SuperDville in Summer Program for Kids with Learning Differences

As May is the month of creativity, we decided to showcase how a district in Colorado uses SuperDville in a unique and inspiring way in their Summer Programming for kids with learning differences. 

Megan Turner, SuperDville’s Education Program Manager, interviewed their lead educator to learn more about their creative Summer Programming approach which takes the peer-to-peer model of SuperDville’s videos and curriculum to another level.

*Due to District confidentiality regulations, all personal information has been omitted.*

Megan: I’d love to get a bit of background on the genesis of the summer program that you have? 

Educator: We offer summer programming for students across the district to focus on their needs as learners. We felt as a team that providing an opportunity for students to not only talk about [their learning disability] and give it a name, but also to talk with different age levels. 

So we bring in high school students to help deliver SuperDville, to talk about how [having dyslexia] was hard for me, too. And then the third grader can also look at the student who’s a high schooler and see that they’re successful and living their dreams and have that reassurance and their parents as well, that while this is not easy, it is a manageable situation.

Megan: Is the program primarily administered by the teachers or the mentors?

Educator:  So the teachers are delivering the content, they’re really the most responsible person, and the ambassadors, the high school students, are there as a tool. So they do a little bit of co-planning.

Megan: How do you engage the parents around what the students are learning? 

Educator: Parents are on the learning journey, too and so we connect them through evening events, where we will have the student ambassadors/mentors come in and present some of the information and talk about what we’ve been doing.  We connect them with resources and skills, so that they have the support, and make sure everybody has what they need. And then, when they are stuck they have resources and they have a community to help them. We just really try to provide those opportunities for folks to talk to one another who have common needs.

Megan: How did you come across SuperDville initially? Once you begin researching it, what interested you?

Educator: So I did start to partner with some of the counselors in our district, and we have these small groups where we would bring kids together and just talk about resilience, persistence, and growth mindset. And then, I really wanted to keep going with something more dyslexia specific and I also wanted it to be more student-driven with the student voice at the center. 

I found SuperDville and it just felt like a great fit because the students really responded positively to the videos. So SuperDville has been such a great tool in that we have a routine. And because kids with learning differences, routine is predictability which is just so important. It helped us really leverage the student ambassadors and we continue to expand every year. 

Megan: What keeps you doing this work year after year?

Educator: What keeps me in the work is that we can keep being aspirational and there are new kids with new ideas and families with different experiences, always coming forward. And so it’s so motivating and interesting. The more we do, the more there is to do in a way as well, and we’re learning more. 

Megan: What do you see the relationship being between SEL community building and the science of reading? 

Educator: I think the relationship is that they’re grounded in evidence-based practices. We have evidence of co-occurring conditions, you know, such as stress, anxiety. So it’s evidence-based to address it. If we do that well, it is a prevention model for some of those additional conditions, such as depression.

Megan: Do you have any words of encouragement for teachers, schools, or community leaders that are looking to do similar work? 

Educator: You are on a treasure hunt and you are going to find gold. SuperDville is one of those moments where you’re going to strike gold. You are going to see that there are so many incredibly smart, creative, competent, and capable people out there who want to partner with you. And that will keep you going and make you excited. You’ll realize that the work is ongoing, and we’re adding to it.

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