ST. CLOUD -- A local school district is about halfway through their five-year plan to implement district-wide dyslexia screening and support.

Members of the St. Cloud Area School District's Dyslexia Team provided an update at Wednesday night's board meeting. Elementary Dyslexia Specialist Sue Keranen says the new programming started as a result of an unfunded mandate from the state.

In a nutshell, it says that we must identify all students who are not reading at grade level. We also must screen them for characteristics of dyslexia unless a different reason for the reading difficulty has been identified, and we must provide the identified students with alternate instruction.

Students in Kindergarten through 10th grade are screened using the STAR test which is taken three times per year. The Sonday System curriculum was selected by the district and piloted in the spring of the 2018-2019 school year.

Keranen says the program has grown from 141 students and 11 teachers the first year to 1,114 students and 96 teachers in what is now the third year. She says so far, the response has been positive, and students are making progress towards their goal of reading at grade level.

Next steps for the district include growing funding, staffing, training, data collection, and curriculum with goals of having a Reading Interventionist in every school building and exploring co-teaching options.

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