Dyslexia is difficult to understand, difficult to diagnose, and even more difficult to address with children who have it.
In response to this dilemma, the Ottawa County Community Foundation (OCCF) has provided more than $65,000 over the last three years to help Ottawa County teachers tackle dyslexia in the classroom.
“As the number of children being diagnosed with dyslexia grows, classroom teachers face increased challenges in helping those children learn to read,” said OCCF Trustee Mary Coffee.
With OCCF grants from the Special Initiatives Support Fund for Schools and the Jack and Judy Schiller Dyslexia Fund, 56 teachers have completed a MSLE (multisensory structured language education) training program using the Orton-Gillingham approach. This training by instructor Kara Lee of Horton Education Services has focused on using an explicit, systematic, multisensory approach to reading.
The Foundation began offering professional training to Ottawa County teachers in the summer of 2019, with the enthusiastic support of Guy Parmigian, Superintendent of Benton-Carroll-Salem (BCS) Local Schools. Since then, BCS Schools and Genoa Area Local Schools have taken the lead with 37 teachers completing the training.
Teachers share that this training not only helps to address the needs of students with dyslexia, but reading development, as well, for all their students.
Three Genoa teachers (Ashley Delp, Kristin Hange and Lauren Schober) took their training to the next level and are now Certified Academic Language Practitioners (CALPs). They received this certification after completing an additional year-long practicum, including tutoring individual students using the Orton-Gillingham method.
The mother of Ashley Delp’s student, Izzy Britt, was thrilled with her daughter’s progress.
“Izzy was diagnosed dyslexic at the age of nine,” said Jenna Britt. “She was reading below grade level and had a very difficult time decoding words. Delp’s time and training really helped to immensely improve Izzy’s reading skills and confidence. By the end of Izzy’s intervention, she increased her reading by two grade levels.
“We are so grateful for OCCF’s dedication and commitment to furthering teachers’ education to help children like Izzy,” said Delp.
Delp, Hange and Schober received another OCCF grant this spring for a year-long advanced dyslexia training in their quest to become certified trainers.
“I wanted to use my experience and knowledge from the training to create something bigger and better in our community,” said Delp. “My way to give back is to become a certified trainer who then can train the teachers.”
“With their enthusiasm and dedication, they will soon be training additional Ottawa County teachers so students with dyslexia are no longer struggling but thriving in the classroom,” explained Coffee. “OCCF is committed to assisting teachers to assure success for all students, including those with dyslexia.”
OCCF offers a variety of options for supporting the needs of the community and furthering its goal of Doing Good. Forever. For more information, visit ottawaccf.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 419-635-7750.