A Round of Applause

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It has been a whirlwind month since celebrating our Grand Opening in May! We received our official 501c3 status as a non-profit and have opened our enrollment for 4th through 6th grade for the 2015-2016 school year.

During this process we have had so much great help and support from our community and we would like to share our gratitude with you.

We couldn’t have done all of this on our own and are extremely grateful for the following people:

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Dr. Dan Peters and RDS Founder Lisa Reid

Dr. Dan Peters, of course, has been exceptionally kind – talking to our Director Lisa Reid from the moment her vision for RDS first began and then walking through the entire process with her as it came to fruition. His reassurance throughout the course of this year has been more instrumental than we can express.

Tracy Meier is the exceptionally gracious mother of one of our students. She has been on board with our school since its inception and has volunteered countless hours of her time, helping with planning, our open house, and reaching out to families in the area to let them know that we are here. She has also donated numerous learning games and books to the school site and even helped us draw up a rendering for our school’s new addition of a science and project lab!

Her belief in what we are doing here at RDS has made an essential difference over the last several months. She is a tremendously kind and generous person as is the rest of her family.

Other parents—Phil Labonty and his wife Danielle have been very supportive of the efforts of our program. They have volunteered to help out with our grassroots public relations efforts and have been working to get donations for the school, which so far have included a refrigerator and assistance with site improvements. We are grateful for their donations of a television and also two Rosetta Stone programs.

Kimberly Nichols has helped with marketing, outreach strategy, public relations and social media from the ground up. Having her as a sounding board to bounce ideas off of has helped us experience a great beginning for the school.

Charlene Zack is a CPA who worked tirelessly and for a ridiculously low rate to expedite and successfully obtain our 501c3 non-profit status.

Stephanie Davis is an Educational Therapist who has stepped in and has been available and willing to help during our busiest times within the office and also during open house.

Christine Spitzer is a family friend who has been a rock and has provided extensive time, guidance and encouragement from day one.

We also thank all friends and family of RDS and its staff for understanding our sole focus over the past few months and encouraging us to continue believing in this dream.

We are so fortunate to have an established strong, kind and generous foundation of families, professionals and friends here at RDS. They have certainly set the stage for all of the great things that are happening within our program and we are sincerely grateful for their contributions.

Summertime Stress and the 2e Child – Reflections by our Director Lisa Reid, EdD

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The Worry Monster, created by Dr. Dan Peters of Summit Center

By this time of year, most students are easing into summer with plans that vary from family vacations to lazy days by the pool to special camps or other seasonal activities. Most kids enjoy the long, carefree days and break from the academic calendar. But the twice-exceptional child may see it very differently.

Part of my daily routine as a teacher is to check in with my students. This gives them a chance to reflect upon their lives and it provides me the opportunity to get a sense for their readiness to learn that day. Oftentimes I gain keen insight into what is going well for them or what is not. In the last few weeks of this past school year, I was surprised to hear very self-aware answers from my students after I asked if they were looking forward to summer. “I feel like I should be excited, but I am not really,” and “I’m feeling bittersweet” were just a couple of the likeminded responses. My introspective group of tweens reminded me that being twice-exceptional often comes with high levels of anxiety when routine is broken up from the norm—and summertime is seen that way for many of them.

We all know that adolescence is a tremendously difficult time for any child. This applies even more so to our twice-exceptional children who are searching to find their place in a world that already seems to be such an awkward fit. To them, it can appear at times like the world wrote a handbook for living but forgot to give them a copy.

While 2e children require room for freedom of thought and action, they also have a great need to know what to expect ahead of time. For that reason, the emerging transition to summer, with its exciting promise of unscheduled days and more unpredictability can be very anxiety producing. Not having routine can often create discomfort for children who are, by nature, often already intensely concerned that they aren’t doing things “right.” Paradoxically, the structure and known expectations that they often seek to escape are what actually provide them a sense of security.

Knowing this, co-create a plan for the summer with your 2e child. Just bringing them into the conversation can take a load off their mind. Talk about a routine that might work well during these months off and create a calendar together as loose or as firm as they need it to be. Set goals about what they would like to accomplish before the next school year and list the steps to accomplish them. Spend a few moments with them each morning or night to create a daily “to do” list. By providing them these small pieces of structure, you will be inevitably freeing them from undue stress and facilitating the enjoyment that summertime SHOULD bring.

P.S. My colleague Dr. Dan Peters published a book this past year called Make Your Worrier a Warrior about how parents can help their children battle the Worry Monster. Make sure to check out this article:

“Ten Tips for Parents and Kids to Tame the Worry Monster”
which was originally published in Huffington Post.

Project Based Learning in this Month’s 2E Newsletter

In this month’s 2E Newsletter, our Founder Lisa Reid, along with Phoenix program teachers Michael Dennis and Michael Beer, are included in a feature article that discusses project based-learning.  They are noted for their study on the behavior and performance of fifth- and sixth-grade 2e students entitled “The Effect of Problem-Based Learning on Student Behavior and Production.”

The full article is reproduced below.

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Smart Shaming – Sorry, But Your Child is Too Smart to Qualify for Help

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“Yes we see that he has trouble reading fluently and has trouble with writing and has been diagnosed with dyslexia and dysgraphia, but he is meeting minimum grade expected levels…”

“We agree that your daughter has challenges with focus and attention and was diagnosed with ADHD but she is doing fine compared to other kids in her class. We have so many who struggle so much more…”

“I understand that your child has Asperger’s Disorder and has trouble with social skills and transitioning but he is doing fine academically…”

Sound familiar? Dr. Dan Peters of Summit Center has written an extremely meaningful article for Huffington Post on Smart Shaming and its effects on the twice-exceptional community.

