Erin Graham, an Ordway specialist, recounted the story of a mother who came to the start-of-year conference a few years ago in tears. Her son, a new first grader, couldn’t read a single word or spell his name. The mother had tried tutoring him, tried Hooked on Phonics and everything she could think of, but to no avail. She said she was sure it was time to start a referral for Special Education services.
The team of specialists at Ordway proposed that they give Reading Club a try. They agreed to postpone discussion of Special Ed until February to see whether Reading Club could make a difference. (The specialists noted that it often takes a full semester for intervention programs to really make an impact.)
In the winter, he had made progress. By the end of the year, he was above grade level and “graduated” from the Learning Assistance Program (LAP). What made the difference? The specialists worked as a team to test different strategies and techniques until they found what worked best for this student. They discovered that he needed to have reading broken down into concrete rules. Once he had the right toolkit, his confidence and skill levels soared.
At the end of the year, the boy’s mom was once again crying in the conference, but this time it was tears of joy. This student is now in the Highly Capable program. The team approach, which is funded in part by donations to BSF, made all the difference.
As Ordway principal Melinda Reynvaan added, “This is the sort of heart-warming story we see every day in our classrooms, thanks to our dedicated teachers and staff. Sometimes the right intervention at the right time can make all the difference in a student’s academic success story.”
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