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2024 Spotlight on Structured Literacy #1: Aligning State Literacy Policies & Practices
January 17 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Our first webinar began with Aligning State Literacy Policies & Practices: Connecting the Georgia Council on Literacy (SB 211), the Georgia Early Literacy Act (HB 538), and Georgia’s Dyslexia Efforts (SB 48)
In the past several years, the Georgia General Assembly passed three significant literacy bills – the Georgia Council on Literacy (SB 211), the Georgia Early Literacy Act (HB 538), and Dyslexia Identification and Supports (SB 48). SB 211 created a 30-member Council on Literacy with its primary role to monitor and report on implementation of HB 538. HB 538 requires screening of K-3 students on their reading proficiency three times a year, teacher training in the Science of Reading, approval of high-quality instructional and screening tools, and realignment of teacher certification requirements. SB 48 requires all K-3 students to be screened for dyslexia, the development of a dyslexia informational handbook, professional development opportunities for teachers, and the creation of a dyslexia endorsement for teachers. This presentation will address the alignment of these three legislative measures and the potential impact on changing the trajectory of literacy in Georgia.
Guides & Resources Mentioned During the Presentation:
Aligning State Literacy Policies & Practices: Connecting the Georgia Council on Literacy (SB 211), the Georgia Early Literacy Act (HB 538), and Georgia’s Dyslexia Efforts (SB 48)
This guide is frequently updated.
Literacy and Dyslexia Technical Assistance Chats – GaDOE Community (offered the 3rd Thursday of each month)
These chats serve as an open space for district representatives to talk and ask questions.
The Sandra Dunagan Deal Center’s guidance document: ‘A Psychometric Review of Universal Reading Screeners Approved by the Georgia Department of Education’
This review is intended to provide additional context to the list of screeners approved by GaDOE in response to HB538 in order to support districts in their screener selection process. The GaDOE sent this report to local school systems and charter schools.
Amy Denty, Director of Literacy for The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE), leads the coordinated literacy efforts of the department, including GaDOE’s responsibilities under the Georgia Early Literacy Act. Prior to her present position, Denty served as Instructional Specialist for GaDOE’s Office of Rural Education and Innovation where she facilitated literacy support contracts with Regional Education Service Agencies (RESAs) across Georgia to provide access to literacy professional learning for educators. She served on the committee to develop Georgia’s new ELA standards and served on the Dyslexia Task Force. Denty earned her undergraduate degree in middle school education with an emphasis in science from the
University of Georgia. She completed her interdisciplinary master’s degree in education and natural studies at the University of South Carolina and her Specialist’s degree in education leadership from Georgia Southern University. She was certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, 2001-2021. Currently she is enrolled in the doctoral program at Valdosta State University focusing on teacher retention in rural areas as her dissertation topic. Over the course of her career, Denty taught students from pre K – 8th grade in language arts, science, social studies and mathematics. In 2000, she was named Georgia Teacher of the Year, and was a recipient of the prestigious Milken Educator Award. In shifting from the classroom into administration, Denty served as the K-12 Curriculum Director for the Wayne County School System. In this role, she planned, developed and implemented learning on the science of reading and structured literacy for all of Wayne County’s K-5 teachers, early intervention program teachers, and teachers of English Language Learners. She has spent more than 30 years working in rural schools and is passionate about ensuring that every classroom has a quality teacher who is supported in the most important work – educating students. Denty is a past chair of the Georgia Professional Standards Commission and former president of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE). She also has served on a number of statewide and national commissions, always seeking to be a positive voice for the teaching profession. In her heart of hearts, Denty will always consider herself as a teacher.
Joy Hawkins earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from Georgia State University and a Juris Doctorate Degree from Georgia State College of Law. She began her career in state government in the Senate Research Office where she served as director for five years. She worked under Governor Sonny Perdue’s administration as a Policy Analyst and Deputy Chief Operating Officer. Joy served as Education Director for the Metro Atlanta Chamber, Director of Grants and Scholarships for Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC). She also began the REACH GA Foundation at GSFC where she guided the board’s fundraising efforts to support the program. After leaving GSFC, she led a literacy movement, serving as director of Literacy For All. In 2019, Governor Brian Kemp appointed Joy as Executive Director of Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, a PreK-20 and workforce agency. As part of her current responsibilities, she serves as co-chair of the Georgia Children’s Cabinet and the Georgia Literacy Coordinating Council. Joy is a native of Georgia and has two grown children. She resides in Sandy Springs with her other children, two dogs, Scarlet and Riley.
Dr. Jennifer Lindstrom joined the Teaching and Learning team at GaDOE in September 2021 as the Statewide Dyslexia Coordinator to assist our state as we lift awareness of dyslexia and create stronger, evidence-based supports for students who are experiencing difficulties while learning to read and write. Dr. Lindstrom’s leadership and guidance will ensure that our students get the “best of the best ” from our teachers and schools. Dr. Lindstrom continues to serve as Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Special Education, and as Adjunct Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Georgia. In this role, she directs research focusing on the causes and treatment of dyslexia and other learning disabilities and issues surrounding the provision of accommodations. Dr. Lindstrom is also a member of the International Dyslexia Association’s Board of Directors at both the state and national levels.