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Dallas Academy has announced Amy Bernstein as the new Principal of Dallas Academy. Ms. Bernstein is a passionate educator of 19 years and has dedicated much of her career to supporting children with learning differences. Her experience includes classroom teaching and providing dyslexia therapy in the Richardson Independent School District. Most recently, she started the RISD Dyslexia Therapist Training Center and was their lead dyslexia therapist working in a leadership role through teacher training and coaching in the Take Flight and MTA curriculum, program development, and strategic planning. She also led campus training, created and delivered professional development to teachers, provided principals with reading intervention strategies, and lectured and led practicums for reading intervention.

Ms. Bernstein’s education background includes a Master of Education with a specialization in reading and writing from Southern Methodist University and a B.A. in psychology. Ms. Bernstein is a Certified Academic Language Therapist and Qualified Instructor, providing instruction and training in structured literacy programs to reading specialists. She is a compassionate leader, skilled communicator, and fierce advocate for children who learn differently. "I am excited to collaborate with teachers and parents to foster an environment that puts students' needs first, creates a culture of inclusivity, and ensures all students can be successful in their academic journey, " said Ms. Bernstein.

Ms. Bernstein will begin her role as the new Principal at the end of July and will complete our leadership team and oversee the school's academic program. Her role will include assuring the alignment and continuity of educational instruction, special programs, school policies and procedures, and fostering the rich school culture that is the hallmark of Dallas Academy.

 
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Dallas Academy School, nestled in the heart of White Rock Lake, will soon have a new addition to campus. Life-long friends of Head of School, Elizabeth Murski from the Jesuit and Ursuline Class of 1983 have gifted $250,000 towards the creation of a new sensory playground at Dallas Academy in East Dallas. The playground will feature a shade structure, new ground covering, and all new playground equipment, including a special sensory wall for students to enjoy. 

"We are thrilled about the new state-of the art playground and looking forward to having a new fun area where our students can run around and play,” said Elizabeth Murski. "Thanks to the fundraising efforts by high school friends, our students will soon have a safe, shaded and engaging outdoor space to explore.”  

In addition to the playground upgrades, Dallas Academy will be hosting a naming contest for students and staff to participate in. The winning name will be proudly displayed at the entrance of the playground for all to see. 

Construction on the playground is expected to begin during the summer months and is planned to be completed in time for the fall school year. The new sensory playground will provide a valuable resource for students to engage in active play and sensory exploration. 

Founded in 1965, Dallas Academy is the oldest school in Texas to work exclusively with students with learning differences and offers a structured, multisensory program for students to achieve success both in and out of the classroom. Every student on campus is known by all teachers, making it easy for students to be encouraged, praised, and guided toward achieving their goals. 

For more information on the new sensory playground at Dallas Academy, please contact Lisa Loera, Director of Community Relations. 

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Dallas Academy School, nestled in the heart of White Rock Lake, will soon have a new addition to campus. Life-long friends of Head of School, Elizabeth Murski from the Jesuit and Ursuline Class of 1983 have gifted $250,000 towards the creation of a new sensory playground at Dallas Academy in East Dallas. The playground will feature a shade structure, new ground covering, and all new playground equipment, including a special sensory wall for students to enjoy. 

"We are thrilled about the new state-of the art playground and looking forward to having a new fun area where our students can run around and play,” said Elizabeth Murski. "Thanks to the fundraising efforts by high school friends, our students will soon have a safe, shaded and engaging outdoor space to explore.”  

In addition to the playground upgrades, Dallas Academy will be hosting a naming contest for students and staff to participate in. The winning name will be proudly displayed at the entrance of the playground for all to see. 

Construction on the playground is expected to begin during the summer months and is planned to be completed in time for the fall school year. The new sensory playground will provide a valuable resource for students to engage in active play and sensory exploration. 

Founded in 1965, Dallas Academy is the oldest school in Texas to work exclusively with students with learning differences and offers a structured, multisensory program for students to achieve success both in and out of the classroom. Every student on campus is known by all teachers, making it easy for students to be encouraged, praised, and guided toward achieving their goals. 

For more information on the new sensory playground at Dallas Academy, please contact Lisa Loera, Director of Community Relations. 

