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From the International Dyslexia Association (IDA), a glimpse of a school in Petal, Mississippi which is intended to raise the standard of education for dyslexic students.
In October, 2008, the vision of educators Cena Holifield and Dr. Trudy Abel was realized when they opened The Dynamic Dyslexia Design School in the Pine Belt area of Mississippi.
In partnership with the city of Petal, which provided a building, and with a US Department of Agriculture Economic Development Grant to renovate the building, Holifield, Abel and colleagues greeted their first 24 students. All these students were dyslexic.
In less than two years, the school has grown to include 43 students from seven surrounding counties and a staff of 10 professionals.
The Dynamic Dyslexia Design School
The 3-D School offers a full day academic program for dyslexic students in second through fourth grades. It’s a two-year, full day academic program.
The goal of the program is to remediate the specific language-based learning disability of dyslexia to the degree that students are able to return to the traditional school of their choice.
The 3-D program has been developed to address the needs of high-potential students. Because of the academic demands of the program, the school says emotionally disturbed, behaviorally disordered students, those with below average intelligence or severe verbal or receptive language deficits are not good candidates for admission.
The 3-D School provides speech and language therapy services for the dyslexic students who exhibit mild verbal and/or receptive language deficits.
What is the 3-D Approach?
The 3-D School maintains an exceptionally low student to teacher ratio: no more than 5:1 in therapy sessions and only 10:1 in all other instruction.
All teachers and therapists are certified in the area they teach; they have received intensive training prior to working with students.
Dyslexia therapy is delivered by Certified Academic Language Therapists using the state-approved method adopted by the IMSLEC-accredited Mississippi College Dyslexia Therapy Program.
That Orton-Gillingham based method was originally developed by the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital. In addition, the curriculum includes multisensory Saxon Math and enrichment study units for science and social studies. Field trips and special guests supplement the daily work.
3-D shares the building with the local Senior Center, which is located downstairs. Seniors read to the children every day after lunch, creating a unique and truly rewarding multigenerational relationship.
How is 3-D Different from Other Approaches?
Says Cena Holifield, founder and director of the 3-D School
You’ll often hear about the essential components of multisensory curriculum — structured, sequential, repetitious, and intensive, etc; but many parents still wonder ‘just exactly what does that mean?
At Dynamic Dyslexia Design School it means if your child’s Geography lesson for today involves a concentration on name-places beginning with the letter T , that repetition of the T sound is integrated into their next class of the day in Art instuction and so on. In that way, the student is exposed systematically and sequentially to an intensive and repetitious pattern of that letter sound. And that same letter sound dynamically crosses-over into each lesson and subject matter during the entire course of that day.
In order to maintain the small student-teacher ratio and meet operational costs, the 3-D School tuition for 2009-2010 was set at $7500. In addition, the Scottish Rite Masons as well as other benefactors and businesses provide scholarship assistance for a limited number os students.
Tuition includes daily dyslexia therapy sessions, classroom instruction, enrichment studies and art. Speech/language therapy is provided as needed three days a week; physical therapy two days a week.
Students are required to have the appropriate psychometric testing prior to admission. Testing services are available through the 3-D School or through other sources; testing fees are not included in the cost of tuition.
The school is activiely seeking financial support from individuals and organizations who can afford to help. It is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Visit the 3-D School site at http://www.The3DSchool.org or contact Cena Holifield by phone at 601-297-2362. Tax deductible contributions can be made to The 3-D School, 120 South George Street, Petal MS 39465.
For more information about The International Dyslexia Association, visit http://www.interdys.org
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