Starting in the 2018-19 school year, Missouri and Nebraska laws required public schools and charter schools to take new action on dyslexia.

In each state, laws put an emphasis on screening and resources to help schools provide support to students.

Because the Network for Educator Effectiveness supports schools in Missouri and Nebraska, we wrote this blog post to detail the state mandates and where schools can find support and resources to help.

Young student reading at school

Dyslexia Laws for Missouri Schools

In Missouri, starting in the 2018-19 school year, schools were required to:

  • Conduct dyslexia screenings for students in grades K-3.
  • Provide reasonable classroom support for students with dyslexia.
  • Provide two hours per year of dyslexia training for all practicing teachers.

Meeting the Missouri Dyslexia Mandates

A no-cost dyslexia screening tool, the Shaywitz DyslexiaScreen, is available to school districts at no cost.

Guidance on offering classroom support for students with dyslexia can be found starting on Page 6 of this dyslexia guidance document from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. (Appendix D on Pages 19-20 also provides sample parent letters about the dyslexia screening.)

The Network for Educator Effectiveness created an online training for dyslexia through our professional learning resource library, EdHub. Teachers in NEE school districts can access the dyslexia training module through EdHub by logging in to the NEE Data Tool. The training takes two hours to complete, though teachers can complete the module and associated tasks at their own pace. Journal entries associated with each task provide evidence of the training’s completion.

There are a variety of other PD options available to meet the dyslexia training requirement, many of which are free. DESE put together a list of options to meet the PD mandate, although this is not an all-inclusive, recommended, or approved list.

The Missouri mandate requires yearly training, so teachers will complete an additional two hours of training for 2019-20 and beyond.

Dyslexia Laws for Nebraska Schools

In Nebraska, schools are now required to provide evidence-based structured literacy instruction to students who exhibit characteristics of dyslexia, regardless of whether a medical diagnosis has been made. The Nebraska Department of Education also was required to develop and distribute a technical assistance document for dyslexia to school districts, ESUs, and teacher education programs.

Additionally, the Nebraska Reading Improvement Act, which goes into effect in the 2019-20 school year, requires schools to administer an NDE-approved reading assessment three times per year to most students in grades K-3.

Meeting the Nebraska Dyslexia Mandates

The NDE technical assistance document for dyslexia provides a description of the characteristics of dyslexia as well as an overview of evidence-based instruction and intervention strategies. Reviewing this document will guide administrators and teachers in their understanding of dyslexia. For more in-depth resources on instruction and intervention strategies, NDE also has provided a variety of guidance documents on evidence-based practices and recommendations for early literacy instruction.

In addition to these resources, schools that use NEE in Nebraska might also find it helpful to review the dyslexia module available in EdHub.

The EdHub module has four activities and associated tasks:

  • What do all teachers need to know about dyslexia?
  • What basic literacy instruction should all students receive?
  • What do teachers need to know about the dyslexia intervention process?
  • Which technology tools can be used to support students with reading disorders?

Journal entries are associated with each activity to provide for deeper learning and reflection. The module takes about two hours to complete, although teachers can go at their own pace. Teachers can access the dyslexia module by logging in to the NEE Data Tool and clicking on EdHub. The dyslexia module is bookmarked at the top of the EdHub page.

To meet the Nebraska Reading Improvement Act, NDE has published a list of approved assessments and threshold levels needed to identify reading deficiencies. Schools choose an assessment from the approved list and administer it three times per year (the first of which must occur within the first 30 days of the school year) to most students in grades K-3.

Some students are exempt from the requirement, including:

  • any student with limited English proficiency who has received less than two years of English instruction
  • any student receiving special education services for whom such assessment would conflict with their individualized education plan
  • any student receiving services under a plan pursuant to the requirements of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act for whom such assessment would conflict with section 504 or Title II Plan

Students identified as having a reading deficiency must then be enrolled in a supplemental reading intervention program, including access to a summer reading program. Parents should be notified within 15 days of the student being identified as having a reading deficiency. Within 30 days of identifying a reading deficiency, the student must have an individual reading improvement plan (IRIP) in place. Guidance on IRIPs from NDE is forthcoming on this page.

Students will continue to be enrolled in the supplemental reading intervention program until they are no longer identified as having a reading deficiency.

Additional Resources for Dyslexia

Combating reading disabilities requires a multipronged approach. Students must be provided with evidence-based reading instruction, early screening, and intervention in order to prevent those who are affected by a reading deficiency from falling far behind their peers.

Here are additional resources that can help educators gain a better understanding of dyslexia and strategies to support students.

The Network for Educator Effectiveness (NEE) is a simple yet powerful comprehensive system for educator evaluation that helps educators grow, students learn, and schools improve. Developed by preK-12 practitioners and experts at the University of Missouri, NEE brings together classroom observation, student feedback, teacher curriculum planning, and professional development as measures of effectiveness in a secure online portal designed to promote educator growth and development.