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We are thrilled to announce that Dallas Academy Senior, Daniel Pinkston-Hayes has been accepted into the prestigious World Scholars Program at Delaware University. With his diverse background and exceptional academic achievements, Daniel is poised to make a significant impact on the global stage. In his application, Daniel expressed his gratitude for the opportunities he's had, particularly through his dual enrollment course in Communications at Dallas Academy. “Thanks to my dual enrollment course in Communications provided by Dallas Academy, I have a better understanding of the concepts of intercultural communication and the importance of being understood.  This will help me further the experience that the University of Delaware has provided me while studying abroad.”

Daniel's unique upbringing, undoubtedly contributed to his selection for the program. He reflected on this, saying, “I believe that I was chosen for the World Scholar Program at Delaware because I have lived in so many countries, growing up throughout the Middle East and Southeast Asia, 11 countries and counting.”  Delaware University recognizes Daniel's core values as a global citizen and appreciates the unique perspective he brings to the program. In his own words, “I appreciate Delaware for the amazing opportunity that they have given me and as a world citizen, I feel noticed because they see my core values as a part of the emerging world community.” 

We congratulate Daniel on this incredible achievement and look forward to seeing his continued success as he considers the opportunity to take on this new academic journey. His dedication to learning, cultural understanding, and global citizenship exemplify the values of the World Scholars Program and we are so proud of him.

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Dallas, TX - Dallas Academy is thrilled to announce it has received a $20,000 grant from the Wingstop Charities to fund 30 Class Virtual Reality Headsets and curriculum with everything needed for teachers to introduce virtual reality into the classrooms.  Dallas Academy appreciates the commitment from Wingstop Charities to provide specialized education to all of our students.  Using virtual reality in the classroom provides truly immersive lessons for our students allowing them to visualize and understand even the most complex of educational subjects. All grades at Dallas Academy will have access to this new immersive experience. 

Dallas Academy offers a structured, multisensory program for students with diagnosed learning differences which may include impairments in reading (dyslexia), writing (dysgraphia), and math (dyscalculia), ADD/ADHD, and memory and processing disorders.  Our school meets students' individualized needs through a skilled faculty, a specialized academic program, small classes, and a wide range of creative, athletic, and social activities that draw our students in, keep them engaged, and enhance their learning.

The need for cultivating a growth mindset and love for lifelong learning is even more accelerated now. We need teaching and learning that engages all students and ensures equitable learning outcomes for students of all social identities and backgrounds. Incorporating Class VR will provide learning opportunities for students through visual and engaged learning. “There is no better way for students to learn than to experience things with their own eyes, ears, and hands. Having this virtual reality technology in the hands of Dallas Academy's students is providing them with experiences that most wouldn't get to experience without it. They can dissect a human heart with their own hands, visit the Coliseum, or practice social skills with age-appropriate avatars,” said Dr. Mandi Skerbetz, principal of Dallas Academy. 

ClassVR is an open platform, supporting virtual and augmented curriculum content, as well as allowing students and teachers to create, upload and share their own content, creating a collaborative community of global educational resources. Teachers can add value to every lesson with a wide array of subject specific resources.  They can even create, upload and share their own content and contribute to creating a community of global educational resources with other ClassVR users.

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This year, the DAwg Run exploded with colors! The Dallas Academy community gathered on Saturday, November 4th, for the annual Dallas Academy DAwg Run. In this year’s one mile run, participants had an opportunity for runners to get splashed with bright-colored powder making this our first annual color run. Daniel Pinkston-Hayes took home the top prize as the 1-mile overall winner. Christopher Stephens came in second place, and Matthias Galley came in third. Race participants left the event with medals, t-shirts, prizes, and big smiles. Four-legged friends were not forgotten; one lucky puppy went home with prizes for the pet costume contest. 

The family-friendly day also included a Chili Cook-Off where 12 teams competed.  Chili in Paradise won top honors in "Best Theme" and “People’s Choice awards and Hot Bowls of Fire won the “Best Tasting" award.

"It was great to see upper, middle, and lower school students come together to support such a great cause and have fun on a beautiful fall morning," said Becca Betz, 7th grade parent who helped to organize the DAwg Run this year. "Seeing all community members get blasted with color by student and teacher volunteers is so fun to watch!" This year's event raised $25,000, and all of the proceeds from the day will benefit the students of Dallas Academy through scholarships and student services. 

The event also included cake walk, lawn games, and the petting zoo, thanks partly to our generous local business sponsors. Thank you to our Presenting Sponsors, TX Home Outlet and Brousseau Naftis and Massingill. Dallas Academy is grateful to all the sponsors, businesses, and individual supporters of the event for their generous donations and help in making the event a huge success.

