The Starkville Oktibbeha School District has created a new position to support students with specific language disabilities, such as dyslexia and related disorders. The Board of Trustees approved the new position for a Certified Academic Language Therapist (CALT) during its regular June board meeting.
"A Certified Academic Language Therapist integrates auditory, visual and kinesthetic channels into a structured small group or one-on-one intervention," said Asst. Supt. Anna Guntharp. "With this position, the CALT will work directly with our students who have pronounced academic needs in the area of language across the district."
In addition to the new CALT position, the District is investing up to $170,000 over the next two years for up to 14 teachers who work directly with students to earn certification as a CALT.
Teachers will complete a two-year multisensory, structured language education training program offered through a partnership with the Northeast Mississippi Education Consortium, the Shelton School and Evaluation Center, and Dallas Baptist University. The training, Shelton Academic Reading Approach (SARA), utilizes Take Flight: A Comprehensive Intervention for Students with Dyslexia program developed at Scottish Rite Hospital. Teachers who complete the program will be prepared to sit for the exam to gain national certification as a CALT. Participants will also earn 24 hours of a 30-hour Master of Arts degree in Multi-sensory Education from Dallas Baptist University. The remaining six hours can be earned online.
"The District is committed to supporting our teachers, students and families at every level, and this is an investment in their success," said School Board President Wes Gordon.
The District will pay for the cost of the training for individuals who complete the two-year certification program and agree to a contract with the school district for a specified amount of time following completion of the certification program.