Special Programs » Dyslexia


November Region 10 Information Letter for Parents of Students with Dyslexia




The International Dyslexia Association defines “dyslexia” in the following way:  Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede the growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.  Adopted by the International Dyslexia Association Board of Directors, November 12, 2002. 
Texas Education Code (TEC) §38.003 defines dyslexia in the following way:  “Dyslexia means a disorder of constitutional origin manifested by a difficulty in learning to read, write, or spell, despite conventional instruction, adequate intelligence, and sociocultural opportunity.”
The following link gives a clearer understanding of dyslexia and its lifelong effects.



Highland Park Independent School district supports the educational concept that reading, writing, and spelling skills provide the foundation for overall academic success.  Although dyslexia is a life-long condition, the HPISD Dyslexia Program equips students with the skills needed to be successful in school.  The HPISD Dyslexia Program provides students who have a diagnosis of dyslexia with the opportunity to participate in the Take Flight program.  Take Flight is a comprehensive intervention program for students with dyslexia and is the most recent treatment developed by the Luke Waites Center for Dyslexia and Learning Differences in Dallas, Texas. 
Instruction in the Take Flight program is administered by a trained dyslexia/reading specialist and is available at each HPISD campus.  A CALT is a trained dyslexia specialist with a Master’s Degree who has completed an intensive and rigorous training program that included hundreds of hours teaching students with dyslexia.  A CALT provides dyslexia instruction at most HPISD elementary campuses as well as at McCulloch Intermediate School and Highland Park Middle School. 
The HPISD Dyslexia Program follows all TEA guidelines for assessment, identification, and instruction as per TEA guidelines outlined in the TEA Dyslexia Handbook, Updated 2018. (see link below)
  • Click here for the English version of the TEA Dyslexia Handbook, 2018.
  • Click here for the HPISD Board Policy for Dyslexia and Related Disorders.



Campus dyslexia/reading specialists have been trained in Take Flight, a multi-sensory method for teaching reading, writing, and spelling. Most dyslexia/reading specialists hold advanced degrees and have many years of experience working with students with reading disabilities. These teachers stay current in the area of dyslexia by attending local, state, and national conferences and workshops each year. 
Armstrong Elementary  
Nancy Stare, M.Ed., LDT, CALT
Kelly Lipscomb, M.Ed., CALT
Boone Elementary  Mason Burkett, M. Ed., CALT
Bradfield Elementary 
Nicole Shrauner, CALT
Kelly Lipscomb, M.Ed., CALT
Hyer Elementary  Ashley McCutchin, M.A.T., CALT
University Park Elementary  Erin Gonzales, M.Ed., CALT
McCulloch Intermediate School  Graham Campbell, M.Ed., CALT
Highland Park Middle School    Meghan Mitchell, M.Ed., CALT
Highland Park High School    Sarah Reynolds, M Ed., LDT, CALT
HPISD Dyslexia Coordinator Nancy S. Johnson, M.Ed., LDT, CALT



With the enactment of TEC 38.003, Highland Park ISD began screening all kindergarten and first-grade students for dyslexia.  The Shaywitz Screener is an evidence-based assessment that helps classroom teachers identify students in kindergarten and first grade who may be at risk for dyslexia. Created by Dr. Sally Shaywitz, a global leader in dyslexia research and advocacy, the digital assessment emphasizes phonological, linguistic and academic performance. Dr. Shaywitz is co-director of the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity. The Shaywitz Screener meets the criteria of TEC 38.003 for the screening of all kindergarten and first-grade students at the times specified in the TEA Dyslexia Handbook, Updated 2018.  Results of the screener are reviewed, and a determination for additional instruction is made at the campus level. Results are reported to parents, campus administrators, and campus dyslexia specialists for review. Appropriate campus intervention is planned as needed. 




Teachers and parents may refer a student for a dyslexia assessment to the Student Support Team (SST).  If the student is already receiving Special Education services or already has accommodations under Section 504, then the request for assessment may come via the ARD Committee or the 504 Committee.  Parents must give written consent for a dyslexia assessment.  Once the assessment is completed, the HPISD Dyslexia Review Committee (which is composed of HPISD dyslexia specialists as well as an HPISD assessment specialist and a speech/language specialist) reviews the confidential test results to assure that all areas of concern are properly assessed prior to returning to the parents and the SST, ARD, or 504 Committee.  The SST, ARD, or 504 Committee (with parents in attendance) confirms or denies the diagnosis of dyslexia. First-grade students may be referred to the Pre-Flight program, the precursor to Take Flight and the recommended treatment for children of this age.  Pre-Flight was developed at the Luke Waites Center for Dyslexia and Learning Differences in Dallas, Texas. 


  • Pre-Flight is a primary level intervention for students who need additional instruction in foundational reading skills. The framework for Pre-Flight instruction was developed by the Luke Waites Center for Dyslexia and Learning Disorders in Dallas, Texas.
  • In addition to the reading instruction provided in their general education classrooms, students in grades 2-6 who are identified with dyslexia may also be recommended by the Student Support Team (SST), the 504 Committee or the ARD (Admission, Review, Dismissal) Committee to attend the Take Flight instruction provided on their home campus. This small group therapy is designed as a two-year pull-out program for a minimum of 225 minutes per week. 



With a recommendation from the SST, ARD, or 504 committees, students at Highland Park Middle School and Highland Park High School who are identified as dyslexic may receive instruction utilizing the Take Flight program from the campus dyslexia/reading specialist. These classes take the place of one elective during their school day.  High school students will receive one local elective credit for this class.




While students are actively enrolled in the Take Flight program, their reading progress is monitored by the dyslexia specialist.  Students identified with dyslexia under Section 504 who have completed the Take Flight program or received dyslexia intervention from another school district or from a private provider will also be progress monitored.  This monitoring will include reading rate, accuracy, and comprehension as well as progress on State and District assessments.  Monitoring results are reported to campus administration as well as to the SST or 504 Committees.




When students complete 4th grade, all student records (of both active and former students as well as those students who were assessed for dyslexia) are sent to the dyslexia/reading specialist at McCulloch Intermediate School.  These records then follow the student through McCulloch Intermediate School, Highland Park Middle School, and Highland Park High School.  In the event that additional dyslexia services are needed, the campus dyslexia/reading specialist will have the past record of reading assessment and intervention for the student.




It is important for parents to keep records for students to present to the college when applying for accommodations in college.  Colleges should not require re-assessment for students with dyslexia; a history of receiving accommodations under 504 or IDEA should be sufficient. When applying to college, it is the student’s responsibility to “self-disclose” their dyslexia and the need for accommodations. High school transcripts do not identify the student as an individual with dyslexia.  The International Dyslexia Association website (www.dyslexiaida.org) has several fact sheets that are helpful as students transition to college (see links below).

*Applying for Accommodations in College Click Here

*Transition from High School to College (See below) (link)




The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) provides many helpful resources for parents. Some of the most often used and helpful Fact Sheets are linked below, but there are many others on the IDA website www.dyslexiaida.org.