Triton exists to serve families and students where they have the greatest needs. Triton began this journey in the midst of a pandemic last year–a time when parents were desperate for school support. Now, over a year after school closures, select schools are just starting to return to classes in person, with many continuing distance learning. This is why Triton focuses on educational therapy that is one-on-one, and is designed to target a student’s needs and challenges as an individual.
Why education therapy?
The duration of distance learning has greatly impacted students’ academic growth and social-emotional development. According to a report on high school students in Los Angeles, 40,000 of them are at risk of not graduating this year, 6,000 of them this year alone. “In middle school, about a third of students in the district are currently on grade level in reading and math. Some of the worst learning loss was found in the early grades, where reading skills declined the most in kindergarten and first grade compared to the 2019-20 school year” (Yahoo! News). Great Public Schools Now describes the losses L.A.’s youngest students are experiencing according to annual assessments.
According to early literacy assessment results from the beginning of the 2020-21 academic year, 49% of students in grades K-5 were on track in early reading skills, compared to 59% at the be- ginning of the 2019-20 academic year, just before the pandemic. When K-5 students were tested again in the middle of the 2020-21 academic year, results remained stagnant with 49% on track. Students in kindergarten and first grade suffered the biggest learning losses, with the percentage of students not on track increasing by 13- 20%. Literacy skills in those early grades are critical for students to learn how to read. Without additional support, there is a 90% chance that a struggling reader in first grade will remain a struggling reader.
Strengthening sensory cognitive skills
Triton offers the intervention struggling readers need, and we offer a multisensory approach to instruction that typical classrooms do not incorporate. When it comes to teaching reading, the average student is expected to learn to read using phonics and memorization. For a typical student, this may be sufficient for literacy; yet it is taught with the assumption that the underlying sensory cognitive skills that support literacy are stable. Orthographic processing and phonological awareness are two key skills essential for literacy. For students who have weaknesses in these areas, reading will be a struggle until they are addressed. With Triton’s approach, students work one-on-one with instructors to strengthen these underlying functions, allowing literacy to become possible.
Literacy, however, is only the beginning of learning. Comprehension and critical thinking can present challenges for students even if they are strong readers. This is because understanding what you language relies on a different skill than reading words. Concept imagery is the ability to hold a mental image or picture of an object or idea. This is an essential skill to understanding what you read and even how you use and interpret spoken language. Without strong concept imagery, a student will rely on memorizing the words they read, rather than picturing it in their mind’s eye. Memorization without imagery will not sustain understanding.
What does Triton’s education therapy look like?
Education therapy is not tutoring. Traditional tutors focus on academics and typically act as a second teacher to help a child complete work already assigned to them from school. Educational therapists use a broader approach. This illustration from Understood explains, “If your child has dyscalculia and math anxiety, a tutor might practice math problems over and over. An educational therapist, on the other hand, might see that your child struggles with number sense. She might teach your child strategies for recognizing basic number facts, or suggest accommodations. She might also teach your child coping skills for anxiety.” Triton’s education therapy focuses on providing students with the tools they currently lack so that they can become more independent in school and life.
Prior to instruction, every student is assessed with a multisensory evaluation that determines where their current skills lie in areas of language comprehension, phonics, literacy and comprehension. Based on their performance, students receive specialized instruction tailored to their needs. Their education plan can focus on everything from literacy to social emotional skills to language acquisition. Triton’s instructors work one on one with each student to strengthen their sensory cognitive skills through imagery techniques. These techniques develop a student’s mental acuity in picturing letters, words, and concepts. Read more about our multisensory instruction here.
Triton’s multisensory instruction is founded on the principle that imagery is the key to learning. Without intensive instruction, students who fall behind rarely catch up on their own. It’s no secret that performance in school is not merely a matter of willpower. Students who are disengaged or completely lost in a virtual setting can’t rely on a prayer. Triton’s in-person educational intervention is designed to help each student perform to their potential in an environment they are excited about. Reach out to our Parent Representative here today.