October 26, 2001
TO THE SUPERINTENDENT ADDRESSED:
SUBJECT: Student Success Initiative: Accelerated Reading
Beginning with the 1999-2000 school year, school districts and charter schools were required to phase in and implement early intervention programs to accelerate reading instruction for students identified as at-risk for reading difficulties, including dyslexia. Accelerated Reading Instruction (ARI) funding has been appropriated to assist districts in providing this intensive, targeted intervention for identified students on every campus in Kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 2 for the 2001-2002 school year. ARI funding amounts are calculated on the basis of 3rd grade TAAS reading failures, Spring 2001. Each district receives $500 per student, times each grade level addressed. This school year ARI funding will cover grades K, 1 and 2. Districts and charter schools serving students at those grade levels will receive $1500 per 3rd grade TAAS reading failure, however, to ensure that each district serves all students identified as at-risk for reading failure on the basis of early reading assessment(s) administered in grades K, 1 and 2, no district will receive less than $7500.
As specified in TEC Section 28.006, each school district and charter school is required to administer a reading instrument(s) in kindergarten, grade 1 and grade 2. Results of all assessments administered must be reported to the local school board, the Commissioner of Education and in writing to the parent and/or guardian of each individual student.
Data from the early reading instrument(s) should be the primary criteria for student placement in an early intervention program. Identified students should receive additional instruction in the areas of weakness as indicated on the reading instrument(s): phonological awareness, decoding, fluency and comprehension. The school district is also required to notify the parent or guardian of each student in K, 1 or 2 who has been identified, on the basis of reading instrument results, to be at-risk for reading difficulties, including dyslexia. This notification may be delivered in person or through the regular mail. Districts should aggregate early reading instrument data after each administration to determine how to use ARI funding to meet the needs of identified students on every campus at each funded grade level. Assessment results and ARI expenditures will ultimately be linked to the performance of these identified students on the reading portion of the Grade 3 Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) beginning in 2003.
The Student Success Initiative passed by the 76th Legislature requires that third grade students must pass the reading portion of the TAKS during the 2002-2003 school year in order to be promoted to grade 4. The third grade students who will take the new assessment in 2002-2003 are now in second grade. Since these second grade children will be the first students to have to pass a new third grade test, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) is taking focused steps to assist school districts in preparing these second grade students to read at or above grade level by grade 3 and evidence success on the new assessment. These efforts include the ongoing Teacher Reading Academy training for second grade teachers that began this past summer, the provision of diagnostic assessment instruments from the Commissioner's Approved List of Early Reading Instruments, and the allocation of ARI funding for early intervention efforts on every campus. In addition, districts should provide the parent and/or guardian of every child in grades K, 1 and 2 with information about the requirements of law regarding testing and the Student Success Initiative. A brochure entitled Student Success Initiative, A Parent Guide to Testing Requirements has been designed to assist districts with this notification process. It can be found on the TEA website at:
A comprehensive program in grades K, 1 and 2 should provide instruction in all critical areas of reading - phonemic awareness, alphabetic principle, decoding, fluency, vocabulary development and comprehension. In addition, the attached information on Accelerated Reading Instruction: At a Minimum provides six recommendations to guide instruction for each second grade student who has been identified as being below grade level after diagnostic assessment at the beginning of the school year. Reading Liaisons at each Education Service Center (ESC) and program managers in the Office of Statewide Initiatives at TEA are available to provide additional technical assistance in the areas of instruction for students placed in early intervention programs.
We will continue to provide you with information and suggestions for working with this targeted population of students. We also anticipate asking you to provide us with additional data and information, including end-of-year achievement data, concerning these students to ensure success in 2003. If you have additional questions concerning ARI funding or our specific recommendations for expenditure of funds, please contact the Office of Statewide Initiatives, Texas Education Agency, (512) 463-9027.
|A MS Word Version of this letter is available for download.|
For further information on this topic, contact the Office of Statewide Initiatives, Texas Education Agency, (512) 463-9027.