Superintendent's Memo #081-09

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

March 27, 2009

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Early Intervention Reading Initiative Application Process for the 2009-2010 School Year

The purpose of the Early Intervention Reading Initiative is to provide early reading intervention services to students in kindergarten through the third grade who demonstrate deficiencies reflected in their performance on a diagnostic literacy screening tool. Participating divisions are required to use the state-provided diagnostic screening instrument, Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS), or a diagnostic screening instrument approved by the Department of Education. Attachment A outlines the required information to be contained in a proposal to use a local diagnostic screening instrument. If a school division wishes to request use of a diagnostic screening instrument other than PALS for 2009-2010, it must submit the documentation outlined in Attachment A to the Department of Education by Friday, May 15, 2009.

Divisions using PALS as the assessment for EIRI must use the complete battery of PALS-K or PALS 1-3 components as provided free of charge by the state. Beginning with the 2007-2008 school year, schools and divisions were no longer permitted to substitute alternative passages for the PALS 1-3 Oral Reading in Context task. Attachment B is a chart outlining the PALS screening process for the school year 2009-2010. All PALS screening results must be reported to the PALS office at the University of Virginia via the PALS website. Please see Attachment C for guidelines for teachers to use when entering data on the PALS website.

Attachment D is the superintendent’s certification form to certify implementation of the PALS screening instrument or to request approval from the Department of Education for a local diagnostic screening instrument. The superintendent’s certification form must be completed and returned to the Department of Education by Friday, May 15, 2009.

Please note that Attachment D is not a certification of fiscal year 2010 required local matching funds for the Early Intervention Reading Initiative. The appropriation act requires school divisions to certify their intent to participate in optional programs by October 1 in fiscal year 2010; and requires the Department of Education to ensure that sufficient local funds have been appropriated for the required local match before releasing state funds for optional programs. The funding certifications will be part of a future memorandum that will verify the division’s intent to participate and verify that sufficient local funds have been budgeted by the school division to meet local match requirements.

Funding for the EIRI is based on the state’s share of the cost to provide two and one-half hours of additional instruction each week for an estimated number of students in each school division on 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 result of the diagnostic screening assessment administered in fall 2008 for kindergarten and in spring 2009 for first through third grade. Funding shall be based on a percentage of the estimated number of eligible students as follows:

Kindergarten - 100 percent of eligible students
Grade 1 - 100 percent of eligible students
Grade 2 - 100 percent of eligible students
Grade 3 - 25 percent of eligible students

If you have questions regarding funding, please contact Brian Logwood, budget director, at Brian.Logwood@doe.virginia.gov or (804) 225-2025. Questions regarding the PALS online services should be addressed to Allison Drake, PALS co-project manager, at PALS@virginia.edu or (888) 882-7257. Questions regarding EIRI programmatic issues should be addressed to Ginna Glover, elementary specialist for reading and English, at Ginna.Glover@doe.virginia.gov or (804) 786-1997.

PIW / VJG / vdg

Attachments

a. Proposal Requirements for Use of a Local Diagnostic Screening Instrument (PDF)
b. PALS Fall and Spring Assessment 2009-2010 Screening Process Chart (PDF)
c. Teacher Guidelines for Entering PALS Data (PDF)
d. Superintendent’s Certification Form for 2009-2010 (PDF)