In 2014, Vertical Skills Academy was founded in response to a growing need for skilled intervention for students with dyslexia. Kara Osberg, a seasoned advocate and experienced literacy specialist with two dyslexic children, and Audra Chapleski, a highly trained STEM teacher and administrator, were a strong team. They envisioned a school where students with similar needs would receive appropriate intervention in an environment in which they were simultaneously challenged and highly supported; where students and their families found a supportive community and where like-minded educators from all backgrounds were welcomed.
Audra and Kara thoughtfully named the school which continues to be a highly specialized academy focused on teaching specific skills to a well-defined student body.
About the Orton-Gillingham Approach
“The Orton-Gillingham Approach is a direct, explicit, multi-sensory, structured, sequential, diagnostic, and prescriptive way to teach literacy when reading, writing, and spelling does not come easily to individuals, such as those with dyslexia. It is most properly understood and practiced as an approach, not a method, program, or system. In the hands of a well-trained and experienced instructor, it is a powerful tool of exceptional breadth, depth, and flexibility.
The essential curricular content and instructional practices that characterize the Orton-Gillingham Approach are derived from two sources: first from a body of time-tested knowledge and practice that has been validated over the past 80 years, and second from scientific evidence about how individuals learn to read and write; why a significant number have difficulty in doing so; how having dyslexia makes achieving literacy skills more difficult; and which instructional practices are best suited for teaching such individuals to read and write.” – AOGPE
Where can I go to learn more about the Orton-Gillingham Approach?
VSA will begin using EL Education as its core curriculum in ELA classes and Science K-5 in the fall of 2022. This program uses highly engaging texts based in Science and Social Studies topics that align with VSA’s mission of creating a hands-on, multi- sensory learning environment with students. It provides high level vocabulary and critical thinking throughout the modules. Furthermore, it integrates social emotional learning, along with executive functioning skills, which is what VSA has been known for! We will pair this learning with our writing framework, Self-Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD), to produce deep thinkers and writers. This curriculum will allow us to have common language and structures throughout our classes, while allowing teachers the ability to differentiate the lessons to meet our unique learners’ needs. Find out more about EL Education here or visit their website.