The Pratt Program: Learning Support Center

The Pratt Program: A Supportive Learning Environment for Capable Students with Learning Differences

The Ann and Gene Pratt Program at Bishop Walsh is a learning support center that meets the specialized needs of bright students, grades K-12, who have language based learning differences such as dyslexia. Encouraging high academic achievement and using research-driven teaching techniques, the program’s effectiveness is well established. Its graduates continue their education successfully at BW and in college.

According to the International Dyslexia Association, “Dyslexia is a difficulty with language. For people with dyslexia, intelligence is not the problem. The problem is language.” We strive to help students recognize their strengths and abilities, and to learn to advocate for their needs.

Our teachers use a structured, multi-sensory language program to work with students one-on-one in reading, writing and spelling. When students receive appropriate, individualized instruction tailored to their own learning styles, they can learn to read, write, and spell with confidence.

The Pratt Program also offers an Organizational Skills Course for students who need help strengthening study habits, written language, test preparation, organization, time management and note taking. This course includes after school check-ins, including locker checks and organization, to help students be sure they have the materials they need and a study plan to help them reach their academic goals. Our organizational coaches communicate with teachers and parents, helping students stay on track.

Program Features

  • Placement based on recommendation and evaluation
  • Concurrent with regular, academic curriculum
  • Appropriate classroom accommodations
  • Individually tailored learning program using researched-based methods
  • One-to-one intensive instruction in reading, writing, spelling or organizational skills
  • Ongoing communication between classroom and program teachers
  • Use of current technology: iPads, Kurzweil, Bookshare, Rosetta Stone

FAQs

What students will benefit from the Pratt Program?
Students grades K-12 with language based learning differences such as dyslexia or capable students grades 3-12 who struggle with organization and study skills benefit the most from our program.

How does a student qualify to participate in the Pratt Program?
Parents and/or teachers recommend students for evaluation which could reveal a need for intervention and support services.

How will the Pratt Program affect a student’s schedule?
For elementary students, teachers coordinate times that are best for student. For middle/high students, the program is incorporated in a regular academic schedule.

Do students in the Pratt Program receive classroom accommodations?
Yes. The program teachers design individual classroom accommodations for each student

How long does a student remain in the Pratt Program?
Students progress at individual rates, and graduate when reading and writing skills are proficient.

What about support for teachers and parents?
Program teachers regularly attend conferences and professional development workshops to keep current on best practices of instruction. School staff receives professional development to increase awareness of learning differences and to learn strategies for accommodating these needs. The Pratt Program provides workshops for parents to address the many issues facing families of students with learning differences.

Testimonials

"Being able to identify the reason for the continued frustration is a blessing. It has allowed our child to truly shine!" - Elementary parent

"Our son has made amazing progress... he received First Honors on his Fall report card and we couldn't be prouder or happier for him because now he knows he can do it!" - Middle school parent

"Our daughter had struggled with reading and most of her subjects...and after only a short time, she is reading with confidence and pride!" - High school parent

Read this article about Quincy Redmon, BW class of 2013, and his success overcoming dyslexia.

Staff

Ms. Stephanie Pratt, director, holds an Advanced Professional Certificate from the MD State Department of Education and is a Reading Specialist trained in the Orton-Gillingham method.

Mrs. Cathy Levitas has a Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction and is trained in the Orton Gillingham method.

Mrs. Jill DiNola, LCSW-C and MSDE School Psychologist, earned her Masters' degrees from University of Maryland and Loyola University. Her specialty is working with students who have specific needs and require assistance with reading intervention and/or organizational skills. She is trained in the Orton-Gillingham method for working with students with dyslexia.

Mrs. Susan Cioni, Bishop Walsh School Counselor, Middle/High School Career and College Counselor, M.S. Counseling Psychology from Frostburg State University

Advisory Panel: Mrs. Fran Bowman, Bowman Educational Services, Inc. and Mr. James Morgan, CLU, CEO Morgan Financial Group