Petition update

History of OUSD's Reading Clinic

Concerned Parents of OUSD

Mar 25, 2016 — Letter from Rita Meagher, Special Education Teacher and parent in OUSD, to the Board of Education, sharing information on the history of the Reading Clinic:

Dear OUSD School Board,

Thank you for taking the time to review the issue regarding the closure of the OUSD Reading Clinic. With so many other students, parents, teachers and community members, I am imploring you to keep this valuable, state of the art clinic in place. Fifteen years ago, this clinic was started to address the great inequity in the provision of Special Education services throughout the district. Parents with financial means could hire tutors and/or attorneys to advocate for their child's rights and receive services at private clinics paid for by OUSD.

Children without these resources continued to fail, to be non-readers year after year and to attend school daily only to be frustrated and angered, unconsciously realizing that they were ignored and not important members of our school district. Most of these children are children of color, children living in low economic areas, children living in poverty , children who are homeless, children with domestic violence in their homes and little adult support.

The OUSD Reading Clinic was designed to help ALL students. In its first year , every clinician received extensive training and certification from the Lindamood-Bell Reading Program Company. The clinic itself was run and directed by Lindamood-Bell consultants, under the supervision of the OUSD Special Education Department, who stayed at the clinic everyday for the first year to insure the quality and integrity of their highly successful program... a program that uniquely incorporates the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic modalities as well as a speech and language component to insure student success.

This clinic was such a new and successful innovation that OUSD was lauded by the nation and many visitors from other school districts from many states came to observe in an effort to duplicate this unique approach to reaching all students in large urban areas.

Students at the clinic are instructed by a teacher in a quiet cubicle for 2 hours each day, 5 days a week. They are transported by bus to the clinic from their school of attendance and returned. Many students are readers after one year at the clinic, some need two years. They then return to their classrooms as READERS! and future successful, contributing members to our community.

The clinicians at the clinic work together to consult and review all the students' progress and are able to make changes, i.e. change cubicles or clinicians to provide only successful experiences. Every Clinic SDC teacher and paraprofessional also meet at the clinic so that this group is always preserving the excellence of the instruction they provide.They also hone and improve their skills together in a clinic setting. They are the very best Reading Specialists in OUSD.

An attempt to apply this program at school sites will result in failure and a loss of opportunity for our most at-risk children. Schools are large and often noisy. Room space is limited. Teachers are often not highly skilled at teaching reading and have numerous other duties associated with their positions. Attendance and participation in a quiet , supportive environment away from the school site will not occur and the amazing success rate will be eliminated. This year's decision to locate the clinic at TWO sites has already weakened this resource and further dissemination will destroy it.

I apologize for the length of this email but I am aware that there are many new people working in this district who may not know or understand the history and success of this program. As a former clinician at the clinic, I know first-hand the gift it gives to our students.

I hope you will watch the video below to see the clinic in action. It is a very special place . Please keep it alive in its present form in our district.

Respectfully yours,

Rita M. Chappelle, MEd
CA Certificated Reading Specialist
CA Certificated LD Specialist
Parent and Teacher in Oakland,CA

"Fair doesn't mean giving every child the same thing, it means giving every child what they need."
~ Rick Lavoie ~

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