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Mrs. Theresa Oleson – Westside Elementary

There is nothing worse than your child coming to you and saying “I am the stupidest kid in my class.” My son is seven years old and just completed second grade. He has had a hard time picking up on reading. In trying to find help for him through the district, I was told normal proceedure is to address this in the summer between second and third grades. This last year I tried to keep in close contact with his teacher and not only was he not progressing in reading, but now he was regressing in math and creative writing. He was being pulled from class to participate in Title One reading tutoring and missing other subjects. It seemed this one little problem and turning into a web of problems. Well in late February, we were asked for permission to test my son for resource. I was told a whole series of test would be done to determine as to what was holding my son back. In the mean time I was also looking into having private testing done through a nuero-physcological doctor. In talking to my sister, she kept telling my of this great program her school offer and suggested I meet with a teacher that previously taught her child. I was reluctant, because our children are in the same district and should have the same programs available. Well finally I agreed to meet this teacher, Mrs. Oleson. She offered to do just a series of testing to see if his problems were indeed fixable or more serious and to continue on our course of action. After working with our son for an hour she said he had some issues that could be corrected. We asked where she suggested to do tutoring. She didn’t really suggest, just kept refering to a Reading Recovery program, and if we could just find a way to get him in this program. I told her we had a Title One program and another reading program offered at our school. She explained these programs are not the same and finally asked if you are willing to bring him up to Springville (we live in Genola) after school, she would be willing to tutor him. In asking how to compensate her, she said no. Her motto was “Anything to help a child learn.” We cancelled the doctors appointment and started tutoring in March. We went three days a week. Not only has his self esteem drastically improved, but he went from a level ‘C’ to a level ‘G’ reading level by the end of May. We still proceeded with the school in having him tested. They were able to complete the test and had results ready by mid April. I also found out my school just implemented the Reading Recovery Program for the first grade classes. Unfortunately my son just missed this great program by a year. I don’t blame our school for this, I thank our priciple for getting this great program in our school. However, special thanks to Mrs. Oleson who has offered to continue to tutor through the summer, built his self esteem, and more importantly didn’t allow him to fall through the cracks of the system.

Brook Voran

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