The International Dyslexia Association annual conference is coming to Portland on November 7th through the 10th, 2019. It’s kind of a “big deal” for Portland and for Park Academy! This past October I attended my fourth IDA conference in Connecticut and Mary Mollway was able to attend her first. Approximately 2,500 professionals and parents from across the country attend the event. This five-day conference focused on reading, literacy & learning included hundreds of sessions and presenters on topics focused on research, clinical implications, advocacy, and research-to-practice. In addition to a full slate of sessions, Mary and I spent a day at a well-known private school serving students similar to those at Park Academy. We made incredible connections, learned new and exciting things, and walked away with a sense of excitement and validation. Time and time again the most respected names in the fields of dyslexia and literacy outlined practices and procedures that work best for students and we could point to all of the incredible work happening at Park Academy that matches the vision and practices being described at the conference.
Just as important, if not more so, we also served as ambassadors for Park Academy and the Pacific Northwest. Through the support of the Park Foundation, Park Academy was a named sponsor and we got to see our logo emblazoned throughout the conference on banners, slides, and programs. For the Portland conference, I have had the honor of serving as local conference committee co-chair and as a member of the national planning committee. In this role, we will be helping to promote the conference, influence the scope and program, and plan the very important school visits which occur on the first day. I will have the opportunity to serve as the representative and liaison for independent schools across the country who serve students with language learning difficulties of which, nearly 100 schools will be represented.
Several years ago Park Academy was one of the best-kept secrets in the Portland Metropolitan area, but this is no longer the case. We have solidified our reputation in the eyes of professionals, parents, and students in this community as a thought and practice leader in the fields of literacy and learning differences. During the conference, we will have opportunities to host educators and other professionals at our school to show them the life-changing work that is occurring here. We will have the chance to further position ourselves as leaders in the community and we will be featured in rolls of leadership at both the local and national level.
One of the most exciting aspects of the conference coming to Portland is the world-class researchers and experts in the field of literacy that will be here to share their knowledge. Parents, teachers, students, and anybody who impacts or is impacted by education and literacy development have a chance to learn and grow in ways that just don’t come around often. I am really excited about this opportunity for our school and our community. We will have a chance to shine, but also an opportunity to grow, mature and learn. The attention and awareness that this, and events like it, will bring to our community will only serve to further legitimize the voice of students with dyslexia and drive practitioners to implement best practices…..changing the lives of students. There will be lots more information to come over the next weeks and months as we move toward November 2019!