As a second grade teacher at Cary Christian School, I have the privilege of teaching and guiding students toward their full academic potential. I share with my students that Jesus gave His life to show His love for us. May we also give our lives in service to Him as an expression of our love for Him. My students quickly learn that their schoolwork is a beautiful expression of love to our Heavenly Father. Some students embrace the challenges and demands of the classical curriculum with ease, laboring appropriately toward developing the skills with which to use their newfound knowledge. Still there are other students who, for one reason or another, have a more challenging time grasping the concepts. Their struggles may be due to visual or auditory issues not easily detected during a normal pediatric exam. Some neuropsychological skills can be so weak in some students that a learning difficulty may develop without proper intervention early in the educational process.
What is Search and Teach?
Last year, Cary Christian School introduced an early intervention program developed by the National Institute for Learning Development (NILD) called Search and Teach. This program seeks to identify young students who demonstrate perceptual weaknesses that may lead to learning challenges. When areas of weakness are identified, a specialized program of educational therapy is offered to strengthen those weak areas before the child experiences the frustration of learning failure.
How is a student identified for this program?
The “Search” component of the program is a 20-minute individualized screening designed to identify Kindergartners (5- and 6-year-olds) who are vulnerable to learning difficulty. The results provide a profile of individual strengths and weaknesses in the foundational skills necessary for success in reading. Parents receive their child’s profile after all grade level screenings are completed.
Tell me more about the program.
The “Teach” component of the program consists of 55 learning tasks that are personalized for each student depending on his/her areas of weakness. A student who qualifies for the Teach program meets with a specialist three times per week for 30 minutes. During this time, the student works on tasks to strengthen areas of weakness. These tasks “feel” like games to the young student, and they come to look forward to this special time. The total length of the Teach program is approximately six months.
What successes have parents and teachers seen?
The response from both teachers and parents whose children have participated in the Teach program has been phenomenal. Parents have shared that they have seen an increased confidence in their children, a stronger ability to comprehend reading material, and an overall enjoyment of school that was not present beforehand.
We are excited about implementing this proven program and look forward to screening all kindergartners during September and October. Our desire is to provide a successful path for all students at a younger age. Our hope is that by strengthening essential skills, their academic abilities will be bolstered. As their confidence increases, our prayer is that they grow to their fullest potential on the path to which Christ has called them, both now and in the future.
Mrs. Jimmie Armstrong serves as second grade teacher. She studied Elementary Education at Liberty University. Mrs. Armstrong served as an assistant teacher for six years while she pursued her education and has been a lead teacher since 2013. She also holds ACCS Professional Certification and SEARCH and TEACH Therapy Certification. She and her husband, Steve, have two children.