Cena Holifield, the Executive Director of the 3-D School, recently penned a letter in support of House Bill 1046, pending legislation that would expand the Dyslexia Scholarship program.
“I am requesting that you please support HB 1046 to expand services to Mississippi students with dyslexia,” Holifield wrote.
The 3-D School was formed in 2008 in Petal and recently announced they would be opening a second campus in Ocean Springs next year. The specialty school provides comprehensive dyslexia therapy services by identifying children with the characteristics of dyslexia and providing an educational environment designed to include appropriate, multi-sensory research-based intervention, academic enrichment, and positive experiences that challenge students and build the necessary skills for success later in life.
“In 2012, with your support, we took a step towards raising the standard of care for these students by codifying into law dyslexia screening, treatment, and the Dyslexia Therapy Scholarship that allows MAEP funds to follow students to non-public special purpose schools,” Holifield added. “Hundreds of children have become successful readers due to the dyslexia law; however, the dyslexia scholarship program is only being utilized by three special purpose schools in the state because the law is so tightly restricted to those schools.”
The 3-D School, along with New Summit School and the Magnolia Speech School, are the only schools participating in the program because the law requires schools to be accredited by the Mississippi Department of Education. This has resulted in families either being forced to relocate or travel hundreds of miles a day to receive these educational services.
House Bill 1046 would maintain the same high standards for dyslexia services, but allow other accredited schools to participate.
“If passed, HB 1046 will have an adverse effect on the 3-D School enrollment,” Holifield noted. “This is where my agenda differs from those who oppose this bill. I’ve dedicated my life to helping children with dyslexia and would much rather children have access to dyslexia therapy programs in schools near their homes.”
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