2205 State Ave., Alamosa, CO 81101 • Ph: 719-589-2553 • Fax: 719-589-6573
Current E-Edition

News Obits Opinion Community Calendar Police Religion Sports Classifieds Home 

Valley embarks on new literacy program

Posted: Thursday, Feb 14th, 2013

Lindamood Bell representative Melissa Garcia, left, and Center Consolidated School District Superintendent George Welsh, right, instruct Valley special education teachers at Centennial in San Luis earlier this month. Courier photo by Lauren Krizansky

Courier staff writer

VALLEY — A big grant is going to make a big difference for many Valley students struggling to read.

In December 2012, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) awarded San Luis Valley Board of Cooperative Services (BOCES) a $1.5 million Increasing Achievement and Growth Grant (IAGG) to target kindergarten through fifth grade students with disabilities and those students referred due to suspected disabilities. Through the Valley Consortium (VC), a multi-district, grassroots effort to improve education, the grant is being put in motion.

“The hope is it will help between 300-350 students each year,” said BOCES Executive Director and Director of Exceptional Student Services Nita McAuliffe in an email. “As we train teachers throughout the years, this number will increase through time.”

BOCES has partnered with Lindamood Bell, an international educational consulting firm, to provide teacher tools and training that will carry over into the classroom. Programs like Seeing Stars that use symbol imagery for fluency; orthography, sight words and spelling are already being introduced to Valley teachers through the monthly VC gatherings like this month’s February meeting at the Centennial High School in San Luis.

“There are a lot of people out there who think you can teach a kid to read by putting them in front of the computer,” said Center Consolidated School District Superintendent George Welsh to a room full of special education teachers during the Centennial VC. “It actually is rocket science... It is like being a doctor.”

Welsh explained the Lindamood Bell programs, which are already being used in the Center Consolidated School District, pair words with images to help challenged readers make a connection between language and reality.

“Research demonstrates that phonemic processing systems are influenced by orthographic processing systems,” McAuliffe further explained. “In addition to auditory discrimination, imaging written language symbols (letters) is necessary to improve one’s ability to discriminate sound. Lindamood Bell process teaches us how to help students to connect symbol imagery and orthographic to improve reading.”

Besides improving literacy, the grant will also enable teachers to identify and, to a degree, diagnose students with reading deficiencies before they are placed in a special education program.

“The fact remains that the majority of students end up needing special education services because they struggle in the area of reading,” McAuliffe said. “The goal is to increase the Valley’s capacity to provide intensive literacy intervention for all students in special education and most general education students at-risk of being identified as having special education needs.”

The grant will provide the Valley resources to have a comprehensive needs assessment in each district, she said. The report will include diagnostic learning assessments for approximately 140 students grades three through five, and the training will include grouping students to meet the individual literacy needs of each child.

“This opportunity will allow the Valley teachers to have intensive training followed by embedded guidance, coaching, and support in a literacy model steeped in symbol and mental imagery and proven to work through research and past implementation,” McAuliffe said. “I think the best thing about the grant is the ability to put another tool in our teachers’ tool box... It is my hope that that this will get us one more way to address and assess students’ needs. To me there is nothing more exciting then to work collaboratively with all 14 districts to learn best practices together for the advancement of our students learning and increased outcomes.”

Select Page:



Shoppe Hide


Copyright 2017 News Media Corporation

News    Classifieds    Shoppe    Search    ContactUs    TalkBack    Subscribe    Information    E-Edition    Business Portal