Thomas County Schools ensures structured literacy instruction

Rollins Center Implementation Team

Thomas County Schools is charging forward with its participation in “Literacy and Justice for All,” an opportunity for district and school leaders to join a multi-year literacy leadership cohort in support of House Bill 538, the Georgia Early Literacy Act, with the Georgia Department of Education in collaboration with the Rollins Center for Language & Literacy.

The Rollins Center, a program of the Atlanta Speech School, develops expertise with educators, system leaders, families, and advocates in the sciences of healthy brain development, language, and literacy. Through this partnership, the Rollins Center will support Thomas County Schools, one of 10 selected Georgia school districts, in its Navigation & Implementation Leadership Cohort.

Amy Tyson is the Thomas County School System’s Elementary Curriculum Director and a member of the district’s Implementation Team.  Tyson expects to see many positive results from the in-depth training such as a decrease in foundational gaps in reading across all grade levels and an increase in language development and student reading performance.

Participating districts are receiving in-person coaching and facilitation, as well as virtual coaching and support, from Rollins Center coaches over a two-year period. Leveraging Cox Campus, a free and evidence-based online learning platform, districts will train all teachers and leaders in structured literacy based on the science of reading.

“Science of reading” refers to the body of research that identifies evidence-based approaches of explicitly and systematically teaching students to read, including foundational literacy skills that enable students to develop reading skills required to meet state standards in

Tyson affirms that the Rollins Center Cohort is complex and fast-paced.

“We are covering a lot of information,” said Tyson. “Although the Implementation Team and all of our teachers are putting in many hours of professional learning, we are embracing the challenge and know the results will yield high student reading skills.”

Beginning July 1, 2025, the Georgia DOE shall require teachers in all programs licensed or commissioned by the department to receive training on developmentally appropriate evidence-based literacy instruction.  The training will align with content standards in collaboration with the Office of Student Achievement.  Thomas County Schools is advancing toward the mandate with the help of excellent training and support from The Rollins Center and Cox Campus.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to be part of this movement across the state of Georgia,” said Tyson.

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