After three years of implementing Reading Academies, required for all teachers in grades K-3, the Texas Education Agency is making some changes for Year 4 (2023-24) based on lessons learned from the field. One of the major changes recently announced by TEA is that the primary delivery method will be the comprehensive model. The changes will not impact educators who have already completed Reading Academy requirements.
Currently, districts can choose between two delivery models: comprehensive and blended. Given that the cost per participant for the blended model is $400, while the cost per participant in the comprehensive model is $3,000, many districts chose the blended model.
But after three years of implementation, TEA found there was a much higher rate of timely artifact submission by comprehensive cohort leaders (83.1%) than blended cohort leaders (38.3%), and that 92% of participants in the comprehensive model agree or strongly agree that their cohort leaders provided feedback and support to help with understanding Reading Academy content compared to 76.7% of participants in the blended model.
Accordingly, TEA announced that beginning in July 2023, reading academies will shift to primarily comprehensive model implementation. Limited blended pathway options will be available for select individuals, as outlined in the chart below.
Since more than 81,000 educators have already completed Reading Academies, TEA said the expectation is that Year 4 enrollment will be less than 25% of the enrollment in Years 2 and 3. Given the declining number of teachers who will participate, available funds per teacher will increase. While there is not funding dedicated specifically to paying for Reading Academies, TEA has consistently reminded districts that they can use their early education allotment to help pay for this training. TEA noted that the statewide early education allotment for FY 2024 is expected to total over $760 million.
Additionally, TEA will begin piloting a program in Year 4 (2023-24) in which educator preparation programs serve as Reading Academy providers. TEA will launch a working group in Summer 2023 comprised of a broad cross-section of EPP types to pilot Reading Academies with their candidates and contribute to planning for statewide (voluntary) implementation in the 2024-25 school year. In the 2023-24 school year, 3-6 EPPs will have students complete Reading Academies before graduation so they will meet all requirements when being hired as first-year teachers in school districts.