COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P. O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 81
June 5, 1998

INFORMATIONAL

TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Early Intervention Reading Initiative -- Application Process

 
 The Governor and General Assembly have continued the funding for
 the Early Intervention Reading Initiative.  During the 1997-98
 school year 117 of 132 (89%) school divisions participated in the
 Initiative.  Statewide, divisions reported approximately 24% of
 the students who were assessed in either kindergarten or first
 grade as needing intervention.  National research continues to
 validate the need for and benefits of early diagnosis and
 remediation of reading deficits, particularly phonological
 awareness deficits.  

 Participating divisions have the option to implement this Reading
 Initiative at kindergarten or first grade. Since many of the
 assessed skills are those that students should possess before or
 concurrent with the decoding emphasis typical of first grade, 70%
 of the divisions chose to implement the program at kindergarten
 for the 1997-98 school year.

 The application process will be the same as last year.  Attached
 please find the necessary information and forms to apply for the
 incentive funds available under the Early Intervention Reading
 Initiative.  Form A asks for a list of the schools in your
 division and the number of teachers at the targeted grade level. 
  If your division participated in the Initiative last year, the
 1997-98  list of schools, teachers at the targeted grade level,
 and other pertinent information is  attached to be updated.  This
 sheet should be attached to Form A and mailed or faxed to the
 Department.  School divisions participating for the first time
 need to complete the front and back of  Form A. This information
 will enable the University of Virginia to ship the correct number
 of assessment materials to each division.   Form B is the 

 Superintendent's Certification and Form C is the Alternative
 Assessment Approval Request which has been revised.  Divisions
 wanting to use a screening instrument other than the Phonological
 Awareness and Literacy Screening (PALS) must submit this form.

 Divisions planning to participate need to complete and return the
 application forms to the Department by August 1, 1998 to ensure
 assessment materials are shipped to the division by or before 
 October 1, 1998.  Shipment will be delayed for those divisions
 whose applications are received after August 1, 1998.

 Fifty percent (50%) of the Early Intervention Reading Initiative
 funds will be disbursed in September, upon receipt and approval
 of the Superintendent's Certification (Form B) and shipping
 information (Form A).  The remaining 50% will be released in
 January following a reporting of the number of children
 identified and served.

 Under a contract from the Department of Education, the University
 of Virginia continues to refine the diagnostic tool, Phonological
 Awareness and Literacy Screening (PALS) that must be used by
 divisions participating in this Initiative.  Sufficient copies of
 the state assessment tool will be mailed to the division's
 designated contact person.  The assessment packages will be
 wrapped for each participating teacher and boxed by school.  The
 packages will be delivered by October 1, for a recommended
 administration from October 19 until November 30.

 On Thursday, June 25, 1998, the Department of Education will host
 a one-day workshop in Richmond to update the Early Intervention
 Reading Initiative contact persons regarding the findings of and
 the revisions to the assessment tool (PALS) as well as to share
 forthcoming staff development activities related to the
 Initiative.  Additional information regarding the workshop will
 be sent to the Reading Initiative contact person or the Division
 Superintendent in non-participating divisions.

 For your information, the following represents sources of
 technical assistance that are or will be available in support of
 the Initiative:

          "Ideas and Activities for Developing Phonological
           Awareness Skills" -- a resource notebook mailed to
           each division in June, 1998 with sufficient copies
           for each school;

          "Phonemic Awareness in Young Children" -- an
           activity book by Adams and Foorman which was
           mailed along with the resource notebook;

          DOE Hour Video on Phonemic Awareness -- aired May
           7, 1998.  To be used in conjunction with the
           resource notebook.  This program will be
           rebroadcast in the Fall.


 Questions regarding options for local matching funds should be
 addressed to June Eanes, Budget Director, at (804) 225-2060. 
 Questions regarding programmatic issues should be addressed to
 Linda Poorbaugh, Reading and Language Arts Specialist, Office of
 Elementary and Middle School Instructional Services at (804) 786-3925.


 PDS/pl

 Attachments:  A hard copy of this memo and its attachments will
                be sent to the superintendent's office

 c:    Key Instructional Leaders