New reading assistance applications, approaches empower Clear Creek ISD students in special education

Courtesy of Clear Creek ISD
Courtesy of Clear Creek ISD

Courtesy of Clear Creek ISD

In an effort to better support Clear Creek ISD special education students’ reading skills, Cheryl Moore, coordinator of special education student achievement, has implemented two web-based applications and a multi-sensory approach to word cards at various pilot campuses.

One of these applications is Snap and Read, which can be used with Google Chrome, iPads and more to provide access to text read aloud, which is useful for students who struggle with decoding words. Using programming like Snap and Read removes the “disabling factor” to access curriculum for those with basic reading disabilities, Moore said in a district press release.

“It also eliminates the stigmatization of requiring another person to read text aloud for students to access curriculum materials,” she said in the release.

Moore and her team have found through their visits to the pilot schools that so far, special education students have read almost 3 million words using the tool.

The other application is Reading Naturally Live, which accelerates reading achievement by combining teacher modeling—where a proficient reader narrates a passage with a less-able reader to demonstrate proper phrasing and pronunciation—with repeated reading of stories and passages and daily progress monitoring. Teachers implementing the program have seen a dramatic increase in student engagement in reading, per the release.

Snap Words, a program that uses a multi-sensory approach to acquisition of sight-word vocabulary to help students memorize high-frequency words, is also being implemented in the pilot schools. The program blends visuals, movement and storytelling, which provide multiple pathways for students to memorize these words, CCISD officials said in an email to Community Impact Newspaper.

The program is also available to students outside of special education courses. All elementary campuses have been provided two kits that contain 342 sight word cards, mini-lessons and Sight Words in sentences so students can practice reading their words in sentences. The district’s elementary bilingual campuses have also been provided supplemental kits that contain 126 high-frequency words in Spanish, per the email.

Read Naturally is being used at 22 campuses, and Snap and Read is being implemented at nine campuses. Moore said in the release that, if they continue to see student success, her team hopes to expand and solidify the use of these new tools across the ISD.

She said in an email that once she determines how many student accounts will be needed for next year, she can request the proper funds to expand these programs to the rest of the campuses. Teachers who have not yet been trained will take the online course over the summer so that implementation can begin as early as the first day of school next year.

The changes come after parents of special-needs students publicly pointed out faults in the district’s special education program, including that the district restrains and secludes students in timeout rooms. CCISD hired a consulting and research firm in response. The firm’s report noted “an overreliance on the use of restraints to manage inappropriate behaviors on some campuses.”

One of the over two dozen recommendations the firm gave was to monitor special education outcomes data to ensure academic and behavioral progress in all special-needs students. The data showed that while some areas are behind state targets, special education student achievement is improving at CCISD.
By Colleen Ferguson

A native central New Yorker, Colleen Ferguson worked as an editorial intern with the Cy-Fair and Lake Houston | Humble | Kingwood editions of Community Impact before joining the Bay Area team in 2020. Colleen graduated from Syracuse University in 2019, where she worked for the campus's independent student newspaper The Daily Orange, with a degree in Newspaper and Online Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and a degree in Spanish language and culture. Colleen previously interned with The Journal News/lohud, where she covered the commute in the greater New York City area.



With staffing taking up the vast majority of public safety budgets, staffing may have to be one area to cut costs, officials said. (Anya Gallant/Community Impact Newspaper)
Houston police, fire departments propose slight budget increases for 2020-21 amid coronavirus downturn

However, both police and fire chiefs acknowlegded personnel cuts may be necessary.

Houston fiscal year 2020-21 budget workshops run from April 7 through May 20. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Harris County launches Small Business Economic Assistance Loan Program, begins process of creating COVID-19 relief fund

In partnership with the Houston-Galveston Area Council, Harris County launched a $10 million Small Business Economic Assistance Loan Program on April 7 to help small businesses on the road to recovery.

Clear Creek ISD will remain closed until at least May 4. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Clear Creek ISD institutes pass-fail grading system for spring 2020 semester amid coronavirus

The district's board of trustees approved a resolution that included language intended to base grade-level advancement, promotion and course credit on curriculum proficiency rather than mastery.

Live music acts such as Houston-based band The Tontons have been wiped off venue schedules amid the coronavirus outbreak. Local musicians are now eligible to apply for monetary support from the newly formed Houston Music Foundation. (Courtesy Mark C. Austin)
Newly formed Houston Music Foundation offers relief to out-of-work musicians

The fund hopes to start cutting checks as early as this week.

Galveston County clerk's office processing influx of out-of-county marriage licenses

Amid the outbreak of the coronavirus, residents are still applying for marriage licenses, and the Galveston County clerk's office is helping residents from all over do so.

A temporary medical shelter is being constructed outside NRG Stadium to help house patients if area hospitals run out of capacity while treating COVID-19 cases. (Courtesy Visit Houston)
ROUNDUP: South Houston coronavirus coverage continues

Here are some notable updates from South Houston on the outbreak of coronavirus that readers may have missed.

Houston fiscal year 2020-21 budget workshops run from April 7 through May 20. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Houston city budget workshops kick off amid economic turmoil

Houston city department heads are presenting budget proposals to City Council members throughout April and May.

Sheldon State Park, along with other state parks across Texas, will temporarily close at 5 p.m. April 7. (Courtesy Texas Parks and Wildlife Department)
State parks, historic sites in the Greater Houston area close under Gov. Greg Abbott's order

Gov. Greg Abbott announced via a news release April 7 that state parks and historic sites should be temporarily closed to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Abbott's order closes all state parks and historical sites effective 5 p.m. April 7. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Gov. Abbott closes state parks, historical sites due to coronavirus concerns

Abbott said the closure is to help prevent large gatherings and strengthen social distancing.

VIDEO: Texas Tribune interview with Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar about the coronavirus's effects on the state economy

At 8 a.m. April 7, The Texas Tribune will host a live interview with Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar, conducted by Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey.

During its temporary closure, the Lone Star Flight Museum is offering virtual experiences and sharing content via its social media pages. (Courtesy of Lone Star Flight Museum)
VIRTUAL TO-DO LIST: 6 Bay Area businesses, nonprofits offering activities to stream from home, April 6-12

Here are several ideas for ways to spend the extra time indoors during the week of April 6.