I’ve been teaching second grade for 18 years, and have heard that I have to go through extensive new training soon — is that true?

HB 3, passed during the 2019 legislative session, requires each classroom teacher and principal for grades K-3 to attend literacy achievement academies not later than the 2021-22 school year. New teachers subsequently must attend an academy prior to their first year of assignment in those grades.

TEA provided details of its plans for authorizing two different models of literacy achievement academies that meet the requirements of HB 3 during the Sept. 12 edition of its weekly HB 3 topical video series; this one on Implementation of HB 3 Reading Practices. In the video and accompanying materials, TEA provided information about the structure of each of the two models, the comprehensive model and the blended model, either of which must be offered by TEA-authorized providers (which may include school districts, regional education service centers and external organizations).

The comprehensive model will be structured similarly to the current TEA-authorized reading academies, with 10 days of in-person training interspersed throughout 15 months, supported by job-embedded coaching. Participating teachers will be required to submit artifacts as part of the process.

In the blended model, while participants can work at own pace, they will be required to demonstrate proficiency in each competency prior to moving ahead in the module. Participants using the blended model will grade artifacts based on competencies online or in person at associated reading academy providers.

Districts can choose which model they would like their K-3 teachers and principals to attend.

Exceptions

According to TEA, all K-3  teachers and principals must register for the literacy academies, though skilled participants may test out of modules. TEA also provides that teachers who participated in the 2018-2019 READ Grant can count their participation in the reading academy associated with that grant as credit for the HB 3 requirement for attendance at literacy achievement academies because content is aligned to the new TEKS and participants will demonstrate competencies throughout this year.

The online modules for literacy achievement academies are currently in development. Academy providers will be certified prior to March 2020, when provider and facilitator training will begin. All eligible teachers and principals will be able to begin registration this spring for cohorts with a summer 2020 start. Additional cohorts will enroll on a quarterly basis.

Funding

School districts receive several new funding sources in HB 3 that can be used to support reading instruction, including paying for teacher attendance at reading academies, including:

  • Early education allotment: additional 0.10 for each student in grades K-3 who is educationally disadvantaged or limited English proficient (LEP)
  • A student who is both educationally disadvantaged and limited English proficiency generates a funding weight of 0.20
  • Dyslexia allotment: additional 0.10 for each eligible student with dyslexia or a related disorder who is receiving dyslexia services
  • Basic allotment increase: additional $1020 per student in ADA.