2021 Regular Session
By: Representatives Deweese, Aguirre, Barnett, Bell (21st), Byrd, Felsher, Ford (54th), Ford (73rd), McCarty, McLean, Powell, Scoggin, Shanks, Steverson, Yancey, Crawford
AN ACT TO CREATE NEW SECTION 37-173-16, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THE STEPS SCHOOLS MUST TAKE FOR THE EDUCATION AND CARE OF STUDENTS WITH DYSLEXIA AND OTHER RELATED DISORDERS; TO PROVIDE THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION SHALL REQUIRE SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO CONDUCT FOUR HOURS OF AWARENESS TRAINING FOR DYSLEXIA AND OTHER RELATED DISORDERS TO ALL LICENSED EDUCATORS AND PARAPROFESSIONALS RESPONSIBLE FOR INSTRUCTION; TO PROVIDE THAT STANDARD 1 AND STANDARD 2 OF THE INTERNATIONAL DYSLEXIA ASSOCIATION'S "KNOWLEDGE AND PRACTICE STANDARDS FOR TEACHERS OF READING" 2018 EDITION SHALL BE THE MINIMUM CONTENT USED FOR THE DYSLEXIA TRAINING; TO AMEND SECTION 37-173-9, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO DELETE CERTAIN PROVISIONS RELATING TO SCHOOL'S DETERMINATION OF STUDENTS WITH DYSLEXIA; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The following shall be codified as Section 37-173-16, Mississippi Code of 1972:
37-173-16. (1) Each local school district shall make an initial determination of whether a student diagnosed with dyslexia meets the eligibility criteria under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to have an Individualized Education Program developed and to receive services. If a student's diagnosis of dyslexia does not result in an IDEA eligibility determination then the district must proceed with their process for determining if the student is eligible for a 504 Plan under the Rehabilitation Act based on the presumption that proficiency in spelling, reading and writing are essential for the student to achieve appropriate educational progress. Each local school district shall develop interventions and strategies to address the needs of those students diagnosed with dyslexia which provide the necessary accommodations to enable the student to achieve appropriate educational progress. The interventions and strategies developed shall include, but not be limited to, the use of the 3-Tier Instructional Model and the utilization of provisions of the IDEA and 504 Plan to address those needs.
(2) The State Department of Education shall require public school districts to conduct four (4) hours of in-service training in dyslexia and related disorder awareness education every three (3) years for all licensed educators and paraprofessionals responsible for instruction. Standard 1 and Standard 2 of the International Dyslexia Association's "Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading" 2018 Edition shall be the minimum content used for the dyslexia training. Additional content of the trainings shall also include the indicators and characteristics, screening processes, evidence-based interventions and accommodations for students with dyslexia and other related disorders. The training, which may be provided through live in-person instruction, online course instruction or through a prerecorded video presentation, shall be delivered by an individual who holds a State Department of Education License No. 203 in Dyslexia Therapy and a national certificate as a Certified Academic Language Therapist.
SECTION 2. Section 37-173-9, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-173-9. (1) (a) The parent or legal guardian is not required to accept the offer of enrolling in another public school in lieu of requesting a Mississippi Dyslexia Therapy Scholarship to a nonpublic school. However, if the parent or legal guardian chooses the public school option, the student may continue attending a public school chosen by the parent or legal guardian until the student completes Grade 12.
(b) If the parent or legal guardian chooses a public school within the district, the school district shall provide transportation to the public school selected by the parent or legal guardian. However, if the parent or legal guardian chooses a public school in another district, the parent or legal guardian is responsible to provide transportation to the school of choice.
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These provisions do not prohibit a
parent or legal guardian of a student diagnosed with dyslexia, at any time, from
choosing the option of a Mississippi Dyslexia Therapy Scholarship which would
allow the student to attend another public school or nonpublic special purpose
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2) If the parent or legal guardian
chooses the nonpublic school option and the student is accepted by the
nonpublic school pending the availability of a space for the student, the
parent or legal guardian of the student must notify the department thirty (30)
days before the first scholarship payment and before entering the nonpublic
school in order to be eligible for the scholarship when a space becomes
available for the student in the nonpublic school.
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3) The parent or legal guardian of a
student may choose, as an alternative, to enroll the student in and transport
the student to a public school in an adjacent school district which has
available space and has a program with dyslexia services that provide daily
dyslexia therapy sessions delivered by a department licensed dyslexia
therapist, and that school district shall accept the student and report the
student for purposes of the district's funding under the Mississippi Adequate
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2021.