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Dyslexia Advisory Council

During the 2016 Legislation Session, the general assembly passed the Public Chapter 1058 of the Acts of 2016 which requires school districts to screen for characteristics of dyslexia through their existing Response to Instruction and Intervention (RTI²) procedures and to provide “dyslexia-specific tiered interventions” for students that demonstrate a need.

In addition, the legislation requires the department to convene a dyslexia advisory council to provide input and feedback on matters related to dyslexia. The council will meet throughout each school year and will report on their work to increase dyslexia screening and identification. This report will be shared with districts, stakeholders and the general assembly.

Request to Speak

Anyone interested in speaking before the council may do so by emailing Theresa Nicholls at Theresa.Nicholls@tn.gov.

For questions related to the "Say Dyslexia" legislation, please contact the Tennessee Department of Education at SayDyslexia.Questions@tn.gov.

Need Advice? Have a question? Looking for dyslexia resources in your area? Call our 24-hour hotline and leave us a message. The Tennessee Branch of The International Dyslexia Association. TN-IDA Dyslexia Hotline (901) 468-3611
photo of the Dyslexia Advisory Council

Dyslexia Resource Guide

Public Chapter 1058 of the Acts of 2016 requires the department to develop guidance for identifying characteristics of dyslexia and to provide appropriate professional development resources for educators. The department sought feedback from the Dyslexia Advisory Council and external stakeholders to develop this resource document. The Dyslexia Resource Guide assists districts in their implementation of the requirements established by Public Chapter 1058. In particular, this guide:

  • identifies and clarifies the bill requirements
  • defines characteristics of dyslexia
  • provides applicable resources

Universal Screener Criteria The Criteria for Selecting a Universal Screener in Reading, Mathematics and Writing is designed to help educators evaluate screening tools for RTI².

Peer Review Intervention Screening Instrument

Date: May 29, 2020
Time: 10 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. CT
Location: Virtual Meeting

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Agenda

PowerPoint

RTI2 COVID-19 Considerations

Dyslexia Coding Visual

Date: March 23, 2020
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. CT
Location: Out of an abundance of caution, the department is choosing to change the Dyslexia Advisory Council on 3/23/2020 to a virtual meeting. We are committed to prioritizing your health and safety, as well as your families and communities.

Please use the following information to join this meeting: https://zoom.us/j/657996888

We know this is a constantly evolving situation and appreciate your understanding.

This meeting is open to the public. Participants that are not council members will have the ability to observe the council meeting. Please ensure that your line is muted and refrain from comments or audio communication during the meeting unless previously scheduled to participate in the public comment portion of the agenda. 

Date: January 21, 2020
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. CT
Location: Tennessee School for the Blind
Professional Development Atrium
115 Stewarts Ferry Pike
Nashville, TN 37214
Livestream

Dyslexia Advisory Council Agenda
Dyslexia Annual Report
Dyslexia Early Literacy Supports Framework

 
 

Date: September 17, 2019
Time: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. CT
Location: Tennessee School for the Blind
Professional Development Atrium
115 Stewarts Ferry Pike
Nashville, TN 37214


Date: May 21, 2019
Time: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. CT
Location: Tennessee School for the Blind
Professional Development Atrium
115 Stewarts Ferry Pike
Nashville, TN 37214


Date: February 4, 2019
Time: 10-2 CT
Location: Tennessee School for the Blind
Professional Development Atrium
115 Stewarts Ferry Pike
Nashville, TN 37214


Date: October 22, 2018
Time: 10-2 CT
Location: Tennessee School for the Blind 
115 Stewart’s Ferry Pike
Nashville, TN 37214


Date: Monday, June 4, 2018
Time: 10:00-2:00 CT (lunch provided)
Location: Tennessee School for the Blind Professional Development Atrium
115 Stewarts Ferry Pike
Nashville, TN 37214


Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Time: 10:00-2:00 CT (lunch provided)
Location: Tennessee School for the Blind Professional Development Atrium
115 Stewarts Ferry Pike
Nashville, TN 37214

Name Position
Penny Schwinn Commissioner
Theresa Nicholls Assistant Commissioner, Special Populations, TDOE
Eileen Miller Advocate, Decoding Dyslexia  
Allison McAvoy Special Education Teacher, Hamilton County
Nichi Hickerson Elementary School Teacher, Bradford Special School District
Rita Flood Middle School Teacher, Bradley County Schools
Vacant
High School Teacher
Anna Thorsen Parent
Barbara Adams Speech Language Pathologist, Williamson County School District

The council also includes three ex-officio members with expertise in dyslexia: Carmen O’Connor with the International Dyslexia Association; Erin Alexander, a school psychologist and assistant director for clinical services at the Tennessee Center for Dyslexia; and Susan Porter, a district lead coach of instruction with Metro Nashville Public Schools.

RTI2 COVID-19 Condsiderations

School closures and the implementation of distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic have raised questions regarding how schools can address the needs of our students receiving critical tiered interventions once they return to school. The table here provides guidance related to RTI2 based on frequently asked questions. As always, please continue to communicate intervention decisions and plans with parents.

Districts should consult with their local board attorneys to ensure their processes comply with state and federal law. As we learn more about school reopening and best practices, further guidance will be issued.

For questions related to RTI2, please contact RTI.Questions@tn.gov.

 

5 Questions Parents and Educators Can Ask to Start Conversations

Additional Information for Districts about the Public Chapter 1058

Dyslexia Overview for Parents

Dyslexia Resource Guide

Response to Instruction and Intervention Framework

"Say Dyslexia" Bill (Public Chapter 1058 of the Acts of 2016) 

Say Dyslexia FAQ

"Say Dyslexia" Law Overview for Districts

"Say Dyslexia" Reporting Requirements Flowchart 

Understanding Dyslexia