Monthly Archives: November 2015


High Expectations Dear Colleague Letter

The US Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) issued a new Dear Colleague letter November 16, 2015 regarding that a student’s IEP must be aligned to the State’s academic content standards for the grade in which the child is enrolled
.  Typically, examples are not given in guidance letters, but a Specific Learning Disability (SLD) in reading is the example used in this letter.

EXCERPT (from pages 5-6):

For example, after reviewing recent evaluation data for a sixth grade child with a specific learning disability, the IEP Team determines that the child is reading four grade levels below his current grade; however, his listening comprehension is on grade level.  The child’s general education teacher and special education teacher also note that when materials are read aloud to the child he is able to understand grade-level content.

Based on these present levels of performance and the child’s individual strengths and weaknesses, the IEP Team determines he should receive specialized instruction to improve his reading fluency.  Based on the child’s rate of growth during the previous school year, the IEP Team estimates that with appropriate specialized instruction the child could achieve an increase of at least 1.5 grade levels in reading fluency.

To ensure the child can learn material based on sixth grade content standards (e.g., science and history content), the IEP Team determines the child should receive modifications for all grade-level reading assignments.  His reading assignments would be based on sixth grade content but would be shortened to assist with reading fatigue resulting from his disability.   In addition, he would be provided with audio text books and electronic versions of longer reading assignments that he can access through synthetic speech.

With this specialized instruction and these support services, the IEP would be designed to enable the child to be involved and make progress in the general education curriculum based on the State’s sixth grade content standards, while still addressing the child’s needs based on the child’s present levels of performance.


Pickerington Schools Say Dyslexia



Pickerington Mayor Lee Gray will be at the Pickerington Schools Board of Education meeting Monday, November 16th at 7pm to present a Dyslexia Awareness Month proclamation to Blythe Wood, Academic and Behavioral Coach for the district as well as a COBIDA board member, who is hard at work training the district’s teachers in Orton-Gillingham.

On October 30, 2015, Pickerington Schools posted the following on facebook:

Congratulations to 12 of our great teachers, who recently completed the Orton Gillingham/Multisensory Language Education training program. The training is “a direct, systematic and sequential instruction that empowers educators to teach the foundation of the English language.”

The following teachers completed the training: Jennifer Barstow and Jenny Nihiser (Harmon), Kristen Drummond (Fairfield), Heather Carberry (Tussing), Julie Linstedt and Sarah Smith (Sycamore Creek), Lora Skirpan and Mary Beth Johann (Violet), Danielle Terry and Nicky Holland (Toll Gate Elementary), Sharon Hannah (Central), and Stephanie Schmitz (Diley.)

Five of these teachers sat for and passed the national Alliance individual certification exam for Orton Gillingham and are able to identify themselves as Certified Academic Language Practitioners. Those teachers were Ms. Hannah, Ms. Skirpan, Ms. Carberry, Ms. Schmitz and Ms. Drummond.

The training consists of 60 lecture hours, 100 supervised practicum hours, three literature reviews and 10 chapter summaries from a college textbook.

The district currently is training its second set of teachers in the program.