Scholarships Support Attendance at International Dyslexia Association’s 65th Annual Conference

SAN DIEGO – Nov. 12, 2014 – According to the International Dyslexia Association (IDA), 15 to 20 percent of the population as a whole has some symptoms of dyslexia, including struggles with reading, writing and spelling. With sound teaching methods, students with dyslexia can meet and even exceed their academic goals. Ten educators passionate about teaching dyslexic students are attending the IDA’s 65th Annual Conference in San Diego this week as recipients of the 2014 Robert G. and Eleanor T. Hall Memorial Scholarships, sponsored by EPS Literacy and Intervention, a division of School Specialty, Inc. (OTCQB: SCOO). Created to honor the founder of EPS and his wife, these scholarships reward exemplary educators for the innovative instructional strategies they use to help their dyslexic students achieve at the highest levels.

“The enthusiasm this year’s scholarship recipients have shown in paving the way for their students’ success is beyond extraordinary,” said Rick Holden, president of EPS Literacy and Intervention. “Their dedication to and support of this student population is incredibly motivating. We are honored to support their attendance at the IDA Conference so they can continue to gather information on proven classroom tools and strategies to help their dyslexic students gain mastery over their learning differences.”

Successful scholarship applicants submitted essays describing where and how they encounter dyslexia, their experiences and knowledge about teaching students with dyslexia and other related learning difficulties, how the conference sessions will improve their abilities as an educator, and how they will be able to apply the knowledge they gain from attending the IDA conference. The Robert G. and Eleanor T. Hall Memorial Scholarships include registration for the 2014 Conference, a one-year membership to IDA, a $250 travel stipend to attend the conference, and an EPS gift certificate valued at $250.

“The amazing stories shared by this year’s applicants about their experiences teaching dyslexic students made for an incredibly competitive selection process,” said Lauren Klinedinst, manager of conferences at IDA. “The passion these educators have for unlocking dyslexia for themselves, students and their families is truly inspiring and embodies our overarching purpose of creating hope, possibility and partnership. We are excited to engage with this year’s scholarship recipients at the conference and thank them for furthering their knowledge about the complexities of dyslexia to help propel their students to new and exciting academic heights.”
As headmaster at Manter Hall School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Robert G. Hall founded EPS in 1952 to share quality literacy materials created by his faculty with other teachers around the country. He and his wife, Eleanor T. Hall, spent more than 60 years promoting and improving education, particularly for dyslexic children, through their involvement with the Orton Dyslexia Society, which became the International Dyslexia Association (IDA). The annual IDA Conference is attended by more than 3,000 teachers, educators, administrators, reading specialists, researchers, university faculty, psychologists, physicians and tutors and is considered the premier professional development conference dedicated to dyslexia.

The 2014 Robert G. and Eleanor T. Hall Memorial Scholarship recipients and their plans for using what they learn at the conference follow:
• Rachel Bingman, head teacher, Cooke Center Academy, New York, wants to meet other educators at the conference who might be struggling with the same classroom issues she does, as well as to hear from the experts and learn from current research so she can bring tools and strategies back to the classroom to give her students hope.
• Julie Blake, teacher, White Rock Elementary, Rancho Cordova, California, would like to attend the conference to supplement her coursework in the Orton Gillingham multisensory approach and to learn from mentors who will also be in attendance. Blake also plans to incorporate what she learns to help her students who are English language learners.
• Anne Brewster, reading specialist, Frantz Coe Elementary, Seattle, has attended the conference in the past and, with the strategies she learned, was able to advance all but one of her struggling readers from her intervention program. This year, Brewster is eager to expand her skills by attending a special symposium on reading comprehension to develop classroom-friendly methods to help deepen comprehension for all students.
• Carrie Byrd, teacher, La Fetra Elementary, Glendora, California, would like to explore new multisensory phonics ideas, reading comprehension strategies and the psychological implications of dyslexia. She wants to help ease her students’, as well as her 10-year-old son’s, struggles with dyslexia.
• Rhonda Demps, teacher, Alternative Learning Center, Austin, Texas, plans to apply the skills she learns at the conference toward being an advocate for students, parents and teachers in the identification of dyslexia. As the parent of a son who was diagnosed with dyslexia in the fourth grade after years of misdiagnosis, Demps also wants to continue helping him build his reading skills.
• Laura Kennedy, principal, St. Walter School, Chicago, has always wanted to attend the conference. As the parent of a college student who was diagnosed with dyslexia as a young girl, Kennedy is eager to strengthen her knowledge to help the students at her small school, as well as their parents.
• Lorelea McAfee, Montessori guide, Franciscan Montessori Earth School, Portland, Oregon, is eager to attend IDA to learn from highly respected dyslexia experts as well as her fellow teachers so she can help her students find their voice as they struggle to improve their oral and written communication skills.
• Bridget Solve, reading specialist, Daves Avenue Elementary School, Monte Sereno, California, has wanted to attend the IDA conference for many years to supplement her previous coursework. Solve is a resource for the parents of dyslexic students and hopes to apply the strategies she learns at the conference to close the gap for those students. In addition, she plans to share her knowledge with her team of four reading specialists to help empower them in their work.
• Stacy Stewart, literacy coordinator, Lake Tahoe School, Incline Village, Nevada, plans to reinvigorate her IDA base of knowledge by attending this year’s conference, after being unable to attend in recent years. As a member of a small, rural community, Stewart hasn’t had access to the peers, classes and workshops that are vital to the continued growth and success of dyslexic students and looks forward to immersing herself, once again, in new techniques that she can use to help her students.
• Veronica Tyree, educational diagnostician, Tierra Del Sol Elementary, El Paso, Texas, has a critical role in identifying students with dyslexia, educating them about it and providing effective classroom instruction in phonics and spelling strategies. In particular, Tyree looks forward to learning more about the barriers that students with dyslexia face in achieving success in writing, and how to help them overcome those challenges.

About EPS Literacy and Intervention
EPS Literacy and Intervention provides K–12 blended-media solutions that build core skills and close the achievement gap in reading and math. With powerful instructional tools and high-quality materials, the company’s reading and math intervention solutions are proven to help struggling students. From universal screening to interventions, progress monitoring to data-driven decision-making, and professional development, EPS offers an integrated approach to effective teaching and learning.

For more information on EPS and its proven programs Wordly Wise 3000®, Academy of READING®, Academy of MATH®, MCI, S.P.I.R.E.®, Path Driver for Reading™, Path Driver for Math™, Explode The Code®, EPS E.P.I.C. and more, visit

About School Specialty, Inc.
School Specialty is a leading distributor of innovative and proprietary products, programs and services to the education marketplace. The Company designs, develops and provides educators with the latest and very best school supplies, furniture and both curriculum and supplemental learning resources. Working in collaboration with educators, School Specialty reaches beyond the scope of textbooks to help teachers, guidance counselors and school administrators ensure that every student reaches his or her full potential. For more information about School Specialty, visit

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About the Author:

Abi Mandelbaum

Abi Mandelbaum is CEO of YouVisit.