CDL shares stories of experience from people of different backgrounds. Below is a list of individuals whose stories are worth reading. Read and share them. They will inspire you!
Neuroscience Transforms Classrooms
Teachers say they will never look at students the same again
“Eleven years ago I was searching for a way to prepare my staff at Lusher School for an increased emphasis on 504 accommodations and students with learning difficulties. I found a goldmine when I landed upon an opportunity to learn about neurodevelopmental research as it applies to teaching and learning through CDL,” states Kathy Riedlinger, CEO of Lusher Charter Schools, a public school in New Orleans serving kindergarten – grade 12 students.
“I was both mesmerized and pained the first day of the training – mesmerized by the new information I was being exposed to, and pained when I realized how little I had known and how many kids my teachers could have saved if we had just known this information sooner.
“About the third day of the training, my teachers asked why no one had ever told them this information before. If only we had known how to identify the neurodevelopmental breakdowns and then match them with specific strategies to address them, we knew we would have been much closer to our goal of ensuring that every Lusher child is given an equal opportunity to succeed.
“Since that time, I have never looked at kids the same again. That shift took place not only in me but also in my faculty. Now, instead of asking what’s wrong with the student, we ask what’s wrong with our approach – what we need to be doing to ensure the success of that student. So it’s no longer a question of what the student is doing wrong, but what we need to do differently.
“Prior to Learning Profiles, Lusher had a strong curriculum and instructional strategies that were expected to increase student achievement. But, in spite of our best efforts, we still had some students who were being left behind. Learning Profiles provided the missing pieces to our bank of knowledge and strategies. When we decided to combine all we were learning into our current instructional strategies, best practices and curriculum, student achievement increased.
“Both then, and now, 11 years later, we enjoy a significant drop in our referrals to special education. That’s because Learning Profiles is fully integrated into our school philosophy and actions, how we do business at Lusher every day.
“But what surprised us was that student achievement not only increased for the struggling students – it increased for all students. The strategies we adopted from Learning Profiles made all students more comfortable in the classroom and helped to develop an emotionally safe environment for all kids. When all kids have access to advance organizers, graphic organizers, copies of class notes, extended time on tests and class work, study guides, multisensory teaching, and are free from having their grades lowered because of handwriting problems, learning for all students increases.
“What began as a quest to help the struggling student turned out to help every student achieve to higher levels.
“We also found a better way to communicate with parents and that in turn created strong partnerships, partnerships between the teacher, the parents and the child, a relationship that makes all the difference at Lusher.
“When students were diagnosed with dyslexia or ADHD, and when students who had been with us since kindergarten hit sixth and seventh grade, parents would often land in my office asking me what to do. Often they would describe their child as ‘lazy’ or ‘unmotivated.’ I could now respond with, ‘Wait a minute. I remember your child when he was in kindergarten. He wasn’t lazy or unmotivated then. Let’s see what the problem behind the problem really is.”
“My teachers and I now have the capacity to ask more probing questions and to filter parent and student responses through a bank of neurodevelopmental knowledge. Then, together, the parents, the student, the teachers and I sit down and develop a set of strategies specific to the student’s profile. Everyone is an equal member of the team and excuses are replaced with positive action plans. That makes all the difference.
“As a result of integrating Learning Profiles into our school, I am a better school leader, our teachers are better teachers, parents are better supporting their child’s education in more specific ways, and all of our students are more successful.
“Without reservation, I credit the Learning Profiles professional development with making a major contribution to the high student scores our school now enjoys. Learning Profiles has had and continues to have a major impact on how we teach and learn at Lusher.”
Located in New Orleans, Lusher School serves children kindergarten through grade 12. Lusher is the highest K – 12 school in Louisiana.
About Learning Profiles
Learning Profiles is a professional development program that provides teachers and principals with scientific evidence-based knowledge and skills that increase student achievement and reduce the number of students referred to special education. The program is equally effective in private and public schools kindergarten through grade 12, and in suburban, urban and inner city schools. Find out more about the Learning Profiles program.
To learn how to bring Learning Profiles training to your school or district, or for information on Learning Profile Institutes, call us at 504-840-9786.
A Parent’s Realization: “I am my child’s first teacher!”
If there ever was someone who believes in bettering herself by learning, it’s Javonna Smith, a young mother from New Orleans. Javonna admits that she was “accustomed to doing certain things out of habit,” and was hoping to “learn something new” about parenting by signing up for the Right from Birth classes at the Louise Head Start in uptown New Orleans. But not even Jovanna was prepared for what would happen. Immediately after starting the classes, she was so impacted by what she learned that she became a voracious learner – she was so eager to attend the classes each week that not even the oppressive June heat and humidity nor the threat of Hurricane Dennis could keep her from attending.
Javonna didn’t just absorb the information; she implemented it. She once fed her child whenever it was convenient, whether anyone else was eating or not. There is now a mealtime routine. The family eats together as a cohesive unit at a consistent time. Understanding now how important it is for a child to have “quality” time with a parent individually and with the family as a whole, mealtime now provides her family with such an opportunity.
When asked what she had learned that had the biggest impact on her, Jovanna replied that realizing that parents are their children’s first teacher, and, as their children’s mentors or teachers, how very important it is to a child to imitate what a parent says and does. She added, “…a child imitates what you do…they might copy or mock what you say…you have to watch what you say and do because it makes an impression on them, and they are likely to repeat what you say or do.” Learning that has made her work hard to model the behavior and language she wants her child to learn.
After completing the Right from Birth series, Jovanna reports that she is now more at ease with a new confidence in her ability to parent.
Craig and Sharon Ramey named CDL the official ‘trainer of trainers’ for the Right from Birth Parenting Series. To learn more about how to bring the Right from Birth Parenting Series to your area, contact CDL at firstname.lastname@example.org or 504-840-9786.
Student Learning Profiles:
A Teacher’s Success Story
Over the summer, teachers from three New Orleans public schools attended an intensive training on Student Learning Profiles. Read on to see how this session helped one of the participants, Carol Otillio, a veteran teacher of 30+ years.
“When you’ve been in the trenches teaching for a while, it’s very helpful to come up for fresh air and re-evaluate your teaching methods. The week spent at CDL’s Learning Profiles Institute gave me some fresh air.
“As teachers, sometimes we have to look closely – like looking into a microscope – to see the child’s struggle. Once you can identify his struggle, you can sit down, figure out his needs, and then – like an orchestra – bring together the pieces to address his needs. There can be so many logistics to figure out, but sometimes there is a simple solution!
“A student’s physiological need can sometimes look like a classroom behavior problem. This year I had a student who always had to be moving something in his hands while I was teaching. A rubber band, a ball of paper – something small. Although it concerned me and I assumed he wasn’t paying attention, I found his ability to comprehend the information was not affected by this behavior. If I tried to get him to listen without something in his hands, it would have become a negative situation. After this training I realized that there are students who require this additional stimulation to remain focused. I now see this behavior in a different light. When he has something to move in his hands, he can give me his undivided attention – he can pay attention if his hands are busy. The stimulation keeps him alert and aroused and helps him pay attention. Understanding this puts less pressure on the student and less pressure on me!”