Thank you for joining us at our 2nd annual Ruth Harris Dyslexia & Language Learning Disability Symposium!

Save the date Announcement for the Ruth Harris Symposium on October 1, 2022.

In collaboration with the Ruth Harris Initiative and the Virginia Department of Education Training and Technical Assistance Center (T/TAC), on October 1, 2022. The event was held in the VCU School of Business, where the Ruth Harris symposium welcomed Mr. Kareen Waver. The hybrid keynote speaker spoke about seeking answers to student literacy needs on behalf of FULCRUM, (Full and Complete READING is a UNIVERSAL MANDATE).  Breakout sessions focused on families, parents, professionals, and students following the keynote address and a collaborative lunch.

Selected sessions are shared below from the October 2022 symposium.

*BONUS Recorded Session*

English Isn’t Crazy: An Introduction to Morphology

Mary Murray Stowe, M.Ed., works with teachers, administrators, instructional coaches, directors, and coordinators of Special Education through the Training and Technical Assistance Center at William & Mary and the Virginia Department of Education as an educational specialist. Mary is certified as a SIM™ Certified Learning Strategy Professional Developer, Certified Local LETRS Classic Trainer, and LETRS Third Edition Facilitator. Mary is pursuing her doctoral degree in Special Education and serves as the Co-President of the Virginia Branch of the International Dyslexia Association.

Session Description: English is a morphophonemic language with contributions from other languages. Individuals begin their journey into acquiring language skills through phonology, but engagement with the other language processors – orthography, meaning, and context - becomes of equal importance as learning progresses. Students move from phonemes to the study of morphemes and languages of origin as they progress to skill acquisition. Participants will learn the layers of the English language as well as the transparency, generativity, and complexity of word composition and the relationship of the growth of these skills to the Virginia English Standards of Learning.


*BONUS Recorded Session*

Navigating Supports for Students with Learning Disabilities in Higher Ed.

Ian Kunkes currently serves as the Director of Student Accessibility and Educational Opportunity at Virginia Commonwealth University and holds additional roles as a Student Affairs Leadership Team member and as chair of VCU's Transforming Accessibility. He recently earned his doctorate in Leadership through VCU's School of Education. He previously earned his Master's in Clinical Psychology from Loyola University, Maryland, and a Bachelor's in Psychology from The University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Ian regularly contributes to disability and accessibility support through presentations, publications, and active engagement with his professional associations. Supporting students with disabilities, notably Learning Disabilities, as they transition from K-12 to a higher education setting is a particular area of interest and focus of Ian’s work.

Session Description: This recorded session will offer an overview of how students, families, and educators can navigate the process of identifying and accessing support and services for individuals transitioning from K 12 to Higher Education. We will focus on three main topics: 1) The main differences between disability support in K-12 vs. Higher Ed, 2) Understanding the accommodation eligibility and determination process, and 3) Addressing FAQs and common misconceptions.

Ruth Harris welcomes our 2022 speaker, Mr. Kareem Weaver. 

Keynote Speaker: Mr. Kareem Weaver     "Students with Dyslexia: How to Make a Difference."

Can I really make that big of a difference? What do I do? Are the answers to students' literacy needs beyond our reach? Kareem Weaver answers these questions, provides guidance, and encourages attendees to move boldly in service of students.

Kareem is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of FULCRUM (Full and Complete Reading is a Universal Mandate). Kareem previously led the Western Region for New Leaders, a leader development organization that supports the professional growth of teachers and administrators and prepares them to serve schools and communities desiring improved outcomes. Prior to New Leaders, Kareem was an award-winning teacher and administrator in Oakland, California, and Columbia, South Carolina.

Kareem has an undergraduate degree from Morehouse College, and a master's in Clinical-Community Psychology from the University of South Carolina. He is an Oakland NAACP Education Committee member and a Senior Visiting Fellow at the National Council on Teacher Quality. His professional heroine is the late, great Marva Collins. 

Families/Parents Strand: This strand is designed for families and parents of students with Dyslexia or language disorders. Explore the intersection of student needs and family dynamics while attending these sessions.  Topics offered are related to stress reduction, the science of reading, and compassionate family engagement will engage and inform.

Professional Strand: This strand is designed for educational professionals. Elevate your understanding of sound walls, the components of structured literacy, and Dyslexia & Word Recognition. Professionals will discover why making literacy the foundation is good for every student. 

Student Strand: Target audience of VCU students, pre-service professionals in education, high school juniors/seniors. In this strand, participants will engage in interactive activities to support self-determination and increased self-awareness with students of all ages and abilities.