Members of the Dallas Academy community enjoyed the DAwg Run so much that they can't wait to hear what next year will bring!

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Project Lead the Way, a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience in engineering has awarded Dallas Academy a $16,000 grant to be used towards STEAM education.  With the focus being on Dallas Academy’s STEAM week in April, students will present an engineering project they have worked on throughout the school year. This project will be led by the 12th grade engineering class and will include the participation of the whole school. Senior students will work with middle and lower school students to help them learn about engineering and expand their understanding of the subject. This involvement is designed to introduce younger students to the subject of engineering and the PLTW way of learning. The local community will also be invited to view the projects completed during STEAM week in April 2023.

 

Devyn Bowen, current 12th grade engineering instructor, lead the efforts on applying for the grant and was more than pleased when she found out that the PLTW grant will not only award the PLTW Engineering Essentials curriculum for senior level students, but it will provide the funding for PLTW student courses for the next three years.  “Students tend to gain more enjoyment and learning from hands on activities and project-based instruction as opposed to a traditional lecture-based classroom setting. With PLTW, our students will have the opportunity to engage in exciting hands-on activities and projects throughout the school year.” Dallas Academy plans to extend PLTW course offerings to students and PLTW training to instructors interested in teaching the courses. 

 

Dallas Academy is a private school for students with learning differences. These differences include, but are not limited to dyscalculia, dyslexia, ADHD and autism. Our goal is to provide individualized learning opportunities with accommodations that meet the need of each student at the school. Students with learning differences often benefit from a hands-on learning environment apart from the traditional classroom setting. PLTW offers an Activity Project Problem Based (APB) learning approach that will reach and engage students of all backgrounds.

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Re-inventing math education for neurodiverse students was the inspiration behind bringing internationally recognized math expert, Christopher Woodin to the Dallas Academy campus this summer.  His two-day visit included a coaching workshop during which Dallas Academy teachers practiced Woodin math with Dallas Academy students while Mr. Woodin provided real-time coaching and discussion.  The second day, Mr. Woodin presented teaching methods that are designed whole to part and require minimal language demands, multimodal strategies to help students express, relate, store, and retrieve information efficiently.

Mr. Woodin is a specialist in the fields of mathematics and learning differences and the Ammerman Chair of Mathematics at Landmark School in Massachusetts. In addition to authoring two books and multiple journal articles, Mr. Woodin has presented at numerous international Learning Disabilities Association (LDA) and International Dyslexia Association (IDA) conferences and led math workshops to audiences across the world. 

Woodin’s approach is quite different from how most of us were taught math, and it is different from most modern curriculum approaches as well. Students with dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities who are confused by typical math instruction can excel when instructed in a way that always shows the big picture first, uses visual-spatial images, and directly examines how the parts are connected to the whole. Number sense is developed by establishing a robust understanding of quantities so that their values may be compared. The methodology presented enables such comparison by limiting demands on language processing, working memory, and executive function skills. 

Dallas Academy is actively using multiple methods presented by Mr. Woodin in their math classes.  “It’s about how our teachers can use these tools to support neurodiverse students and adjust what is needed for our students to succeed,” Dr. Mandi Skerbetz says. “We are privileged to have a world leader guiding our teachers in research-based methods teaching math from whole to part and with minimal language demands.”

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In February, our Dallas Academy community rallied around two young Bald Eagles, nicknamed Nick and Nora, who built their home in the fields across the street. When tragedy hit, and the eagles nest fell after high winds, our students and teachers struggled and felt the loss. But, the word is out ….the Eagles are back!
Check out our Live Cam and get up close to Nick & Nora as they reclaim our little White Rock Lake Corner as their own. https://fb.watch/bu12kzjsCE/
 
 
 
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Congratulations to Dr. Mandi Davis Skerbetz on her election to the Dallas International Dyslexia Association Board of Directors. The Dallas IDA Board of Directors is a committed and passionate group of volunteers who work together to plan and implement our mission to serve the needs of families, educators and professionals concerned with struggling readers. Their goal is to provide essential research-based information about assessment, diagnosis, resources, and appropriate educational intervention. They offer information and referral, community outreach events, and professional education conferences to increase public awareness and remediation of dyslexia.

Dr. Mandi Davis Skerbetz is the Principal at Dallas Academy and has focused her career as a teacher, school administrator, professor, researcher, and consultant in the area of implementing evidence-based practices for students receiving Special Education. She looks forward to supporting families and students with dyslexia and comorbid disabilities navigating through the world of special education