New Remedial Reading and Remedial Language Arts Certification Programs Launching at Fairfield
As an organization, we are impatient in our pursuit of a world where reading is a civil right, and leaders such as Dr. McCombes-Tolis can help us achieve that
— Rick Smith, IDA Chief Executive Officer
The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) has announced Fairfield’s director of Reading and Language Development, Jule McCombes-Tolis, PhD, as the organization’s new chief academic officer for Educator Training Initiatives. Dr. McCombes-Tolis will continue to serve as director of the Reading and Language Development program as she takes on new responsibilities with the IDA.
The mission of the IDA is to support individuals who struggle with dyslexia and other related reading differences around the world. For more than 65 years, the IDA has been dedicated to providing current and reliable research to educate families and professionals about dyslexia, and to identify policy changes needed to deliver effective instruction to all students.
Dr. McCombes-Tolis has been an advocate for student literacy growth throughout her career. In addition to holding credentials in and having served as a professor of, both special education and remedial reading, she has served families and school districts across the state of Connecticut as an independent educational evaluator specializing in the identification and remediation of reading disorders. Her commitment to rigorous, informed, and contextualized educator development is evident in her work on state policy panels, legislative initiatives, and innovative university-district partnerships.
“IDA’s Educator Training Initiative strives to ensure that all students have access to classroom teachers who are knowledgeable about the principles and practices of structured literacy, and that students who require additional practice — or who require individualized remediation — have access to nationally credentialed specialists who have proven, through their supervised clinical training experiences, that they are able to positively and meaningfully impact students’ reading outcomes," said Dr. McCombes-Tolis.
It is evident that dyslexia training is crucial for educators. The National Institutes of Health estimates that between six to 17 percent of school-age children have some form of dyslexia, although not all of those students have been identified by their schools. On a local level, efforts to support literacy are more important than ever in light of the State’s 2017 standardized test results released earlier this month, indicating that 54.2 percent of all third through eighth graders are reading at grade level, representing a 1.4 point decline from last year.
"Dr. McCombes-Tolis brings not only her significant expertise, but also her visible passion for assuring that teachers across our country and globally have better tools to recognize, understand, and reach students with dyslexia and other reading differences," said Rick Smith, chief executive officer of the IDA. "As an organization, we are impatient in our pursuit of a world where reading is a civil right, and leaders such as Dr. McCombes-Tolis can help us achieve that destiny.”
Fairfield’s Remedial Reading and Remedial Language Arts Certification
Just last week Dr. McCombes-Tolis presented Fairfield University’s new Remedial Reading and Remedial Language Arts Certification program to the Connecticut State Board of Education, which received unanimous approval to award the certification as a stand-alone endorsement, and in the context of both a master’s degree and a sixth-year certificate. Aside from being the only IDA accredited program in Fairfield County, the Remedial Reading and Remedial Language Arts program in the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions is the only program in Fairfield County to offer the 102 certification in the context of a master’s degree.
For more information about the Remedial Reading and Remedial Language Arts Certification program at Fairfield University, please contact Dr. Jule McCombes-Tolis or the Office of Graduate Admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org or (203) 254-4184.
Summer Dyslexia Intervention Clinic
Within the community Dr. McCombes-Tolis continues to collaborate with local schools on many levels to positively impact reading achievement. She recently worked with Norwalk Public Schools’ Superintendent Steven Adamowski to develop and secure funding for a summer dyslexia intervention clinic.
Together they secured an $80,000 grant from the Noble Charitable Trust to engage the literacy program Literacy How in creating a summer dyslexia intervention clinic at Brookside Elementary School. The first cohort of six Norwalk teachers will receive training needed to earn certifications with the IDA as dyslexia practitioners, and in the Orton-Gillingham instructional approach to reading which is widely used for students with dyslexia. These teachers will serve 12 students this summer and will continue to work with them over the course of the next school year. Five Norwalk school psychologists will also receive training by Fairfield University in how to diagnose dyslexia.