In an earlier post, TCTA notified members of the House Bill 3 requirement that all classroom teachers and principals in grades K-3 must attend literacy achievement academies no later than the 2021-22 school year. Registration is expected to begin this spring for cohorts with a summer 2020 start.

TEA has now released a video with more information about the rollout of the literacy achievement academies. (Click here to watch the video.) Literacy academy provider applications will be posted in December, authorized providers will be announced in February and provider training is March 2-4 in Austin. 

TEA also announced that it intends to propose rules to temporarily exempt special area teachers from the requirement to attend the literacy achievement academies (including art, music and physical education). 

In addition to the previously announced pair of models for these academies — a comprehensive model or a blended model — TEA will allow a third model in response to stakeholder feedback. Districts that already employ qualified staff who can act as reading academy cohort leaders can execute a memorandum of understanding with an approved provider. A district will pay a fee per cohort leader to the provider to obtain reading academy infrastructure and training. That cohort leader will ensure all K-3 teachers and principals complete the training.

Otherwise, TEA-set provider fees include $400 per participant for the blended model, and $3,000 per participant for the comprehensive model (not including costs for teacher stipends and travel). Districts may choose to have certain teachers and principals participate in one type of reading academy model and others in another model.

Regardless of the model chosen, TEA anticipates it will take participants about 80 hours to complete the academies. Participants who fail to demonstrate proficiency or to complete the requirements can be re-enrolled in a new cohort. 

Cohort leaders for the blended or comprehensive reading academy models must meet certain TEA qualifications, including demonstrating proficiency via a centralized TEA screening, and have served as a teacher in grades K-5 for three or more years across his/her career (graduate level training and coursework may be substituted for K-5 experience). The final process for qualifying as cohort leaders will be released in January, with the application window opening March 9, 2020. Candidates will be notified by April 15, with applications accepted on a rolling basis. Required cohort leader training will occur in Austin in May or June.

TEA strongly encourages school districts, when choosing among the three authorized reading academy models, to structure the reading academies within designated campuswide professional development and/or professional learning community days to ensure that staff has ample opportunity to complete the required content of the academies, and to keep costs down. 

Additionally, TEA said it will consider enrollment in the academies by summer of 2022 as meeting HB 3’s requirement for all K-3 classroom teachers and principals to attend the academies by the 2021-2022 school year. This decision will allow districts that have already finalized the professional development calendar for the 2020-21 school year time to incorporate the new required training.

TEA will issue a survey in December to collect data from school districts regarding current reading practices on the following:

  • Phonics curriculum using systematic direct instruction in grades K-3;
  • Prioritization of placing highly effective teacher in grades K-2; and
  • Integrated reading instrument to support pre-K to grade 3 students.

TEA expects to issue guidance in future years regarding how to improve the above practices.