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News – International Dyslexia Association Georgia Branch

IDA-GA’s Feedback to GA DOE Regarding Georgia’s Proposed ESSA Plan

July 14, 2017                                                                                                                                                                                        

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the nation’s new education law, requires states to develop plans that address standards, assessments, school and district accountability, and special help for struggling schools and students.  July 14, 2017, was the last day to provide feedback to the Georgia Department of Education regarding its draft of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). On September 18, 2017, the final State Plan will be submitted, and once approved, this education law will be in effect for some time to come. IDA-GA, Decoding Dyslexia, and Understood.org shared thoughts on Georgia’s plan and each submitted formal feedback.  IDA-GA submitted the feedback via the survey link provided by the GA DOE, and an email was sent to Governor Nathan Deal and Georgia’s School Superintendent Richard Woods.

The International Dyslexia Association Georgia’s response (7/14/2017):

Read more…


IDA Georgia Successfully Funds Three Separate Training Opportunities for 30 Forsyth County Public School Teachers

July 11, 2017                                                                                                                                                                                           The International Dyslexia Association – Georgia Branch (IDA-GA) has successfully funded three separate training opportunities for 30 Forsyth County Public School teachers this summer. Parents and teachers of the Dyslexia Network of Forsyth initiated the program focused on reading instruction and reached out to IDA-GA for the funding.

The Orton-Gillingham Approach training is focused on understanding dyslexia, characteristics of the dyslexic learner, specific procedures for teaching these students primarily in reading and spelling, and administration of informal assessments.

Taught by the Dyslexia Resource Trust in partnership with The Schenck School, the training is free to teachers. Funds to provide this free training were raised entirely by the volunteer efforts of IDA-GA. Sponsorship and donations come from the organization’s Dyslexia Dash 5K Run/Walk held each year in October during Dyslexia Awareness Month and other fundraising efforts.

These 30-hour training courses attended by both elementary school special education, general classroom, and one learning coach educator provides reading instruction not only essential to struggling readers, but instruction beneficial for all young readers. The Orton-Gillingham Approach meets the Knowledge and Practice Standards for Reading established by the International Dyslexia Association.

According to Colleen Beguiristain and Tina McGinley of the Dyslexia Network of Forsyth, taking 30-70 hours of Orton-Gillingham training is grueling work yet teachers returned each day enthusiastic and excited to learn more.

“They are so appreciative of this opportunity. Many of them have been begging for this kind of training for a long time,” noted Beguiristain. “This training is a great example of what parents and teachers can accomplish together to improve education for all students.”

Teachers receiving this training have already been engaged for feedback and will be followed quarterly to determine how the instruction impacts student performance. They have been given the option for observations and formal feedback to ensure fidelity of the training.

Read full press release here…


Georgia Governor Nathan Deal once again declares October as Dyslexia Awareness Month in Georgia

October 1, 2016

IDA-GA would like to thank Georgia Governor Nathan Deal for once again declaring October as Dyslexia Awareness Month in Georgia!
The proclamation reads:
BY THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF GEORGIA
A PROCLAMATION
DYSLEXIA AWARENESS MONTH

Whereas: Dyslexia is a learning disability that is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and poor spelling and decoding abilities. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge. Ten to twenty in every hundred children struggle with dyslexia; and

Whereas: Research shows that a child who finishes second grade without being able to read has only a one in four chance of reading at grade level by the end of elementary school. If a child receives help early, in kindergarten or first grade, that child has a 90-95 percent chance of becoming a fluent reader. If identified early, a learning disability can be treated and the majority of children with learning disabilities will have the opportunity to reach their potential; and

Whereas: Only a limited percentage of society and the academic community are aware of how to access and implement treatment options for dyslexia. Such options can be found through organizations like the International Dyslexia Association; and

Whereas: The most successful treatment for dyslexia depends on its early recognition. Although symptoms of dyslexia are evident as early as Pre-K age, most children who have this learning disability are not diagnosed until much later when treatment is much more difficult and after they have fallen behind their peers academically; and

Whereas: Dyslexia Awareness Month provides an opportunity for families whose lives have been affected by dyslexia to honor dedicated education and health care professionals who address the needs of this disability. This month also affords us an opportunity to share information with the public, parents, teachers and all others about dyslexia; now

Therefore: I, NATHAN DEAL, Governor of the State of Georgia, do hereby proclaim October 2015 as DYSLEXIA AWARENESS MONTH in Georgia and encourage our citizens to increase awareness, education, and services for the recognition and treatment of dyslexia for the thousands of dyslexic children and adults in our state.

In witness thereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the Executive Department to be affixed this 24th day of September in the year of our Lord thousand fifteen.


IDA-GA is seeking new board members!

September 1, 2016

The International Dyslexia Association-Georgia Branch is currently accepting applications for open Board Member positions. We are seeking enthusiastic participants willing to volunteer their time and energy towards increasing public awareness of dyslexia.

All board members will need to attend a monthly board meeting as well as participate on committees and volunteer/attend our annual conference and Dyslexia Dash. Board membership is a three-year commitment with the option to serve a second term.

If you are interested in submitting an application to become an IDA-GA Board of Director, please click here…

The application must be completed by Wednesday, September 28, 2016.

We look forward to your participation!

IDA Georgia Branch Nominations Committee


IDA Georgia Announces Henry Winkler to Speak on Dyslexia

January 8, 2015

(Atlanta, Georgia, January 8, 2015) – The International Dyslexia Association – Georgia Branch (IDA-GA) will host a unique symposium as part of their annual Dimensions of Dyslexia series featuring actor, director, producer and best-selling author Henry Winkler. The event will take place at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 7, 2015. at Georgia State’s Rialto Center for the Arts in Atlanta, Georgia.

