In 2015, Governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law ACT 1268. ACT 1268 is designed to ensure that the needs of all Arkansas children with dyslexia are effectively being met. Dyslexia is defined as “a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitve abilities.” This new law defines dyslexia, describes required screening and intervention, and lists specific required actions by the state, educational cooperatives, and school districts.
In October of 2016, the Arkansas Department of Education updated the rules governing the implementation of ACT 1268. The updated rules can be found here.
In April 2017, the Arkansas Legislature passed ACT 1039 (SB 708) to amend and clarify provisions regarding Dyslexia screening and intervention, and to add specific enforcement provisions tied to school accrediation. ACT 1039 also added new public posting requirements. The information on this page meets or exceeds all posting requirements.
During 2017-2018, the Cotter School District identified a total of 28 students showing characteristics of Dyslexia. All of these students were placed in an approved intervention program.
Amanda Gist Elementary- 17 students identified; 17 students served
Cotter High School-11 students identified; 11 students served
Note: These are composite totals for the school year. If students leave the district, these numbers may not exactly match final numbers on state reports.
ACT 1268 required universal screening in Kindergarten through 2nd grade for indicators of Dyslexia, as well as initial screening in grades 3rd-12th. The Cotter School District conducts initial screenings in Kindergarten through 2nd grade for indicators of Dyslexia. In addition, we also screen any student in the 3rd-12th grade who appears to be experiencing difficulty (as noted by classroom teacher).
Specific screening tools used by the Cotter School District may include STAR Early Literacy and STAR reading assessment (online assessement of reading skills), DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills), DSA (Developmental Spelling Analysis), and AR-RAN (Arkansas Rapid Automatized Naming Screener), CTOPP2 (Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing), and WJ (Woodcock-Johnson tests).
Parent/Teacher Checklist for Signs of Dyslexia can be downloaded here.
School Districts must have trained “Dyslexia Interventionists” as another component of the law. Cotter School District has two interventionists.
Amanda Gist Elementary School- Tina Morrow
Cotter Jr./High School- Kayla Moffitt
Additionally, Pattie Wheeler at the Ozarks Unlimited Resource Educational Cooperative serves as the regional specialist for our district.
Dyslexia Resource Guide
Arkansas Department of Education has created a Dyslexia Resource Guide to provide guidance for districts, schools, and teachers in order to effectively meet the requirements of ACT 1268. This resource guide can be accessed here.
Cotter School District uses the Barton Reading and Spelling System, developed by renowned Dyslexia specialist, Susan Barton. Students that are not ready for the Susan Barton program are in the LiPS: The Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing Program from Lindamood-Bell.
Another great resource for parents is the Susan Barton website….http://www.dys-add.com There are several video and parent resources.
ACT 1039 requires all Arkansas schools to have a Dyslexia Program in place to further evaluate students identified as having characteristics of dyslexia, and then to tutor those students who require intervention. The Cotter School District primarily uses the Susan Barton Reading and Spelling System, developed by expert, Susan Barton. For those students not ready for the Barton program, we use the LiPS phoneme sequencing program from Lindamood-Bell.