For the past two weekends, we've taken our Outreach Training Center skills on the road to Weaverville, where we conducted a retreat-style training through a partnership with OpenDoors of Asheville. OpenDoors helps at-risk kids, living below poverty level, with a support network of local families who provide mentoring as well as transportation to sports and extracurricular activities, tutoring, and school events. This network advocates for OpenDoors kids in the their schools and helps them gain access to school resources so they can graduate high school and flourish. The training offered to OpenDoors by our Outreach Center is officially known as the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators Classroom Educators' Course. "What we're trying to do," says Camp Spring Creek Director Susie van der Vorst, "is train the teachers, assistants, and exceptional child educators so that when a child needs help, these advocates all have the same language and strategies." This will not only make communication more consistent for the child, but will likewise enhance communication between all the adults in that child's life as they each touch base and work in the best interests of the child.
Eleven participants enrolled in the training, including 8 kindergarten or exceptional child teachers from Buncombe County schools. The other three participants came from across the spectrum: a mother who is also a counselor, a speech and language pathologist, and the new Director of The Augustine Literacy Project.
Part 2 of this training will kick off next year, when the same group gathers to go over assessments and begin their practicums.