Winkler, who is dyslexic, gained fame as the Fonz on “Happy Days,” and is known in recent years for recurring roles on Arrested Development, Parks and Recreation and Royal Pains. Henry has new Hank Zipzer books in his series for children, which further chronicle Hank’s adventures. With wisdom and humor, Winkler will discuss his children’s books and his own challenges with dyslexia.

According to Winkler, “I was told I was lazy. I was told I was stupid. But what I learned is that how you learn has nothing to do with how brilliant you are. A learning challenge does not have to stop from meeting your dream. You cannot give in to your fear. If I can live my dream, there is no reason you can’t also.”

Following Mr. Winkler’s discussion, a panel of experts will discuss navigating resources and uncovering strategies for dyslexic students and adults. A book signing will follow at 10:30 a.m.  Tickets for this event are available online at http://bit.ly/IDAGAWinkler


Georgia mourns the loss of Schenck School founder, David Schenck

December 31, 2014

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, by Elizabeth Montgomery, December 31, 2014 — David Schenck dedicated his life to improving the lives of children with dyslexia. Schenck and his wife, the late Dorothy Hall, founded the Atlanta-based Schenck School in 1959. Described by his colleagues as a mix between Albert Einstein and Willy Wonka, Schenck was: “A brilliant man, very smart, astute and fun-loving; children gravitated to him,”said Gena Calloway, head of the school.

David Tuttle Schenck died Dec. 23 of a progressive pulmonary disease. He was 93. A memorial service will be held early in 2015, and details will be posted on the school’s website once they are finalized.

In 1952, Schenck applied for teaching positions at The Rectory School in Connecticut. The school was connected to Waya-Awi, a Maine-based summer camp for dyslexic children. There, Schenck was introduced to the Orton-Gillingham language-based, multisensory approach to reading, spelling and writing.

“He had a great deal of empathy for these kids,”said his friend Bob Hill.

In 1958, Schenck obtained a master’s degree in education from Emory University and was a reading specialist at Georgia Military Academy, now called Woodward Academy. He realized tutoring struggling students for 30 minutes a day was not going to, in his own words, “keep them from failing.”

“What he did was, take a teaching approach that was usually done one-on-one and developed a way for it to be taught in a classroom,”said family friend Vicki Ahnrud.

In 1959, Schenck and his wife opened The Reading School with seven students in the basement of St. Anne’s Episcopal Church. The school was renamed The Schenck School in 1965. The school moved several times before finding its current home on Mount Paran Road. “He set out to change the education landscape, creating a full-time learning environment where our students are able to reach their full academic potential,”said Calloway. Today, the school has an annual enrollment of 250 students in grades kindergarten through six. “I’ve seen the impact in my family of what a school can do,”said Hill, whose son and grandchildren have gone to the Schenck School. “Having schools like this is what makes Atlanta the kind of city we want it to be,”Hill added. “It enriches the character of the city.”

David is survived by his four children, David H. Schenck of Atlanta; Janet S. Schipper of Virginia; Margaret S. Shamback of Virginia and William H. Schenck of Atlanta; and 11 grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be made to the David and Dee Schenck Scholarship Endowed Fund at The Schenck School. The School will host a tribute to David’s life and work. For more about David Schenck and details of the event visit www.schenck.org

For the complete Atlanta Journal-Constitution article: http://m.ajc.com/news


International Dyslexia Association Georgia Branch and REAP Partner to Educate Public School Teachers

July 1, 2014

Partnership increases funding opportunities

ATLANTA, GA – Effective July 1, 2014, The International Dyslexia Association Georgia Branch (IDA-GA) and Reading is Essential for All People (REAP) will enter into a fiscal partnership dedicated to improving reading proficiency through teacher training and enrichment. Utilizing IDA-GA’s existing 501(c)(3) status, the non-profit organization REAP can begin pursuing grants to provide public school teachers with specialized training that reinforces the foundations of reading. These training approaches are helpful for any child, in any classroom, small group, or one-on-one situation, and are especially critical for dyslexic and struggling readers.

During their inaugural class, IDA-GA provided funding for two of the first twelve Decatur Public School teachers to receive eight months of Orton-Gillingham training, a multi-sensory phonologically based program proven to remediate dyslexic children and adults. The program includes 50-100 supervised practicum hours during which teachers work with a struggling student(s) who cannot afford a private tutor. With the new partnership, IDA-GA and REAP plan to expand the program this fall to include training for 45 teachers across the metro Atlanta area.

For information about REAP visit www.strugglingreaders.org and for IDA-GA call 404-256-1232.

About REAP
REAP (Reading is Essential for All People) is a non-profit organization that provides training for public school teachers to support struggling readers and overall reading proficiency. REAP was founded in 2013 in Decatur, Georgia by husband and wife team, Jen and Jeremy Rhett, along with Carla Stanford, a 1st-grade teacher and literacy specialist. Teachers accepted in REAP’s Orton-Gillingham course commit to an eight-month training program followed by 50-100 hour supervised practicum during which they work with a struggling student(s) who can’t afford a private tutor. Plans are in the works to provide a weeklong Comprehension Institute in 2015 and writing workshops by 2016. REAP teachers use their new skills in the general education and special education classrooms to ensure a strong reading foundation for all students and serve as mentors for other teachers.



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