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Dyslexia Legislation Overview

 

 

The District of Columbia defines literacy as the ability to talk, listen, read and write leading to the ability to communicate and learn. It is a combination of skills in vocabulary, receptive and expressive language, phonological awareness, knowledge of print, comprehension and printed materials.

As the state education agency for the District of Columbia, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) plays a critical role in ensuring that teachers have the knowledge and skills they need to support students in becoming competent, confident and joyful readers. Under its 2023-25 strategic plan, OSSE committed to improving literacy: “OSSE, in partnership with stakeholders and building upon existing investments, develops and promotes a citywide vision for literacy instruction, grounded in the science of reading, and provides a suite of instructional resources and trainings for aspiring and current educators, in order to improve the quality of literacy instruction students receive.” – OSSE 2023-25 Strategic Plan

OSSE is leading on several critical projects to ensure educators and students are well supported, including the implementation of DC Law 23-191 Addressing Dyslexia and Other Reading Difficulties Amendment Act of 2020.

Overview

OSSE must implement the following as outlined by DC Law 23-191:

  • Provide professional development opportunities for local education agencies (LEAs) that will enable educators to understand and recognize reading difficulties, screen for reading difficulties, and implement instruction to meet the educational needs of students at risk for dyslexia and reading difficulties.
  • Provide awareness training on dyslexia for all LEA educators.
  • Provide a list of recommended screening instruments for identifying students who may be at risk of students who are at risk of reading difficulties.
  • Provide guidance on:
    • How to identify if a student has one or more reading difficulties, including how to distinguish whether an English learner's reading issue is due to a reading difficulty or is associated with learning English as a second language;
    • Proper protocols and procedures for screening students for potential reading difficulties; and
    • Specialized, multi-tiered remediation and intervention instruction that is grounded in science-based reading instruction, intended for a general education setting and designed to support students who are identified as being at risk of having reading difficulties.
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) For DC Law 23-191 Addressing Dyslexia and Other Reading Difficulties Amendment Act of 2020

Understanding Dyslexia

  • Defining dyslexia: Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Dyslexia may have secondary consequences that include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.
  • Resources:

Annual Dyslexia Awareness Training

Screening for Dyslexia and Reading Difficulties

Science-Based Literacy Programs

Resources for Supporting Students with Dyslexia and Reading Difficulties

Compliance Reporting:

  • Beginning Oct. 31, 2023, and by Oct. 31 of each year thereafter, District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) shall send a letter to OSSE reporting whether each DCPS school has complied with the requirements set forth in this title in the previous school year. If a DCPS school has failed to comply with one of more sections of this title, DCPS shall state the name of the school, the deficiency and the timeline for curing said deficiency.
    • OSSE shall make publicly available the DCPS compliance letter within 10 business days of Oct. 31.
  • Beginning Oct. 31, 2023, and by Oct. 31 of each year thereafter, each public charter LEA shall send a letter to the Public Charter School Board (PCSB) reporting whether each public charter school within the LEA has complied with the requirements set forth in this title in the previous school year. If a public charter school has failed to comply with one of more sections of this title, the public charter school LEA shall state the name of the school, the deficiency, and the timeline for curing the deficiency. By Nov. 15, 2023, and by Nov. 15 of each year thereafter, the PCSB shall transmit a copy of each letter to OSSE.
    • OSSE shall make publicly available the compliance letters within 10 business days of Nov. 15.