In accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 18A:40-5.1 et seq., the Board of Education shall ensure each student enrolled in the school district who has exhibited one or more potential indicators of dyslexia or other reading disabilities is screened for dyslexia and other reading disabilities using a screening instrument selected pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 18A:40-5.2. This screening shall be administered no later than the student’s completion of the first semester of the second grade.
In the event a student enrolls in the district in Kindergarten through grade six and has no record of being previously screened for dyslexia or other reading disabilities, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:40-5.2, the Board shall ensure the newly-enrolled student is screened for dyslexia and other reading disabilities using a screening instrument selected pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:40-5.2. This screening shall be administered at the same time other students enrolled in the student’s grade are screened for dyslexia and other reading disabilities, or if other students enrolled in the student’s grade have previously been screened, within ninety calendar days of the date the student is enrolled in the district. The screenings shall be administered by a teacher or other teaching staff member properly trained in the screening process for dyslexia and other reading disabilities.
For the purposes of this Policy, “dyslexia” means a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent work 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 cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.
For the purposes of this Policy, “potential indicators of dyslexia or other reading disabilities” means indicators that include, but shall not be limited to, difficulty in acquiring language skills; inability to comprehend oral or written language; difficulty in rhyming words; difficulty in naming letters, recognizing letters, matching letters to sounds, and blending sounds when speaking and reading words; difficulty recognizing and remembering sight words; consistent transposition of number sequences, letter reversals, inversions, and substitution; and trouble in replication of content.
In accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 18A:40-5.2(a), the Commissioner of Education shall distribute to each Board of Education information on screening instruments available to identify students who possess one or more potential indicators of dyslexia or other reading disabilities. The Commissioner shall provide information on the screening instruments appropriate for Kindergarten through grade two students and on screening instruments that may be suitably used for older students. The Board shall select and implement age-appropriate screening instruments for the early diagnosis of dyslexia and other reading disabilities.
In accordance with provisions of N.J.S.A. 18A:40-5.2(b), the Commissioner shall also develop and distribute to each Board of Education guidance on appropriate intervention strategies for students diagnosed with dyslexia or other reading disabilities.
In the event a student is determined, through the screening conducted in accordance with N.J.S.A. 18A:40-5.3, to possess one or more potential indicators of dyslexia or other reading disabilities pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 18A:40-5.1 et seq., the Board shall ensure the student receives a comprehensive assessment for the learning disorder. In the event a diagnosis of dyslexia or other reading disability is confirmed by the comprehensive assessment, the Board shall provide appropriate evidence-based intervention strategies to the student, including intense instruction on phonemic awareness, phonics and fluency, vocabulary, and reading comprehension.
In accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 18A:6-131, general education teachers in grades Kindergarten through three, special education teachers, basic skills teachers, English as a second language teachers, reading specialists, learning disabilities teacher consultants, and speech-language specialists are required to complete at least two hours of professional development each year on the screening, intervention, accommodation, and use of technology for students with reading disabilities, including dyslexia. The Board may make these professional development opportunities available to other instructional or support staff members as the Board deems appropriate. This requirement for professional development in reading disabilities may be part of the twenty hours of annual professional development required by N.J.A.C. 6A:9C et seq. Documentation of teachers’ fulfillment of this professional development requirement shall be maintained in the district.
N.J.S.A. 18A:40-5.1; 18A:40-5.2; 18A:40-5.3; 18A:40-5.4.; 18A:6-131
Adopted: December 2016