Since 2013, Teach NYS, a project of the Orthodox Union, has partnered with Wilson Language Training to aid teachers who work with students with serious learning disabilities. Just this week, close to 50 teachers converged in Manhattan for a 3-day introductory course to the Wilson Reading System. 25 different schools sent their teachers on the first leg of this year-long journey, at the end of which they will receive Level I Certification in the Wilson Reading System. To earn this certification, teachers will undergo 4 full days of professional development, work individually with one student for 60-90 hours, complete further on-line study, and have their individual lessons observed by a Wilson facilitator for efficacy.
Over the past four years, close to 100 teachers have participated and countless students have benefited immensely from this training. “The beauty of this program is that it pairs top-quality and proven reading intervention with highly-motivated teachers on the front lines of helping needy students,” remarked coordinator Yosef Kanofsky, the Director of Government Programs for Teach NYS.
Sam Sutton, Executive Board Member of Teach NYS, who inspired this initiative, offered the following insight: “Unfortunately, the neediest children don’t always get fullest access to the benefits they are entitled to. Although we have good teachers, the State doesn’t always go the extra mile to offer them further training to become great teachers.” Sutton continued, “Wilson is a proven and tested program that our teachers access for free, and its financial value (close to $100k yearly) pales in comparison to its impact.”
As Yitty Braun of Magen David, a previous program participant says, “This program changed the way I teach, and 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. What an amazing program!”
Valued at more than $2,100 per teacher, the unsubsidized cost of such training opportunities would prove prohibitive to most yeshivas. That’s why we’re so grateful that the program is generously paid for by Federal Title II A funds from the New York City DOE Division of Nonpublic Schools 21st Century Partners in Learning.
Teach NYS would like to give a special thanks to David Rubel, who conceived of and researched the program and the Jewish Education Project for hosting the training, managing technicalities, and always being a critical resource for professional development for yeshivas and day schools.