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Swift School
Success with dyslexia starts here
A teacher and student sitting on carpet playing cards with an easel in the background
Kraig Doremus

“I took the same test that my students were taking, and that’s when it hit me.”

Julie Eden paused as she reflected on her dyslexia diagnosis. She knew something was different, but until taking the same screening as her students at a Florida school nearly 15 years ago, she never had the answer. After the test, she did. 

“It all made sense at that point,” said Ms. Eden with a chuckle. “I got D’s and F’s in high school because my teacher talked to the chalk board. I didn’t understand a word he was saying. I knew I was as smart as my sister who got a full scholarship to Stanford, I just couldn’t get it out. Having something like Swift School would have made a big difference in not only my confidence, but the social emotional piece too.”

Although Ms. Eden did not experience the benefits of a Swift School education, she is now able to provide the benefits of an individualized education to students with dyslexia, ADHD, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and other language-related learning differences. 

“I usually tell students on the first day that I am just like them. It helps them connect with me. I tell them that I see in pictures and colors, and although they might not learn using the exact method I do, I will make sure to teach in the way they need instruction using the multisensory approach.” - Julie Eden

Watch a lesson in Ms. Eden’s class and you’ll notice students are not sitting at desks doing problems like a typical mathematics course. Instead, students are moving, laughing, and playing games. 

“We do games which require multiple operations, and high-level, critical thinking,” noted the veteran educator, who is in her third year at Swift School. “Research shows that something has to be done 400 times before it goes into long-term memory, but play a game with those concepts 10 times and it's learned. Some of my students really shine with games, and I make sure they are the leaders.”

Peer-to-peer interaction takes place often in Ms. Eden’s room. With each concept, students are assigned levels of mastery from one to five. While Ms. Eden works with the students still trying to grasp the concept (Level One and Two), students who are a five work with their peers who are at levels three and four. 

“They love [helping their peers],” said a beaming Ms. Eden. “They get so excited, and we try to build 
up their confidence, not only build it up but also keep it going. That’s why I have peer mentors in my class.”                                  

As someone with dyslexia, she understands the need for graphic organizers, extra support or time on tests, and other accommodations. During her early school days, Ms. Eden felt like an outsider without a toolbox of learning methods and support.

She noted an education like the one at Swift School would have “changed her life” during the formative years when she lacked confidence. Due to her experience, she now works to instill confidence and joy in her students.

“It’s my job to figure out how the students are receiving information and putting it into their memory. We eventually figure it out; they flourish and feel confident. Even if they say math is one of their hardest subjects, they’ll tell you it's one of their favorites.”

Every student has an educator that they’ll look back on with fond memories. For many Swift School students, that teacher will be Ms. Eden.