Great Starts Here!

By Shellie Burrow, SAIL Academy

Greetings! My name is Shellie Burrow and I’m the Director of SAIL Academy, a private school where students with dyslexia thrive in an environment designed for bright and gifted students. Our school is nestled in the beautiful mountain-top community of Park City, Utah, a Winter Olympic site. As we dived with enthusiasm into the LUV curriculum designed for I am Malala, we were astounded by what a perfect fit it was! Together with Notion International School in Egypt, we moved from one well-designed lesson to another as we discussed and developed our own platforms to speak about global educational needs. Through the lesson plans in this course, my students not only discovered that they can and should become agents of change, but found ways to speak out in our own community. They attended meetings and even interviewed with a local radio station about dyslexia in education. I was really proud of them! Our first LUV course was a fabulous experience and gets an A+! In my book, my students finished this course not with super powers, but as empowered members of this community.

As an administrator and teacher, it was quickly apparent to me that the LUV curriculum was made to order for students with dyslexia! The project-based learning tasks, multimedia presentations, and especially, the collaborative projects with a global partner! Perfect! There were just no barriers in this platform! We added our own accommodations, of course. We use Learning Ally for independent reading, daily reading aloud, and shared reading for discussion. Our writing options ranged from speech-to-text to keyboarding, and lots of creative art was added on. I was really drawn to collaborative projects that promoted a growth mindset and global community awareness, such as asking students to create a non-profit organization for our community. Our students chose to develop an advocacy foundation for teens with dyslexia to act as ambassadors for younger students. Hearing, real-time, the projects and ideas of their partners in Egypt was an experience that could never be replicated with a textbook. It was unforgettable!

It’s no surprise that we are already signed up for our next LUV course. In addition to that, the students have just written a grant to obtain a 3D printer for the next course after that! They are hooked!