The mission of our parent group Boulder Valley Kids Identified with Dyslexia (BVKID) is to create a culture of innovation and to promote awareness of dyslexia among parents, teachers, and administration in Boulder Valley and to serve students with dyslexia and related learning disorders to ensure that they reach their maximum potential.
1. To ensure universal dyslexia/reading disability screenings for all kindergartners and any new students entering the district and to monitor their progress using scientific-based assessment tools that are quantifiable and objective.
2. To ensure that a scientifically-based core reading program is implemented in grades K - 3rd, district-wide, which aligns with the National Reading Panel Report to include: Phonological Awareness, Phonics, Fluency, Vocabulary and Comprehension.
3. To ensure that the intervention for dyslexic students at all grade levels is scientifically-based with attention to frequency, intensity, duration, and fidelity.
4. To create an equitable pathway through high school, to provide access to all curriculum with peers of similar intellectual capacity, and to achieve similar graduation rates to the overall student population.
5. To ensure that staff and administrators receive the best, most up-to-date professional development to empower them to feel confident in their ability to teach any child to read.
6. To promote collaboration between parents and schools in BV to address and meet the needs of students identified with dyslexia and related learning disorders under state and federal laws.
BVKID started with one parent who was tired of seeing her child struggle in the public school system. Her tenacity propelled her to take action which started with building a network of other struggling parents. Within the first year, hundreds of parents came together through a social media outlet. Shortly after a few informal meetings, we had enough parents who were willing to take on leadership roles, and our nonprofit was official. We quickly realized that our advocacy efforts worked better when we had funds behind our push for change. Without a blink, we decided to incorporate as a 501(c)(3) and fundraise to support teacher training. After two years, BVKID has raised thousands of dollars, pushed for evidenced-based materials in the classrooms, and professional development for teachers in the district.
Ambika Parker has been an educator for the past 13 years. She first became interested in literacy instruction when her son was a struggling reader in elementary school. Ambika observed how systematic literacy instruction benefited him, and she wanted to learn why it was so effective. This curiosity led to Ambika to pursue a career in teaching. She obtained her teaching certification at CU-Boulder and completed a Masters in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education K-12 at Western Governors' University. She worked for over 8 years as a literacy and ESL teacher in Denver Public Schools. During that time, she gained a great deal of experience using explicit literacy instruction with primary-grade students.
Now a teacher at Arapahoe Ridge Alternative High School in BVSD, Ambika uses her recent Orton-Gillingham training from the BVKID scholarship to support high school students who still struggle with reading and writing. She is able to incorporate the strategies when supporting specific students who have gaps in decoding skills. Ambika says that her OG training has helped to inform her teaching, and has specifically helped her change the way she teaches writing. She said, "During the Orton-Gillingham training, I learned some very simple, but powerful, strategies that have made the process of planning and writing essays so much easier for many of my students."