By: Sondra Harrington, Lead Dyslexia Specialist Galveston Independent School District and Community Dyslexia Initiative Grant Coordinator
About Galveston ISD (GISD): Galveston ISD’s mission is to educate, engage and empower each student for a life of excellence.
Tell us about the relationship between your organization and the Moody Foundation.
GISD has partnered with Moody Foundation many times throughout the years. The Generation Moody Education Initiative allows the community of Galveston to benefit from their many gifts. We are blessed to have a foundation that is committed to quality education for all children.
How have you used the Foundation’s recent grant?
The Galveston Community Dyslexia Initiative grant just got underway with the 2021 school year, so we are just weeks into the lifecycle of this groundbreaking journey. Word is now out across the community and within our district. We have met with school leadership to share our vision and gain their support so the initial thrust is met with acceptance and energy. We are working to support our current dyslexia specialists with new protocols and procedures and providing materials and other resources to promote dyslexia identification and intervention on campuses throughout the district. We also furnished our partners at the charter and private schools with information to share with their families and staff regarding dyslexia awareness.
What is the Galveston Community Dyslexia Initiative and its purpose?
The vision of the grant is to create a community wide network of educators, trained in providing exceptional scientifically-based models of instruction for reading acquisition and dyslexia intervention, to promote a sound foundation of literacy for all of Galveston Island’s children.
We will also provide a hybrid approach to dyslexia intervention by bringing an Orton-Gillingham scientific-reading approach that can be delivered through the use of technology. Students who have had direct instruction in the GISD dyslexia program can receive extra practice through a software program that will be available on each campus. This resource allows for continued monitoring of students who have graduated from our direct instruction model, but could still benefit from extra review.
A third aspect of the grant is to provide community awareness of dyslexia and events in which families can participate to better encourage literacy growth.
How many students will benefit from this initiative?
This is a significant project that will reach monumental proportions. With proper teacher training, all students in Galveston with need should benefit. A powerful outcome of this program will be the positive ripples rolling through our community for decades to come, as students in need of reading solutions will receive those services so critical to empowering their future.
How many teachers will receive training and from what schools?
We anticipate training over 100 teachers this first year in the basics of dyslexia, followed by 75 the following year. Each year after, we would like to get around 40 new teachers trained throughout Galveston. Some of this training will be done through Region IV while other courses will be through Neuhaus Education Center (NEC) in Bellaire, Texas. We will also be sending 16 teachers to NEC to work through their dyslexia specialist certification program and expect to have them fully certified by the end of the grant term.
Where can the community go to find more information about the initiative?
A website is being developed so the public can connect with this dyslexia-based initiative. It will be accessible through the Galveston ISD home page. Brochures will be distributed throughout the community as well. If you have any questions you are more than welcome to email [email protected] for more information.