Read the full article here. 

SAVE THE DATE AND RSVP FOR OUR GRAND OPENING!

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We invite you to attend our

GRAND OPENING

Family Social/Information Session & Parent Education Presentation

Thursday, May 21 6:30-8:00

151 Kalmus Drive, Suite H9A

Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Seating is limited. Please RSVP by May 14th to

Lisa@reidday.org to reserve your space.

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We are honored to welcome

Dan Peters, PhD

who will share his presentation

Characteristics of Gifted Children

 

 

 

 

WE ARE NOW OFFERING EDUCATIONAL THERAPY TO TWICE-EXCEPTIONAL STUDENTS IN ORANGE COUNTY AND SURROUNDING AREAS

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In anticipation of our fall opening, Reid Day School and Center for Brain Based Excellence (RDS) is now offering educational therapy services to twice-exceptional (2e) students in Orange County and the surrounding areas.

Although we aren’t actively enrolling students until the beginning of the new school year this fall, we are currently providing educational therapy to the overall gifted and twice-exceptional community.

Educational therapy offers children and adults with learning disabilities and other learning challenges a wide range of intensive, individualized interventions designed to remediate learning problems. Educational therapy demystifies learning problems and stimulates a 2e person’s awareness of their strengths so they may use those strengths to best advantage to overcome or compensate for areas of weakness. In partnership with Summit Center, our educational therapists specialize in creating and implementing treatment plans that utilize information from a variety of sources including a 2e person’s social, emotional, psychoeducational and neuropsychological context.

After our fall opening, we will cater to 4th through 6th grade 2e students, offering personalized, interactive group instruction programs in the format of a traditional school day. In addition to providing services for our students, we will offer psychological and educational services for gifted and 2e children, adolescents, and families in the community. This includes evaluations and assessments, counseling, parent education, gifted parent consulting and development of differentiated education plans.

Please feel free to email me at lisa@reidday.org or visit online at www.reidday.org.

The Reid Philosophy of Learning

Lisa Reid
Written by Lisa Reid,
Director and Founder of RDS

In the typical Industrial Era “teach to the top” American schoolroom the general population is taught to suppress their individuality for the sake of the whole in order to be a good student. Kids are expected to engage in academia by being well-behaved boys and girls; by listening, learning and then leaving to fulfill their academic obligations of homework et al. The twice-exceptional (2e) child, however, inherently has a hard time toeing this line. The 2e child operates on a roller coaster of intense emotions and feelings and a spectrum of learning ability that fluctuates between moments of extreme acumen and moments of deficiency. So even though they may be bright, this oftentimes gets the 2e student pegged as difficult, or learning disabled, and they may find themselves eventually becoming depressed, distracted and displaced from their original love of learning. Sometimes this leads to a student’s reputation as troublesome which can further make a youth disassociate from the system. As an educator myself, I have seen this happen all too often. This is why I chose to open Reid Day School, to give those 2e students a chance to shine on their own accord.

The true definition of learning is the act of acquiring new, or modifying and reinforcing, existing knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences and may involve synthesizing different types of information. I used to think that I could facilitate learning best by holding high expectations, believing that my students could meet them, and that then they eventually would. Although a good majority of them did, some did not. Regretfully, I mistakenly believed that the few who did not had problems beyond my control.

This led me to try to understand how those kids who seemed to be doing poorly in this system could best be led to shine. I became convinced that 2e students needed things that so-called “normal” students did not. They needed their social and emotional needs to be considered in the classroom and they needed differentiated instruction and different modalities that were customized to their unique personalities so that they could excel in learning.

Around seven years ago, I began to realize what it meant to respect the true inner dignity of my students, as well as their minds, their feelings and the ways in which they were shaped. It has been a long road of continual learning since that time and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to be immersed in the brilliance and intensity that 2e kids have to offer in my classroom. It made me realize the importance of the whole child as well as brain based instruction that integrates strengths and interests.

I wanted to create a safe place where 2e kids in Orange County could find learning truly tailored to their needs in an environment where they could feel like the new normal. I have learned to maintain high expectations while understanding what it truly means to respect the inner integrity of students. I have continued to teach to the top but I have a much different understanding of what that involves.

Some of these things include:

  • Getting to know my students as individuals
  • Giving students the benefit of the doubt
  • Respecting that there are times when students aren’t completely available to give 100%
  • Knowing when they can
  • Understanding that behavioral issues mean that there is a discrepancy between what I have asked a student to do and what they are able to do.
  • Believing that all students want to do well
  • Understanding that they can meet objectives in alternative ways
  • Providing explicit expectations and feedback
  • Knowing that learning profiles are very complex and having the background and understanding needed to approach them effectively
  • Supporting their variable needs through appropriate accommodations and accelerating learning opportunities where they have strengths
  • Listening to and supporting their ideas no matter how far fetched they seem
  • Involving students in goal setting, monitoring and reflecting upon their progress so that they can take ownership of their learning.

With this next paradigm shift in education, we are seeing more extremes with many educators and educational atmospheres moving from a one-size fits all approach to an approach that has no expectations, especially for students with special needs. There is a middle ground but until the educational system at large embraces it, we will continue to offer excellence in learning to a niche of those who are twice-exceptional.