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Gov. DeSantis Signs Legislation That Expands Literacy Screening Tool, Coaching Program to VPK Learners

Photo: Danielle Prieur
Photo: Danielle Prieur

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed two bills into law today that will expand a statewide screening and monitoring tool that identifies math and reading deficiencies in students.

DeSantis says the tool will now be used in pre-K to eighth grade classrooms and will allow teachers to provide more timely interventions for struggling pupils.

The screening tool will not only be based on reading and math scores on standardized tests but observations teachers make based on interactions with their kids.

He says the new law also sets up a program called Reading Achievement in Scholastic Excellence or RAISE that will provide regional literacy support teams including high school volunteers who will act as reading coaches.

“The RAISE program establishes a coordinated system of regional literacy support teams to go into communities and provide pivotal reading supports where necessary. The RAISE program will also recruit top high school students to volunteer with high-need schools to help K-3 struggling readers gain these vital reading skills.”

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DeSantis says high school students who volunteer with the program will earn volunteer hours toward Bright Futures Scholarships.

“The initiative will not only benefit the students who need it most but provide high schoolers with the unique opportunity to profoundly impact others all while gaining volunteer hours toward Bright Futures Scholarships."

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DeSantis, a former teacher himself, has already increased the minimum teacher salary in the state and expanded civics education during the pandemic.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.