Gazebo Gazette

Brittany Brewer, who taught at Coast Episcopal School from 2008-2015, is returning to the independent school in Long Beach as a Learning Strategist & Dyslexic Therapist, according to Head of School Jake Winter.  Brewer’s position is a new initiative at CES, created to provide support for both teachers and students in enhancing reading proficiencies, states Winter.

In her new role, Brewer will spend Monday-Thursday mornings in kindergarten through third grade classrooms and afternoons conducting dyslexic therapy for small groups of students.

“CES is dedicated to meeting every student where they are on their reading journey. To foster this commitment, my goal is to bring research to practice, share advancements and insight of the science of reading to create breakthrough moments for those struggling with reading and writing,” explains Brewer.

Since leaving Coast Episcopal School in 2015, Brewer has focused on enriching her academic credentials.  By 2022, she had become a Certified Slingerland/Orton-Gillingham Trainer of Teachers from Christian Brothers University, a Certified Academic Language Therapist from the Academic Language Therapy Association in Dallas, Texas and was awarded a Master of Education in Dyslexia Therapy from William Carey University.

Brewer holds an endorsement as a Licensed Dyslexia Therapist (LDT) through the Mississippi Department of Education.

Brewer’s classroom time will be spent helping design structured literacy activities specific to each student’s individual needs, activities based on research that has been conducted over the last five decades which has resulted in clear evidence that effective assessments in a student’s early years of education will prevent future reading and writing challenges.

Brewer continues, “The evidence is immense and concise: combining evidence-based instruction tools, resources, and knowledge into one comprehensive system is proven and trusted to help students master reading fundamentals. Creating a multisensory, structured literacy program, which is a systematic, cumulative, deliberate, and diagnostic approach will help literacy come alive for students at CES.  A structured literacy program will teach phonology, sound-symbol recognition, syllables, morphology, semantics, syntax, and how they work together to achieve effective literacy skills.”

Coast Episcopal School’s reading curriculum has always been phonics-based, which is the concept of matching sounds of spoken English with individual letters or groups of letters.

Moving forward, the school, partnered with Brewer’s expertise, will apply the evidence-based research of the past 50 years that has found 78% of struggling readers have a phonological deficit.

The new standard scope of services CES will provide includes screening and targeting assessments of every student. Children who are pre-readers will be provided a foundation of solid phonemic awareness through activities designed to help them understand that sounds in our language have meaning and follow certain patterns which, in turn, will prepare them for phonics instruction.

In addition to the structured literacy activities that will benefit all Coast Episcopal Students, Brewer also will provide support to students who have been identified as having dyslexia, a condition of neurodevelopmental origin that mainly affects the ease with which a person reads, writes, and spells. Classified as a learning disorder, it is estimated that 15-20% of all students are dyslexic.

“Having Brittany on Campus, providing services to our students with dyslexia and being able to interact closely with their classroom teachers will be invaluable,” according to Winter.

Identifying the need for a certified professional to create individualized reading strategies and provide on-campus support for students with dyslexia is the second innovative educational program introduced by Winter at Coast Episcopal School.

In the fall of September 2021, the school introduced its Transitional Kindergarten Class, a “bridge year” following Preschool for students who have been identified as benefiting from an additional year for social and emotional growth before entering Kindergarten.

“Coast Episcopal School has been recognized for 50+ years for its academic excellence, and we are committed to having education best practices in place for our students.  Our professional faculty is constantly enriching their own skill sets, sharing ideas for new programming, and keeping up-to-date on successful classroom practices, “ concludes Winter.

Coast Episcopal School has been dedicated to a life-long love of learning by developing the whole child – mind, body and spirit – and providing a joyful, unique and nurturing Judeo-Christian Community that inspires its students to imagine and create a better world.

Founded in 1950, CES is a member of the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS).  For information:  Coast Episcopal School, 5065 Espy Avenue, Long Beach, MS, 39560.  228-452-9442.

Photo Caption:

Brittany Brewer (center), who is joining the Coast Episcopal School Faculty as Learning Strategist & Dyslexic Therapist, discusses with Head of School Jake Winter (right) and Elementary Dean Kim McWilliams (left), research that supports the need for effective assessments that are diagnostic and prescriptive  in a student’s early years of education to prevent future reading and writing challenges.