Guidance Regarding the 2022 Application Requesting a Waiver of Connecticut Approved K–3 Reading Curriculum Models or Programs (Waiver)
Section 10-14hh(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.) mandates that each local and regional board of education implement for the 2023–24 school year and each school year thereafter a reading curriculum model or program for grades prekindergarten to grade three, inclusive, that has been reviewed and recommended pursuant to C.G.S. 10-14ii.
C.G.S. Sec 10-14hh(c), however, provides that local and regional boards of education may request a waiver to implement a reading curriculum model or program other than a model or program reviewed and recommended pursuant to section 10-14ii. C.G.S. 10-14hh(c) further provides that the Commissioner of Education, in consultation with the director of the Center for Literacy Research and Reading Success, shall, upon the request of a local or regional board of education, grant such waiver if the Commissioner determines that the local or regional board of education requesting a waiver has demonstrated that such other reading curriculum or model is:
- evidenced-based and scientifically based, and
- focused on competency in the following areas of reading: oral language, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, rapid automatic name or letter name fluency and reading comprehension.
As required by C.G.S. Sec 10-14hh(c), the waiver request—in addition to satisfying the foregoing criteria—shall include (A) data collected from the reading assessments described in C.G.S Sec. 10-14t that has been disaggregated by race, ethnicity, gender, eligibility for free or reduced priced lunches, students whose primary language is not English and students with disabilities, and (B) a strategy to address remaining reading achievement gaps, as defined in C.G.S. Sec. 10-14u as the existence of a significant disparity in the academic performance of students among and between (A) racial groups, (B) ethnic groups, (C) socioeconomic groups, (D) genders, and (E) English language learners and students whose primary language is English.
The 2022 Application Requesting a Waiver of Connecticut Approved K–3 Reading Curriculum Model or Program (Waiver) was developed in alignment with the legislation and incorporates stakeholder feedback.
For local and regional board of education convenience, the Waiver application has been constructed using the Qualtrics online software. The Waiver application includes grades Kindergarten through three (K–3), inclusive, as currently prekindergarten (PreK) reading curriculum models or programs are still under review.
The Waiver application must be completed by one signatory representing the local or regional board of education and submitted by 5:00 p.m.,on February 28, 2023. The Waiver requires the signatory to:
- Submit a detailed description, that may include a compendium of documents, to demonstrate that the curriculum model or program is evidenced-based and scientifically based and focused on competency in the following areas of reading: oral language, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, rapid automatic name, or letter name fluency and reading comprehension (C.G.S. Sec. 10-14hh).
- Upload the completed K–3 Reading Data Template (C.G.S. Sec. 10-14hh).
- Upload the strategy created to address reading achievement gaps as defined in C.G.S. Sec. 10-14u, in the academic performance of students among and between (A) racial groups, (B) ethnic groups, (C) socioeconomic groups, (D) genders, and (E) English language learners and students whose primary language is English (C.G.S. Sec. 10-14hh).
- Sign a signature page.
- Any embedded links or materials included in a submission must be easily accessed and must not require permissions or passwords. If a reviewer is unable to access or review materials submitted, the application will not be reviewed. Please note, if you are submitting multiple documents for review, you must upload a zip file of all documents.
2023 Waiver Review Process
In May 2023, the CSDE partnered with the Public Consulting Group (PCG) to assist in developing a review process and to make recommendations regarding waiver status. In response, PCG built a multidisciplinary team of professionals and specialists to comprise subject matter expertise, project management, technical systems expertise, and administrative support to ensure project success. The team consists of experts in early literacy, the science of reading, and dyslexia. They have vast experience teaching, coaching, and directing Literacy and English Language Arts programs at both the state and district levels, with an emphasis on the teaching of explicit foundational skills.
Informational Webinar for Districts Who Have Requested a Waiver of Connecticut Approved K–3 Reading Curriculum Models or Programs
The CSDE and PCG hosted four informational webinars for districts requesting a waiver of Connecticut Approved K–3 Reading Curriculum Models or Programs (Waiver). Download the slide deck for this presentation.
Waiver Application Review Tool
The Waiver Application Review Tool will be utilized during the review process to capture research-based evidence, document the findings, and identify the areas in which legislative requirements are met or not met.
Expertise of the Literacy Team
Specifically, team members have experience in foundational literacy and an understanding of the skill progression that leads to college and career readiness, thereby providing a vertical perspective from which to develop a system of professional learning for building teacher capacity in the science of reading. Together, this team of literacy experts boasts 160+ years of professional experience supporting foundational literacy initiatives grounded in the science of reading. They hold certifications and accreditations in Elementary Education, K–5 and 6–12 Reading Education, Special Education, Bilingual Education, Gifted and Talented Education, Educational Leadership, Structured Literacy Dyslexia, and Language Therapy.
The team includes literacy leaders who are certified trainers for nationally recognized science of reading professional development and curricula, such as LETRS (Language Essentials of Teacher of Reading and Spelling), Language!, REWARDS, Readwell, Step Up to Writing, Wilson Reading, Spalding Writing Road to Reading, and all SRA/McGraw-Hill Direct Instruction programs, and have contributed authorship to nationally recognized science of reading based curricula, such as Language!, Readwell, and Passport Reading Journeys. The skills and qualifications of PCG’s subject matter experts are frequently enlisted by the nation’s highest performing school systems as well as those facing systemic and pervasive challenges. A list of related projects can be found below.
- Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE)
- Colorado Department of Education (CDE)
- Florida Department of Education (FLDOE)
- Hillsborough County Public Schools, Tampa FL (HCPS)
- Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE)
- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MADESE)
- Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami FL (M-DCPS)
- Montgomery Public Schools, Montgomery AL (MPS)
- New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE)
- New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED)
- New York State Education Department (NYSED)
- Vermont Agency of Education