. Our two tier one programs…Fundations and ARC Core both support students with characteristics of dyslexia, while building all students literacy skills with research based instructional practice.”

The Fundations program is a multi-sensory structured literacy curriculum that is based on the Orton-Gillingham approach and ensures that all students receive instruction based on students’ instructional needs.

This work falls under City Schools of Decatur’s goal of using consistent standards-aligned core materials in all classrooms. The district has implemented Fundations, a structured phonics program in grades kindergarten through third, and adopted the American Reading Company core literacy program in kindergarten through fifth grade.

“In addition, we have provided the opp for our teachers to receive Orton-Gilingham training,” Director of ELA and Social Studies Courtney Simon said at the Oct. 12 School Board meeting. “We are so excited to share that over 20 teachers chose to use some of their summer vacation to attend a full-day, two-week training program. Currently, we have 20 additional teachers engaged in the same program on Saturdays and we have six staff members working to become certified OG educators.”

Assistant Superintendent Kristy Beam said at the Oct. 12 board meeting that the Orton-Gillingham training is great for all students, but is also “incredibly impactful for students with characteristics of dyslexia.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the legislation number assigned by the General Assembly. The story has been updated with the correct information. 

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