Representative Update - October 13, 2021

Presented by the Representative of the FCPS Equitable Access to Literacy Steering Committee to the Advisory Committee for Students with Disabilities.

Plan Vision

“FCPS is unified in our commitment to a divisionwide, comprehensive,and culturally responsive PreK 12 literacy program that uses evidence based practices, is grounded in the science of reading, and intentionally expands learning opportunities in accordance with students’ needs. FCPS ensures students receive explicit instruction in reading and writing to achieve proficiency in literacy regardless of race, gender, zip code, ability, socioeconomic status or languages spoken at home.”

Educational Equity

The elimination of the predictability of student outcomes based on race, gender, zip code, ability, socioeconomic status or languages spoken at home. VDOE: Adapted from the National Equity Project. Educational Equity Definition.

"The Why"

Importance of Reading Development in the Early Grades

  • 1st graders who have reading difficulties are 88% more likely to struggle in 4th grade.
  • 3rd graders who are not reading at proficient levels are 4 times as likely to leave high school without a diploma.
  • Proficiency in reading in the early grades has a positive impact on social emotional development

More info on “The Why

Literacy is Important & Related to Lifelong Outcomes

  • Has a strong impact on overall academic attainment (e g. Baer, Cook, Bald,, 2006)
  • Has an impact on economic well being (Ritchie & Bates, 2013; US Department of Labor, 2007)
  • Impacts health outcomes (NCES, 2002), social participation, and civic engagement {Venezky et al., 1986)

<chart with iReady Reading Benchmark Rats, Grades K-2 Combined>

Equitable Access to Literacy (EAL) Plan

  • Work on the plan began June 2021, after being delayed by COVID.
  • The plan is not yet created. But there is an immediate portion that went into effect for grades K-2 with the 2021-2022 School Year.
  • Plan members include department leadership (Chief Exec. and Administrative Officers, region representatives), operations staff (OSEI, Early Childhood, ESOL team, AAP, etc.), and school-based staff.
  • Department leadership and operations staff meet regularly/frequently for EAL work. The EAL Steering Committee meets monthly and consists of leaders from these teams, school-based staff, and stakeholders.

More info on “The Who” of the Plan:

  • Core Working Group
  • Working Groups
    • Curriculum & Instruction
    • Professional Development
    • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
    • Success
    • Resources
    • Communication
  • Governance
    • School Board
    • Leadership
  • Steering Committee

FCPS Equitable Access to Literacy Steering Committee


  • School Administrators
  • School Literacy Leaders
  • MTSS Team
  • OAR Team
  • ECR Team
  • Community Stakeholder Groups (ACSD, CASA, Decoding Dyslexia, NAACP, SEPTA, Edu-Futuro)
  • Monthly/Quarterly


  • Department Leadership for CAO and CEO
  • Region Representatives
  • FAESP Representative
  • Weekly/Monthly


  • DSS Office of SE Instruction
  • ISD Elementary Language Arts Team, Early Childhood Team, ESOL Team, Advanced Academics Program Team
  • OSS Elementary Language Arts Resource Teachers, Data Specialists
  • OPFLE Title 1 Elementary Language Arts Team
  • Daily/Weekly

More info on “The What” of the Plan:

The EAL Plan will identify desired outcomes and actions for the following key elements:

  • Core instruction
  • Intervention and Specialized Instruction
  • Assessment and Progress Monitoring: Data Collection, Reporting and Use
  • Professional Learning Plan
  • Family & Community Engagement
  • Resources and Accountability
  • Communication

FCPS Commitments

PreK-12 Equitable Access to literacy Plan

FCPS commitment to system-wide fidelity in:

  • Using disaggregated data (qualitative and quantitative) by VDOE subgroups to identify systemic barriers to student performance, interrogate current instructionaI practices, monitor the achievement gap, and inform changes to the system (policies, practices, resources, etc.)
  • Daily, explicit, systematic, and cumulative instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension, and writing to ensure all students receive a solid foundation in literacy.
  • lmplementation of a multi-tiered system of support to ensure early student identification and intervention in reading and writing.
  • Deepening educators' knowledge of evidence-based literacy practices grounded in the science of reading.
  • Deepening educators' practice in culturally responsive pedagogies.
  • Ongoing communication with families/caregivers and the community about student literacy outcomes 

“Parallel tracks”: The Immediate

Immediate Changes to Elementary Literacy Program

Professional Development:

  • Required professional development for 2700 PreK-2 teachers
  • Required professional I earning for school-based literacy leaders
  • Required Professional learning for school administrators and literacy leaders
  • Central office cohort of Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS)


  • Engaging in Elementary Language Arts Basal Resource Adoption Process
  • Provide explicit guidance on evidence-based intervention resources (ESSER III) grounded in science of reading for students in grades PreK-6


  • Required the Developmental Spelling Assessment for alI students in grades 1 ~6
  • ldentified specific grade level metrics for students in grades K-12
  • Required diagnostic assessments for phonological awareness and phonics development

Curriculum Development:

  • Embedded systematic, expliclit phonological awareness and phonics instruction
  • Created K-2 scope and sequence for phonological awareness and phonics, unit overviews, and daily lessons plans (~265)
  • Embedded word ladders and decodable poems in upcoming K-2 word study units
  • Embedded feedback loops to gather feedback from teachers implementing new word study curriculum

The rest of the plan

  • There is no timeline to complete.
  • It will cover K-12.
  • Though Tier 1 literacy will continue to be refined, specific populations with historically lower literacy achievement will be addressed specifically (including SWD on adapted curriculum and other Category B students).
  • “Future subgroup creation”* - *This note appeared in the presentation slides for the 8/11/21 meeting.

More info “The When”

There are almost no timelines as of yet.*

I do consider the timeliness of the next part of the plan is critical, as Category B students do not benefit from the immediate plan. So current inequities in literacy instruction between general education/Category A students with disabilities/ and the Category B students are exacerbated.

* There is a timeline for the adoption of the elementary school reading basal resource. The schools are to procure the basal resource by July 2022.

My Takeaways as an ACSD Representative

  • Specific learning disability (SLD) is the most common IEP eligibility; and an estimated 80% of students with an SLD are dyslexic. Hence, a huge proportion of all SWD (who are in grades K-2) have been addressed in this plan.
  • Inequities in literacy instruction across high incidence and low incidence disabilities (Category A and Category B students) already existed; the immediate track only furthers those inequities.
  • ATS representatives, SLPs, and teachers of blind/low vision and deaf/hard of hearing must be added both to the Steering Committee and the staff required for professional development.
  • This plan depends on MTSS structure for the appropriate “dosages” of evidence-based literacy instruction for struggling readers. The AIR First-Year Report emphasizes the inconsistent use of MTSS across FCPS. Hence MTSS shortcomings must be addressed immediately/concurrently.
  • Dr. Presidio has discussed accountability; and region representatives, school literacy leaders, and school-based administrators are included in the plan. But it may lack specific accountability measures and interventions for schools that aren’t meeting expectations.