Teach Advocacy Success Story: Teaching our Kids to Read

Too many children never get the help they need because teachers don’t have the specialized training they need to target their learning disabilities.

All that changed in 2013.

Teach NYS researched effective professional development companies and chose Wilson Reading, a company that trains teachers to help students with significant learning disabilities.

Normally, the Wilson program costs $2,100 per teacher — a prohibitive sum for many yeshivas. But Teach NYS connected schools with federal Title II A dollars that would cover the training costs for New York City teachers. Teach NYS worked with Jewish day schools to implement the program.

To date, more than 60 teachers from more than 30 Jewish day schools and yeshivas in the New York City area have enrolled in the Wilson Reading program thanks to years of work by Teach NYS, an initiative of OU Advocacy.

Yitty Braun, a reading specialist at Brooklyn’s Magen David Yeshivah, was one of those teachers.

And the results were astounding.

“It changed the life of the student I worked with. She entered my room as a struggling reader, unsure of even letter sounds, and left a confident reader.” — Yitty Braun, Magen David Yeshivah, Brooklyn

The Wilson program requires each teacher to fulfill 60 to 90 practicum hours, tutoring a student, participating in more than 35 hours of group training, undergoing four to five observations by Wilson experts, and completing an online work-study course.

Dana Green, a resource room teacher at Yeshiva Har Torah in Queens, said the training gave her new tools and skills that have transformed the way she works with her students.

“It brought my teaching level to a whole new place.” — Dana Green, Yeshiva Har Torah, Queens

The program’s success underscores the importance of Teach NYS’s work finding local, state, and federal funding for Jewish day schools and yeshivas. Nonpublic schools serve 13 percent of the state’s schoolchildren, but only receive 1 percent of funding for K-12 education.

Schools that have participated in the program include: 
 Yeshiva Ahavas Torah, Bais Yaakov of the Lower East Side, Bais Yaakov Academy of Queens, Bais Brocha, Barkai Yeshivah, Beis Rivkah, Beth Jacob of Boro Park, Bnos Bais Yaakov, Bnos Malka Academy of Queens, Bnos Chomesh Academy, Yeshiva Darchei Torah, Yeshiva Har Torah, Luria Academy, Magen David Yeshivah, Masores Bais Yaakov, The Ramaz School, Yeshivat Shaare Torah, Solomon Schechter School of Queens, Yeshiva Torah Vodaath, Yeshivat Darche Eres, Yeshiva Ketana of Queens, Yeshivah of Flatbush, Bnos Yaakov Pupa, Mazel Day School, Lev Bais Yaakov, Mirrer Yeshiva, Prospect Park Yeshiva, Yeshiva of Central Queens, Sha’arei Zion Ohel Bracha, Bais Rochel Satmar, United Lubavitcher Yeshiva, and Samson Raphael Hirsch (Breuer’s Yeshiva).

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