An estimated one percent of students in the Park City School District are dyslexic. With a dyslexic child of their own, Ty and Karen Hall and their family foundation are now bankrolling a pilot program to fund training for teachers that will help them identify which students are struggling academically.
The program is being piloted at McPolin Elementary School with seven teachers from kindergarten through second grade. Julie Hastings is an instructional coach who is training and supporting the teachers. She said the program is beneficial to all students.
“It offers a systematic approach of using multi-sensory strategies for reading and spelling," Hastings said. "And in the end goal is to have less kids who struggle with reading and provide teachers with more insight into to why more kids may need intervention with reading.”
The International Dyslexia Association describes multisensory learning as using visual, auditory, and kinesthetic-tactile pathways at the same time to enhance memory and learning of written language.
For example – by using repetitive actions where the student manipulates letter tiles while repeating the letters out-loud and then writing them down helps them learn to spell phonetically.
Testing for dyslexia is expensive and time consuming but the program does not cover that expense.
Park City Education foundation director Abby McNulty said they’re hoping to develop a program that supports the students - long term.
“The Ty and Karen Hall Charitable Foundation helped support the program along with the Park City School District," McNulty said. "And I believe they would say they would make a longer term commitment for a larger roll out and that is their intention is to really catch and support dyslexic students and to put Park City School District in the forefront of having a system that supports dyslexic students.”
The initiative also includes a Dyslexia Awareness program that Park City Reads is leading at all of the elementary schools in the district.