NPS Launches Center for Specialized Learning in Literacy

NPS Launches Center for Specialized Learning in Literacy
Posted on 07/07/2017
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NPS Educators Receive Specialized Instruction To Better Identify Dyslexia


NORWALK, Conn. (July 7, 2017)—Through a generous gift by The Noble Trust, Fairfield University is partnering with Norwalk Public Schools (NPS) to launch the Norwalk Center for Specialized Learning in Literacy, a comprehensive dyslexia training and intervention program. 

NPS educators are receiving training led by a recognized fellow from the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators. Orton-Gillingham is an instructional approach for treatment of dyslexia and difficulty with reading, spelling and writing. 

As one of only two educator preparation programs in Connecticut accredited by the International Dyslexia Association (IDA), Fairfield is working closely with the IDA to design innovative educator preparation models to ensure that NPS educators being trained this summer are prepared to earn national certification with the IDA as dyslexia practitioners.  

Fifteen NPS special education staff including teachers, speech and language specialists, and instructional assistants with a bachelor’s degree or higher, will have the opportunity to earn their Classroom Educator Certification through the Academy and their Dyslexia Practitioner Certification through IDA’s affiliate, the Center for Effective Reading Instruction (CERI).   

The initiative will roll out in three phases: 

Phase one provided six special education teachers, and speech and language specialists with 24 hours of literacy instruction from Literacy How prior to beginning student instruction. Twelve students who have been identified with dyslexia are currently receiving two hours of daily systematic, intensive instruction  

four days a week, for six weeks from June 26 to August 3. Training and instruction is currently taking place at Brookside Elementary School. 

Phase two of the plan consists of unveiling the newly renovated literary center, located in the former health and records facility, 350 Main Ave. Students will receive four to six hours per week of literacy preparation, which will take place at the student’s home school. Staff training will occur in the literacy center.  

During phase three, the Norwalk Summer Dyslexia Clinic model will be expanded across the district. The Center is scheduled to be open to students starting summer 2018, and will be staffed with certified Orton-Gillingham classroom educators and certified dyslexia practitioners who will provide systematic, intensive instruction and intervention services before, during, and after school. NPS will provide transportation to the facility for students.  

As part of the grant, Fairfield is also working to ensure that the district has adequately prepared school psychologists to identify students with dyslexia and will fund the training of five school psychologists in the Spring 2018. 


Norwalk Public Schools is made up of 12 elementary schools, four middle schools, two high schools, one alternative high school program and one inclusive pre-school program. NPS students come from a variety of backgrounds, with more than 41percent of students speaking a second language at home.  The NPS system delivers a learning experience that is rich in cultural diversity, as well as one that is reflective of the global society in which our graduates will work and live. The district vision is that Norwalk public Schools will be the most successful city school system in Connecticut.

Fairfield University is a Jesuit University, rooted in one of the world’s oldest intellectual and spiritual traditions. More than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students from 36 states, 47 foreign countries, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are enrolled in the University’s five schools. In the spirit of rigorous and sympathetic inquiry into all dimensions of human experience, Fairfield welcomes students from diverse backgrounds to share ideas and engage in open conversations. The University is located in the heart of a region where the future takes shape, on a stunning campus on the Connecticut coast just an hour from New York City.