Bill would create new choice schools for Florida students with dyslexia

There’s a growing recognition among educators and lawmakers that some students need learning environments tailored to their individual needs.

Case in point: A bill filed yesterday would create new schools of choice aimed at children with dyslexia.

The legislation by Jacksonville-area Sen. Aaron Bean would expand Duval County’s GRASP program, and create similar institutions in five other school districts.

The K-8 schools would have small classes, curriculum especially tailored to dyslexic students, and mentoring support from the Duval school district, which started a standalone program this school year, as the Florida Times-Union reported.

GRASP stands for Guiding, Remediating and Accelerating Student Performance. The school serves second- through seventh-graders who show signs of dyslexia, dyscalculia, or dysgraphia.

Generally, dyslexia describes mental processing delays or differences which make reading difficult. Up to 20 percent of the population is believed to have varying degrees of dyslexia.

Dyscalculia describes a similar math impairment and dysgraphia deals with writing challenges.

GRASP started as a pilot program of 115 students last year at R.L. Brown Elementary. Demand for it from around the county was so great that Superintendent Nikolai Vitti, who is dyslexic, proposed moving it to larger quarters.

The bill would create a pilot project in Duval and five other districts. The districts would be required to provide students transportation to the new schools. After five years, the state would evaluate the program’s effectiveness to decide whether it should continue.

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BY Travis Pillow

Travis Pillow is Director of Thought Leadership at Step Up For Students and editor of NextSteps. He lives in Sanford, Fla. with his wife and two children. A former Tallahassee statehouse reporter, he most recently worked at the Center on Reinventing Public Education, a research organization at Arizona State University, where he studied community-led learning innovation and school systems' responses to the Covid-19 pandemic. He can be reached at tpillow (at)


This is the best news I’ve ever heard!!! We are hoping Pinellas County is included!

Tricia Gerard

Please email Rep. Gaylle Harrell and Senator Aaron Bean and ask to be included.

Tricia Gerard

Dyslexia, Learning and Support Group Fl on Facebook.

Please help us get these two bills passed! Write me for a list of the policymakers emails and twitter accounts to assist.

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