A Texas public school district has the discretion to determine the number of days of the teacher contract year to devote to staff development and teacher preparation days. Staff development must be predominantly campus based and must be developed and approved by the campus site-based decision-making committee. It may include training in:
The district also may use staff development that is designed and approved by the district-level site-based decision-making committee. The district must provide scientifically based staff development relating to the instruction of students with disabilities to educators who work primarily outside of special education and who do not possess the knowledge and skills necessary to implement the individualized education programs of students receiving instruction from the educators.
House Bill 3 requires all classroom teachers and principals in grades K-3 to complete reading academies. While the target for completion was the 2021-22 school year, a bill passed in 2021 now allows districts through the 2022-23 school year to train current staff.
All K-3 teachers and principals must register for the literacy academies, but there are some exemptions and additional options.
Teachers holding all-level certification in art, health education, music, physical education, speech communication and theater arts, or theater, are exempt.
Teachers who participated in the 2018-19 READ Grant can count their participation toward the HB 3 literacy requirement. (Read more here.)
Districts may work with anyone on the Authorized Providers List in Texas, including all 20 regional education service centers.
TEA has authorized two models: a comprehensive model and a blended model (click here for more information). Both cover the same content using the same learning management system, provide a cohort leader (either a blended facilitator or a comprehensive coach) to guide participants through the process), require submission of the same artifacts, require moderated grading of artifacts, and are completed over a period of 11 months.
After choosing the delivery model(s), districts then have two implementation options:
The cost per participant for the blended model is $400, while the cost per participant in the comprehensive model is $3,000.
Regardless of the model chosen, TEA anticipates that between training and demonstrating understanding and application of concepts, it will take participants about 60 hours/11 months to complete the academies.
Districts can choose which model their K-3 teachers and principals attend and by which year before the deadline they complete the academies.
Participants who fail to demonstrate proficiency or to complete the requirements can be re-enrolled in a new cohort.
Reading Academy course modules are available via an online portal (CANVAS platform).
There are 12 modules, and performance tasks (e.g. artifacts) are embedded within modules. There are six artifacts. For example, at the end of Module 6, Phonological Awareness, teachers will video themselves providing a very brief phonological awareness lesson using the gradual release of responsibility framework. Two of the artifacts will be graded by cohort leaders, while the remainder will be graded by the CANVAS platform.
Cohort leaders must meet certain TEA qualifications, including demonstrating proficiency via a centralized TEA screening, and must have served as a teacher in grades K-5 for three or more years across their career.
In addition to demonstrating proficiency on the screening assessment, the cohort leader must be hired either directly by an approved provider or by a district that has signed a memorandum of understanding with an approved provider to implement the academy locally.
School districts can work with their authorized providers to form and register cohorts of participants. If a school district is an authorized provider, it can form cohorts as well.
School districts receive several new funding sources in HB 3 that can be used to support reading instruction, including paying for teacher attendance at reading academies. TEA strongly encourages school districts to structure the reading academies within designated campuswide professional development and/or professional learning community days to ensure that staff has ample opportunity to complete the required content and to keep costs down.
According to TEA, the Early Education Allotment, the Dyslexia Allotment, and/or the Basic Allotment increase can be utilized to compensate teachers. In addition, districts may consider Coordinated Early Intervening Services funds, the Bilingual Allotment, or Compensatory Education funds. Districts have discretion over which funds to utilize, or whether to use funds outside this list.
Slides 8 and 9 from a TEA Reading Practices presentation provide more information on each of these funding sources. Slide 33 states that districts may provide stipends to teachers to compensate them for attending the academies if they choose.
Additionally, TEA has assured districts that federal COVID-relief/ESSER funds can be used to pay reading academy stipends.