LCSD hires dyslexia therapist

By BETH BUNCH,

The Lamar County School District has hired the district's first certified dyslexia therapist to serve students in grades K-12 in the Purvis schools and are in the process of implementing all aspects of the LCSD Dyslexia Therapy Pilot Program.

The district was awarded $121,650 through the Mississippi Department of Education to finance the salary of the dyslexia therapist, professional development for Purvis faculty and parent workshops for three years from 2018-2021, the duration of the pilot program.

“We hope by doing this we are able to assist dyslexic students in this rural area, so they may achieve mastery of basic reading skills,” said Cindy Peden, LCSD Dyslexia/MTSS coordinator and a certified dyslexia therapist, who authored the grant for the district.

 “We also hope for these students to improve by a minimum of one performance level on the Mississippi Academic Assessment Program, demonstrating academic growth based upon the pre- and post-tests.”

Participants involved in the implementation of this grant will be those students with dyslexia and identified K-12 students with characteristics of dyslexia needing Tier II or Tier III reading intervention.

The dyslexia grant activities are taking  place at Purvis Lower Elementary, Purvis Upper Elementary, Purvis Middle School and Purvis High School facilities.

According to LCSD Supt. Tess Smith, 26 students at PLE, PUE and PMS are being served.

Currently, dyslexic students in the Lamar County School District receive reading intervention and accommodations through the Multi-tiered System of Support mandated by the MDE, but actual dyslexia therapy is not offered at this time. 

Peden believes the families, schools and community of Purvis will benefit from the implementation of this grant by receiving the needed assistance, accommodations and reading instruction required for this specific student population.

Caitlyn Mizelle was approved as the district’s first dyslexia therapist hired using the MDE Dyslexia Grant funds.