A big and long-overdue change is coming to all Washington schools this fall, soon, in October.
What else is new, you ask? Are there not always changes?
The teacher who has taught third grade brilliantly for many years is told she will be teaching second grade; the fifth-grade teacher is (glad to be) pregnant and will be out for several months; new retrofitting of the water system will reduce the size of the playground by one-third until – they say – October 1.
No Child Left Behind is definitely out. A different accountability is in place, and will gradually become the new initials teachers live by. Staff meetings will be on Thursdays instead of the Wednesdays they have always been. The whole fourth grade is seriously top-heavy with boys, which will make that hallway louder. And, oh yes, yet another new reading program is in the building. Toss out all the earlier programs, successful or not.
All to be expected, all will be dealt with, some will be improvements, and some will be disasters. Keep on teaching. Wait and see.
Here is the Big News: children in Washington no longer have to wait to see if they can see to read. Twenty-five percent of children in Washington's elementary schools have some vision issue, most commonly in their near vision -- seeing the letters on the page -- or their distance vision -- seeing the whiteboard
The new near-vision screening will be happening in early October, to screen all K, 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7tth graders, IN ALL DISTRICTS of Washington State.
The Optometric Physicians of Washington (OPW) and the nine Educational Service Districts of Washington are coordinating this new screening. The OPW has sponsored and created a training video under the auspices of the University of Washington Bothell’s vision support website, www.educatingyoungeyes.org. Here you will find (after September 21) the training video for how to do the screening as well as downloadable printed instructions.
OPW can also send a developmental optometrist to any district that would like to have two hours of additional training in this screening process.
Hooray! Maybe we can catch some of the 25 percent of elementary children who can’t see to read, at last, and get them on the road to learning and school success.