Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia
I am Vice-Chair
of the Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia which had its first meeting on July 13, 2018. The Task Force was assembled to address solutions for students who are struggling readers and who may have difficulties caused by dyslexia or characteristics of dyslexia. We brought together a broad spectrum of educators and stakeholders to help guide the work of the Task Force. From this group’s work, we developed several recommendations that involved screening students early and often; training teachers and college instructors in the Science of Reading, specifically, structured literacy; and, giving our teachers and college instructors the training and tools they needed to help struggling readers.
The Task Force is authorized to meet annually to review the progress of the recommendations which are being directed by the Kansas State Board of Education. We met on Monday, Nov. 9th in Room 112-N at the Capitol
. Most members attended the meeting remotely. We received up-dates from our University partners about Teacher Preparation; Educational Service Centers about Professional Development (training); and, KSDE staff who gave us a draft copy of the Dyslexia Handbook and a timeline for the implementation of our remaining recommendations. The Kansas plan is moving forward in spite of instructional hiccups caused by COVID and we are excited! Our final action was to recommend the legislature fund the state level Dyslexia Coordinator, which was approved during the last session, but did not move forward because the session ended abruptly in March.
Joint Committee on Pensions,
Investments, and Benefits
This committee is comprised of members from both the House and the Senate. I have been a member for 2 years and we anticipate a meeting in early December. This committee receives up-dates from KPERS and reviews requests by agencies and organizations regarding potential changes in language or policies.
Shawnee County Delegation Day
at the Capitol – Dec. 9th
Each year the Shawnee County Delegation takes testimony from elected officials, groups, or individuals in Shawnee County that want to speak to the Delegation about specific concerns or legislative platforms. We usually spend a full day collecting valuable information and often hear from our local school districts, many non-profit organizations, the Greater Topeka Partnership, city and county government officials, and other folks who just want to visit with us and share their concerns.
Leadership Elections and Senate Orientation has been scheduled for December 7th and 8th.
Once leadership is selected by the Chamber on December 7th, we will get our office and committee assignments. On December 8th
, all new Senators will have a full day of orientation….learning the rules of the Chamber! For the first time in anyone’s memory, Shawnee County will have 3 new Senators, so we will all be there on the 8th
gaining a greater understanding of the Senate’s protocols and procedures. When the Legislature convenes on January 11th
there will be 14 brand new members of the Senate with 7 members having served in the House last session. The make-up will include 29 Republicans and 11 Democrats. Within the Republican Caucus there is a more conservative leaning than in 2016.