One Killeen Independent School District parent is saying her child is being underserved and the child’s Individual Education Plan, or IEP, is not being followed by the district’s special education program.
Parent Stephanie Moody has filed a complaint with the Texas Education Agency and her daughter’s principal alleging the education plan for her daughter — Samantha, a general education student who suffers from dyslexia and other learning disabilities — contains more than 20 mistakes, up to and including a lack of occupational therapy goals.
“My daughter’s IEP has over 20 mistakes,” Moody said. “It is so bad that no one can follow it.”
Moody said that one of the biggest problems affecting her daughter is that none of Samantha’s teachers are certified in the special education program specified in her IEP, the Wilson Reading Program.
“The staff is not certified in the Wilson program, so my child’s dyslexia instruction is not in-line with the Wilson Reading Program, as it should be under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) rules on research-based practices,” Moody said.
According to the Wilson Reading Program website, students in the program complete it within two to three years on average. Samantha, 8, just completed second grade and is preparing to enter third grade. According to Moody, Samantha has been in the program since first grade, but is only part-way through the second step of the 12-step reading program.
The Herald has reached out to KISD in an attempt to find out which programs special education teachers in the district are certified to teach.
"Our Special Education teachers are certified to work with struggling learners in reading, math and all content areas. Our teachers that teach Dyslexia are trained through the Wilson Reading Program which is the state regulation standard," KISD spokeswoman Taina Maya said in an email to the Herald. "That training includes an intensive 3-day training and Killeen ISD requires that of our Dyslexia teachers and assessors. The Wilson program is the strongest researched-based dyslexia program."
A total of 1,500 KISD students were assessed over the course of the year, of which 550 were qualified for the program, according to KISD.
Maya said there is no state certification required to teach dyslexia, however, "we have several teachers who are going above and beyond to attain the Wilson Level 1 certification."
Added KISD: Special education "teachers are not required to be certified in dyslexia services. If a student is receiving Wilson services for their dyslexia services, then they are being served by a teacher that has been trained in Wilson. If the ARD committee determined that the student would not receive dyslexia services using Wilson, then the ARD committee determines what sped services or general ed services are more appropriate."
In 2018, KISD announced that it would spend $1 million to hire 20 new teachers and dyslexia assessors to provide faster diagnosis for students with dyslexia — and faster support for their learning. The hiring effort was recommended by a special dyslexia focus group, school officials said. A collection of district teachers and administrators conducted a review of the dyslexia program during the 2017-18 school year.
The focus group found that 1,074 KISD students were assessed for dyslexia in the 2016-17 school year. More than 45,000 students are expected to be enrolled in KISD during the next school year.