Empowering Success

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The Brownsville Independent School District is leading the way in providing comprehensive support and education for dyslexic students. The district is committed to identifying and assisting students with dyslexia. It has implemented a robust Dyslexia Program spanning kindergarten through 12th grade.

The program is equipped with certified teachers who receive ongoing professional development. Through recent funding, the district aims to continue empowering students with the necessary tools and support to thrive academically and beyond.

At the heart of Brownsville ISD’s Dyslexia Program are highly trained and dedicated educators like Julie Salinas, Brownsville ISD’s Director for Dyslexia/Section 504 Program.

“We want to ensure that students with dyslexia receive the highest quality, so our curriculum does focus on the multisensory phonological skills that students need to meet their deficiencies in reading, writing and spelling.”

Salinas added that the program improves a student academically and provides a sense of self-esteem as they develop their talents. Students can work with a certified academic language practitioner if they require additional support.

“Our district goes above and beyond in order to ensure that our teachers are trained to provide these treatment options for students with dyslexia.”

A referral process is in place, and general education teachers are trained to identify students with dyslexia. Part of that process is providing intervention, and that is where it all begins.

“We try to intervene early for students, and we try to ensure that students receive instruction, whether it be for academics or behavior, so that they can achieve academic success,” Salinas said.

Teachers certified in identifying problems help the district implement appropriate interventions promptly for students to receive the necessary support to succeed.

Recognizing the importance of staying up-to-date with the best practices in dyslexia education, Brownsville ISD engages in regular professional development. These opportunities for continued education enable teachers to enhance their knowledge and refine their instructional strategies. By continually investing in the professional growth of its educators, the district and the dyslexia program guarantee that students will receive the highest quality of education and support.

“Our goal is to remediate, and once a student has shown that we are closing the gaps and they no longer need the services, the students are phased out of the program. The services might end, but the support continues.”

Dyslexia is a learning disability that doesn’t go away. According to a study conducted by the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, more than 40 million US adults have dyslexia, with only 2 million receiving a formal diagnosis. Salinas explained that while dyslexia never “goes away,” they can get students to a level where they are taught the skills they need to succeed.

“Through consistent progress monitoring, we are able to adjust the student’s services and remediation.”

Students typically receive 45 minutes of daily intensive dyslexia instruction from certified practitioners and teachers. The district provides training to all teachers throughout the district, and providing this type of intervention is a three-year preparation for teachers. They go through intensive coursework to get them at the high level of teaching needed to instruct students.

“Yes, it is something we do strive for to ensure that all of our teachers get trained. We also bring awareness to dyslexia and have certain opportunities every year where our teachers provide dyslexia training to all campuses.”

This training includes helping teachers identify characteristics to look for, like trouble with reading and spelling.

“Some of the things we look for are students that might be exhibiting spelling and reading comprehension difficulties.”

The district also educates families and the community about dyslexia. Educating helps create more support for the student and brings awareness to the disability. The program empowers students with dyslexia who excel in other areas and think out of the box to accommodate dyslexia. The students might excel in mathematics and art and are critical thinkers.

Recently, Brownsville ISD received a grant from the Texas Education Agency.

“We were awarded for two years, $1.9 million, almost $2 million,” Salinas said.

“This grant will provide opportunities to train our dyslexia teachers and staff like our general education teachers and special education teachers, as well as campus administration.”

The goal, Salinas said, is to increase the capacity to serve students with dyslexia. Brownsville ISD is a shining example of a comprehensive and dedicated initiative that empowers dyslexic students. The district is paving the way for its success and fostering a more inclusive and equitable educational environment.

“We strive to provide that exemplary program, and these funds are being used to provide high-quality training to better service students with dyslexia and related disorders.”