“We needed a systemic approach. I appreciate systems and having common language, especially when you have multiple schools and grades. When it comes down to something as important as foundational skills, we have to have a system and standard so that each student receives an equitable education. We really needed to be able to say that this is static across schools and grades.”
Dr. Kadee Anstadt, Superintendent of Washington Local Schools
Washington Local School District is located in Lucas County in Toledo, Ohio. The Washington Local School District covers 17 square miles in Toledo, Ohio, serving approximately 6,800 students at seven elementary schools, two single-grade junior highs, and a comprehensive high school campus. Washington Local’s mission is to “Cultivate empathy, integrity, communication, adaptability, lifelong learning, and critical thinking in our students by championing safe and inspiring schools.”
The 2022 Nation’s Report Card revealed that about one-third of Ohio school districts did not meet statewide standards for early literacy. This gap in learning has not gone unrecognized. Ohio legislators are now beginning to implement significant changes in state legislation around reading instruction.
Districts across Ohio are now pushing to get teachers trained in the Science of Reading – but thanks to Superintendent Dr. Kadee Anstadt, Curriculum Consultant Molly Chamberlin, and the dedicated staff of educators in their district, Washington Local has been ahead of the curve.
Washington Local Schools Embrace the Science of Reading and Orton-Gillingham Approach
In 2013, Anstadt and Chamberlin were introduced to Helen Brandon, Training Consultant and Instructor at IMSE at a previous district. In 2019, Director of Curriculum Katie Spenthoff began facilitating IMSE OG training with the support of Anstadt.
At first, the district was focused on training interventionists and reading specialists in Tier 2. When Chamberlin joined the team in 2020, training progressively moved to include all K-3 teachers.
With the help of IMSE, as well as LETRS and several other tools, Washington Local has taken steps to integrate the Science of Reading into the core curriculum of its K-3 classrooms. In the district, Tier 1 students receive Orton-Gillingham as a core phonics foundation in grades K-2. Many teachers in the district also use Orton-Gillingham as a supplement for phonics and morphology. In Tier 2 and 3, students receive Orton-Gillingham in correspondence with other resources.
After three years of training, every K-2 teacher in the district has been trained in OG, with the majority of 3rd-grade and reading interventionists also having received the training. The district is in a good place to contend with new dyslexia laws in Ohio, which require all K-1 teachers to be trained by 2023 and all 2nd and 3rd-grade teachers by 2024. It also aligns with Gov. DeWine’s new budget proposal to get the Science of Reading into all of Ohio’s public schools.
“We invest in people, not programs,” says Anstadt. “This is a people investment. When we invest in this kind of knowledge base, the benefits last forever. When it comes down to something as important as foundational skills, we have to have a system and standard so that each student receives an equitable education.”
You can read the full story here of how elementary teachers and students at Washington Local Schools benefit from the power behind the Science of Reading.
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