This project seeks to build bridges to literacy beginning with pre-kindergarten to elementary and continuing on to secondary levels, while concurrently improving the special education workforce through support for national board certification in Exceptional Needs. Specifically, this project aims to provide that: (a) every four-year-old child in West Virginia have access to a quality pre-K program by 2012-2013;(b) the Response to Intervention (RTI) identification process with its tiers of increasingly intensive interventions will be established in all elementary schools by 2009; (c) every high school student will be sufficiently prepared in reading skills so that he or she will not be required to take a remedial reading classupon entry into postsecondary education; and (d) teachers seeking national board certification will be financially supported in the application process, provided substitutes as they prepare necessary documentation, and paid salary supplements per year upon certification.
The project will be collaborating with three universities and three local school districts that will work together in a Professional Development School model that extends the RTI process across all grade levels.Partners include the West Virginia Birth to Three and Head Start Association, the West Virginia Parent Training and Information Center, the federally funded Center for Early Literacy Learning, the Education Development Center, Inc., the 95 Percent Group (which has offered a proposal to assist with training general and special education teachers in Tiers II and III interventions), the West Virginia Department of Education's Office of Professional Preparation, and the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services. The project will provide for professional development and other supports for general and special education teachers working with children and youth with disabilities to assist them in acquiring the reading skills that offer a foundation for improved outcomes in demonstrated knowledge, graduation, transition to positive postsecondary options, and a quality of life equivalent to that of their peers without disabilities. The work incorporates research-based and established training programs, an intervention process, the sequence for building a transition reading course for high school seniors who do not achieve mastery on the 11th grade WESTEST, and strengthening the State infrastructure to increase the number of special education teachers seeking national board certification.