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Press Release

Cal Poly School of Education Awarded $21,000 Grant for Developing Curriculum, Teacher Training to Support Children with Dyslexia

Contact: Nick Wilson

805-235-8008; [email protected]

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The Cal Poly School of Education (SOE) has been awarded a $21,000 grant by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing to help incorporate required dyslexia guidelines into its training for aspiring teachers in K-12 education.

Tanya Flushman
Tanya Flushman is a Cal Poly education professor and co-director of the CSU Center for the Advancement of Reading and Writing.

The Dyslexia Grants to Preparation Program funding will go toward updating curriculum and course offerings to best align with the California Dyslexia Guidelines in both general and special education programs.

New California educational code, Senate Bill 488, signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in October 2021, has revised teaching standards to include additional support for diverse learners in reading and writing and will require all teacher education programs to include content outlined in the new guidelines.

“Studies have shown that skilled teaching makes the biggest difference in a dyslexic child’s educational experience,” said Tanya Flushman, Cal Poly education professor and co-director for CSU (California State University) Center for the Advancement of Reading and Writing. “Teaching is an extremely challenging endeavor, and our intent is to prepare and support new teachers by providing them with research-based guidance for teaching.”

The grant is the maximum that any one higher education institution may receive under the Dyslexia Grant to Preparation Programs, which has a total of $2 million to distribute to education programs this year.

In addition to Cal Poly, California State Polytechnic University campuses at Humboldt and Pomona and Cal State Channel Islands were among 25 universities that learned in June they had received funding.

“The CSU as a system produces the most teachers in the state of California,” Flushman said. “And we produce a considerable number of teachers in the nation. This funding is going to allow faculty to collaborate, have a conversation around these learning outcomes and create a program matrix that will really create a holistic experience for teacher candidates.”

The International Dyslexia Association states that effective classroom instruction informed by reliable research can prevent or reduce the severity of reading and language problems, including improvement with phonological awareness and word recognition — both familiar challenges for dyslexic students.

Flushman said that the School of Education’s faculty embraced the idea of this work. The grant will provide funds for faculty collaboration around embedding the guidelines into teacher education programs, as well as developing measurable standards and assessments that gauge student knowledge and skill levels.

Three Cal Poly teacher education programs — for elementary teachers, middle and high school teachers and Master of Science in Special Education program — will benefit from the grant. The three SOE programs, which include 135 teacher candidates, will receive $7,000 each.