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Public school created for children with dyslexia is a first for New York

Posted at 2:00 PM, Nov 12, 2019

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Parents desperate to get their children with dyslexia the daily instruction they needed went out on their own to solve the problem. These changemakers, along with advocates and elected leaders, helped to create a one-of-a-kind public school that is now leading the way in learning.

Welcome to Bridge Preparatory charter school in Staten Island. This is the only public school in New York that caters to children with dyslexia, a learning disorder that can impact writing, math and language.

And the parents can't stop raving about it.

Tim Castanza, the Executive Director at Bridge Preparatory, says this got started when parents in the community were asking for an option that did not exist.

“This wasn't about politics or different beliefs it was about coming up with common sense solutions for the need we had in this community," Castanza said.

And the need became reality. The school opened its doors in September, welcoming 90 1st and 2nd graders. The school’s motto: We are Bold, Bright and Unique. Each classroom is named after a famous dyslexic individual, people these teachers and kids celebrate.

The school uses the Orton-Gillingham approach for teaching reading in every classroom.

The Orton-Gillingham approach teaches in a multi-sensory way so it creates different pathways in the brain.

Bridge Preparatory charter school plans to expand to 5th grade, welcoming a total of 250 students next fall.

This story was originally published by Tracy Chevrier and Tamsen Fadal at WPIX.