Dr. Carrie Thomas Beck is the dyslexia specialist at the Oregon Department of Education. Prior to joining the department in January 2016, Dr. Beck worked as a research associate in the Center on Teaching and Learning at the University of Oregon for 10 years. She developed and directed the center’s Reading Clinic from 2008 through 2013. At the clinic, she trained undergraduate and graduate students to provide research-based reading interventions to school-aged students from local districts. Dr. Beck also led the development of a reading endorsement program at the university and taught literacy courses in the College of Education. Prior to directing the Reading Clinic, Dr. Beck spent 5 years at the university codirecting the Oregon Reading First Center, a federally funded center that partnered with the Oregon Department of Education to provide technical support in the area of early literacy to 50 elementary schools throughout Oregon, with the objective of having all children reading at or above grade level by the end of third grade. Earlier in her career, Dr. Beck worked as an implementation manager/project director for the National Institute for Direct Instruction, supporting schoolwide direct instruction implementations in schools throughout the United States. She has worked as a curriculum specialist in language arts for Springfield School District in Oregon and has taught elementary and secondary special education in schools in Wisconsin and Illinois.
The Role of Intensive Intervention in Dyslexia Legislation
The Role of Intensive Intervention in Dyslexia Legislation
In this “Voices From the Field” segment, we connect with Dr. Carrie Thomas Beck from the Oregon Department of Education. Dr. Beck discusses the dyslexia law in Oregon, the role of intensive intervention in Oregon’s dyslexia initiative, and provides advice for states defining their dyslexia frameworks. The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and Oregon Response to Instruction and Intervention (ORTII) are currently partnering with the National Center on Intensive Intervention (NCII) to build capacity at the state level to support schools and districts as they implement intensive intervention.
NCII: What is the current landscape of dyslexia in Oregon?
Carrie: In 2017, the Oregon legislature passed dyslexia legislation (Senate Bill 1003). That bill included two explicit requirements for Oregon districts: (1) Conduct universal screening for risk factors of dyslexia in kindergarten using an assessment identified by the Oregon Department of Education and, (2) Ensure that at least one K–5 teacher in each K–5 school completed dyslexia-related training by July 1, 2018.
In addition, the legislation required the Oregon Department of Education to (1) develop guidance for districts regarding how to notify parents of children who demonstrate risk factors based on screening assessments, and, (2) provide guidance to districts regarding how to best support students who showed risk factors for dyslexia and/or who were identified as having dyslexia. Lastly, the legislation required ODE to submit a report on best practices for screening for risk factors for dyslexia, and best practices for instructional support, as well as recommendations for future legislation related to dyslexia.
How do you see intensive intervention connecting to the dyslexia work in Oregon?
Carrie: When we drafted the district guidance document about screening and instructional supports for students with dyslexia, we stressed that universal screening is just the first step in a much longer process that involves providing instructional support, monitoring progress and offering increasingly intensive interventions based on student need as indicated by the data. In doing so, it was important not to require a separate system of dyslexia screening and instructional support for Oregon districts, but rather to strengthen existing systems of screening and support within a Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) framework. In Oregon, at the state level, we are working to roll out what we are calling ORIS, which stands for the Oregon Integrated Systems framework. ORIS is Oregon’s MTSS framework, and we are partnering across offices at the agency to coordinate the support provided to districts. This larger ORIS framework will include whatever work we do related to the dyslexia initiative.
Intensive intervention is a logical fit for our dyslexia initiative as we talk about providing increasingly intensive tiers of support to students who show risk factors for dyslexia. Those students who are receiving supports but are not making adequate progress compared with their peers would be the students for whom we would want to use the data-based individualization (DBI) process. The Oregon Department of Education and ORTII refer to DBI as the Individualized Problem Solving process or IPS.
There is a lot of consistency between Oregon’s IPS and NCII’s DBI process. Logically it made sense for ODE to partner with NCII to continue to build our capacity at the state level to support districts in developing this process. It also is a very logical fit with the dyslexia work; we can do more intensive problem solving at the individual level when needed for those students who are not making progress.
NCII: What advice do you have for other states that are engaging in discussions about how to serve students with dyslexia?
Carrie: I would say definitely collaborate with other states that are possibly farther ahead in this work and I would recommend looking to your national centers for resources and support. For example, through our intensive TA partnership with NCII, we were able to receive feedback and support from technical assistance providers and experts as we finalized our plan. We also were able to leverage the content on the NCII website, such as the DBI flowchart graphic, to develop user-friendly descriptions that legislators could understand. I also connected with other centers such as the National Center on Improving Literacy. Last, I would recommend reaching out to national experts in the field. Two years ago, when the Department was charged with writing a plan on universal screening to present to the legislature, I leaned on experts who were very helpful in providing advice and insight. Overall, NCII has been extremely helpful in connecting us with experts, offering guidance, and pointing us to the right resources to get the work completed.