Hilliard City Schools officials and a parent-advocacy group have planned a dialogue on how to provide an effective learning environment for students with dyslexia.

Vicky Clark, who is the district’s director of elementary education, and other administrators plan to meet with Hilliard Parents United on Tuesday, Oct. 3.

“We are looking to partner (with district officials) to achieve the best outcomes for our children who learn differently, specifically (those with) dyslexia,” parent Alayna Pierce said after the Oct. 2 school board meeting attended by 25 members of Hilliard Parents United.

Members of Hilliard Parents United told district leaders in advance they would attend, said district spokeswoman Stacie Raterman.

Dyslexia is a neurological disorder in which the brain has trouble figuring out written words and which manifests itself differently in different people. Hilliard administrators said they are willing to hear any concerns about how dyslexic children are taught. 

“We are always willing to sit down and listen to parents,” Assistant Superintendent Leslie McNaughton said.

Parent Julie Rhoades said Hilliard Parents United has been compiling stories from parents about how dyslexic students are performing to illustrate personal experiences.

They also have looked at other communities.

Chris Ighnat, whose 8-year-old daughter has dyslexia, told board members that many other central Ohio districts have staff members who specialize in working with students with dyslexia.

“Our schools need to reach out more,” Ighnat said.

Vicky Clark, director of elementary education, said the district has several staff members who work closely with dyslexic students.

About 30 educators have participated in professional-development training, including the Orton-Gillingham reading program of the Institute for Multi-Sensory Education, Clark said.

The district also uses the Stevenson Reading and Phonetics First programs, she said.

“Our goal is to build as many tools as possible to reach all our students,” Clark said. “There isn’t just one approach.”

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