Thousands of students on Staten Island suffer from dyslexia, which affects the ability to read, write and process letters and words. Students with dyslexia require explicit, targeted and systematic instruction, as well as opportunities for practice with corrective feedback.
Beginning in November of 2014, BP Oddo began meeting with parents, advocates, and dyslexic children to better understand the challenges they face every day. In early 2016, the Borough President and his staff became convinced that the best course forward to help address the needs of this cohort of students would be the creation of a new public charter school. Towards that end, in November the Borough President convened a Planning Team for the school, led by Tim Castanza, consisting of dyslexia experts, advocates, educators and parents.
“We have heard the requests from parents, students, teachers and the Staten Island community for a school whose classroom staff is trained to recognize and teach students with dyslexia and other language-based learning difficulties,” said BP Oddo. “We understand the frustration that many of our children are feeling; they are bright and intelligent, but cannot seem to learn to read and process as easily as their peers. All children have the ability to learn and succeed, but some are often lost in the traditional school structure. In order for our students to succeed, they must be offered a different approach, with access to a high quality option that will capitalize on their individual learning style and strengthen their other learning pathways. I believe that, under the leadership of Tim Castanza and with guidance from my staff and other educational professionals, this school would help struggling readers on Staten Island achieve success and discover the joy of learning.”
"We need to provide access to different resources so everyone can get a high quality education" said Tim Castanza, Executive Director of the planning team. "There's an urgency behind this need, and we have an opportunity to address it. This dyslexia charter school would benefit kids on Staten Island for years to come."
BP Oddo will continue to work closely with the Dyslexia Planning Team as the approval process continues with the hope of having the school up and running by September of 2018.