COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P.O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
SUPTS. MEMO NO. 54
APRIL 5, 2002
Jo Lynne DeMary
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Early Intervention Reading Initiative Application Process
The Early Intervention Reading Initiative was established by Chapter 924, 1997 Acts of Assembly, to serve children in kindergarten or first grade. In January 2000, the Governor and the General Assembly provided funding to expand the Early Intervention Reading Initiative to include students in kindergarten through third grade.
The purpose of the initiative is to provide early reading intervention services to students in kindergarten through the third grade who demonstrate deficiencies reflected in each student's performance on a diagnostic screening tool approved by the Department of Education.
The screening window for the Early Intervention Reading Initiative has been moved from a fall-to-fall window to a spring-to-spring screening window. Also, a high benchmark has been added for first-grade students. Students attaining this benchmark would no longer need to be screened with PALS (Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening). These changes enhance the Early Intervention Reading Initiative by:
allowing intervention services for all students in first, second, and third grades to start at the beginning of the school year or during the summer;
eliminating the problem the fall screening window created for year-round schools and schools that start before Labor Day;
allowing Title I to use PALS as the screening instrument for reading services, thereby eliminating the use of another screening instrument; and
reducing the amount of time required for screening.
Participating divisions are required to use the state-provided diagnostic screening instrument, PALS (Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening) or a diagnostic screening instrument approved by the Department of Education. Attachment A is a chart outlining the screening process for school years 2002-2004. All screening results must be reported to the PALS office at the University of Virginia via the PALS website.
Funding for the initiative is based on the state's share of the cost of providing two and one-half hours of additional instruction each week for an estimated number of students in each school division at a student-to-teacher ratio of five-to-one. The estimated number of students in each school division shall be based on the actual percentage of students who are determined to need services based on the results of the diagnostic screening administered in the fall of 2001. Funding shall be based on a percentage of the estimated number of eligible students as follows:
Grade 1 - 50% of eligible students
Grade 2 - 50% of eligible students
Grade 3 - 25% of eligible students
School divisions that did not participate in 2000-2001 will be funded using free lunch eligibility as a proxy. That is, funding shall be determined by multiplying the projected number of students in each school divisions fall membership in kindergarten through grade 3 by the estimated percentage of students eligible for the free lunch program in that school division. Funding using the free lunch proxy will be adjusted by the same percentages of eligible students as shown above.
Attachment B is the Superintendents Certification form to apply for the incentive funds available under the Early Intervention Reading Initiative. Starting April 1, division contact persons must register online via the PALS Web site http://curry.edschool.virginia.edu/curry/centers/pals/home.html. Registration must be completed by May 3.
Fifty percent of the Early Intervention Reading Initiative funds are projected to be disbursed in December, upon receipt and approval of the Superintendents Certification form. The remaining 50 percent will be released in February 2003 following a report of the number of children identified and served. This information will be supplied to the Department of Education by the PALS office.
Questions regarding funding should be addressed to Kent Dickey, budget director, at (804)225-2025. Questions regarding the PALS online services should be addressed to Amie Sullivan, PALS project manager, at (888)882-7257. Questions regarding programmatic issues should be addressed to Barbara F. Jones, specialist for reading and English, at (804)786-1997.