Teacher Leadership FAQ

The Teacher Leadership Council is comprised of at least one teacher representative from each campus. These individuals meet regularly with the Superintendent to discuss and share insight on questions and topics submitted by teachers at each campus. The items of districtwide interest are addressed in the meeting and written responses provided to the teacher representatives for them to take back to their campus. Those same questions are also posted to this Teacher Leadership FAQ and shared in the regular internal e-newsletter "Staff News."

Teacher Leadership Council November 2023 Questions & Responses

Q: We had a training provided by the Dyslexia therapists and specialist. It was great information but, one slide was particularly disappointing. It showed that 10-20% of a school population is usually Dyslexic. Our district, which has 11,000 students (according to the presentation), only has around 300 students identified as Dyslexic. They also expressed the concern of lack of identification. The experience when referring students to get tested has been the following:
- I’ve been asked why I’m referring so many students.
- Not all students that were referred were tested.
-I was asked to not refer any more students due to lack of personnel.
-Parent denial
I understand the need of the proper staff to have this completed but, we know how many students are in our district, as well as an estimate of how many students should be identified. Why not use this data to plan ahead and hire/contract the proper amount of personnel needed to identify our students?
As for parent denial, why not have workshops conducted by the Parent Liaison where they are educated on what it means to get their child tested and qualifying for services. A lot of parents believe that SpEd/Dyslexia services are like the past, where students were segregated in a classroom and treated differently. They also don't want their child to be "labeled" because of past experiences.
These are students that, if by the end of 3rd grade they’re not reading on grade level, they’re 4 times more likely to not graduate. This should give us more sense of urgency to identify them as soon as possible. I know there are dyslexia screeners conducted in kinder and 1st grade, but what about those students that’s weren’t identified, that came from other districts, that are in older grade levels and weren’t part of those screeners? We can’t fail them. And as the statistics show, we have not even identified 10% of our population.

Our Child Find obligations require us to actively find and serve students with disabilities. We are always looking to improve our processes and practices in Duncanville ISD. With that, we are rolling out a new special education referral process districtwide on December 13th to go into effect in January 2023. This new process will allow stakeholders (administrators, teachers, counselors, parents, etc) to be a part of the decision making process regarding next steps to getting students the support and services they require to be successful in school.
State law in Texas changed in February 2022, requiring all dyslexia evaluations to be initiated through special education. Previously, many of the evaluations were initiated through 504. Because of this change, districts across the state are walking into uncharted territories and therefore, we don’t have any previous data to guide our staffing decisions. Moving forward, we will continue to monitor the number of special education (dyslexia) referrals and evaluations to better guide our staffing needs.
In addition to the above improvements, we implemented an MTSS program across the district. With MTSS, we are prioritizing the needs of all students through intervention, remediation, and extension.  Our hope is that not only will we be addressing student needs, we will also be able to increase the number of students identified with dyslexia, and the rate of doing so, because we are actively monitoring how students are responding to provided interventions. In addition to our MTSS process, we are working to increase our dyslexia identification rate this school year by:
Training all principals and district leadership on the characteristics of dyslexia (completed)
Training all campus staff districtwide on the characteristics of dyslexia (completed)
Kinder/1st grade dyslexia screening (Spring 2023)
Kinder/1st grade teacher training (January 2023)
Parent Program - (in development)
We are always looking for ways to better support our dyslexia program and increase the number of students we serve. If you have any additional questions or feedback to provide, we welcome you to reach out to Samantha Sneed-Echebelem, PhD -  Director of Intervention Services.