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Fredrick County, MD: Parents say $500K for dyslexia NOT ENOUGH; calls for $300K more

Feb 9, 2019, Fredrick (MD) News-Post: Parents say they pulled their children out of FCPS over dyslexia intervention shortcomings After nearly two years of attending board meetings, hiring lawyers and banding together to form a Frederick County chapter of Decoding Dyslexia, two advocates said they removed their children who are diagnosed with dyslexia from Frederick County Public Schools this year because the schools did not provide adequate interventions. These advocates say other families have done the same in Frederick County — a trend that state-level advocates say is common as districts in Maryland continue to struggle to meet students’ literacy needs. … But the response from school districts to parent calls for improved screening, teacher training and tiered curriculum for students diagnosed with and showing indications of dyslexia has been a slow process, in Frederick County and across Maryland. Advocates are aiming to push forward legislation that would require early reading screenings and consistent interventions statewide, and local advocates say numerous recent complaints to the state of Maryland from Frederick County alone involve diagnosing and providing interventions for students with dyslexia. Last year, FCPS added $500,000 to its budget for the implementation of a structured literacy program, more training and the expansion of pilot programs. One year later, Decoding Dyslexia advocates in Frederick County say it’s not enough. A handful of parents spoke at a public forum for feedback on the school board’s draft fiscal 2020 budget on Wednesday, asking that an additional $300,000 be added to the budget for increased teacher training, early screenings and an expansion of the curriculum. Advocates say FCPS’ five-year contract with the Atlantic Seaboard Dyslexia Education Center, which includes resources and training for a structured literacy program, doesn’t offer enough variety in intensity of interventions, leaving out students with more severe cases of dyslexia…. Frederick County is ahead of the curve in Maryland in its response to calls for change from parents of students with dyslexia, according to Laura Schultz, a co-founder of the state’s Decoding Dyslexia group who works with local chapters and districts across the state. Schultz said FCPS is a “pocket of promise” in the state, showing proactivity and awareness of the deficit in training and programming that she doesn’t see in every county in Maryland…. More parents have pulled their children out, Marla said, but many cannot speak publicly about their experiences because of confidentiality agreements reached in mediation with the school system….


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