From: Bossier Press-Tribune
July 21, 2011

Teachers attend world-renowned school in Boston, MA.

As students prepare for the start of a new school year, a group of educators from three Bossier schools are learning new strategies that will impact the learning experiences of their students.

A-Kids-Choice Foundation, a non-profit organization, sponsored the eight educators from Curtis, Legacy and Meadowview Elementary Schools to travel to the North Shore of Boston, Massachusetts to attend training at the world-renowned Landmark School this week.

“These language skills will be beneficial for all of our students at Legacy,” Kelli Aiello, of Legacy Elementary School.  “I along with the other teachers, am excited about the implementation of he multi-sensory strategies that we are learning this week at The Landmark School.”

The motto for this A-Kids-Choice Foundation, “Learning Differences with a Voice.”  Its purpose is to give teachers added educational tools to improve their skills and to give them insight into new possibilities of successful learning for all students.

A-Kids-Choice Foundation was established by Denise Bankston, a local community partner who adopted Curtis Elementary last year.

“This journey began eleven years ago when I moved from Bossier to Boston so that my dyslexic son, J.T. Taylor, could attend The Landmark School,” Bankston said.  Now, she wants to ring the journey back home to Bossier Parish, which is the inspiration for her establishing A-Kids-Choice Foundation.

This week, the eight educators from these schools are participating in The Landmark School Outreach Summer Programs course, “A Language-Based Elementary Classroom.”  It is designed to provide teachers with the principles to develop language-based classrooms, programs and schools.

Although The Landmark School is dedicated specifically for children with language-based learning disabilities, the methods and principles used there are also applicable to improving the education of all students.

“Thanks to A-Kids-Choice Foundation, The Landmark School graduate course has given us additional tools to further understand students’ neurodevelopment in order to better address the needs of our students,” said Laura Selsor, from Curtis Elementary School.

The Landmark Outreach Summer Program shares expertise through the training of teachers, educational specialists, schools and districts.

“The Landmark Outreach Summer Program was an amazing experience that has changed my whole outlook on teaching, “ said Ashley Grantham, from Meadowview Elementary School.” I am so thankful to A-Kids-Choice Foundation for providing me with this wonderful opportunity.”

Funding for these groups to attend this unique and specialized outreach program is always a challenge.  However, A-Kids-Choice Foundation provided this funding to allow these Bossier Parish teachers the opportunity that will transform into providing these strategies to their students.

Also, the eight teachers will provide the faculties at their respective schools staff development training in Landmark’s strategies, methods, and principles.

Bankston encourages other individuals, businesses, and organizations to make tax-deductible donations to A-Kids-Choice Foundation so that they can become part of making a difference in the lives of our Bossier Parish students and teachers.  Donations may be made to:  A-Kids-Choice Foundation by visiting the website; or by calling Denise Bankston 318-780-2500.

Teachers involved included:  Terri Bird, Assistant Principal; Bonida Huggins and Laurie Selsor, from Curtis Elementary School; Kelli Aiello, Patricia Kimbrough, and Kim Slack, from Legacy Elementary School; Samantha Bailey and Ashley Grantham of Meadowview Elementary School.

Amanda Crane

Bossier City educator pose for a photo in Salem, MA., this week as they attend training at The Landmark School’s Outreach Summer Program. The educators include left to right: Ashley Grantham, Laurie Selsor, Kelli Aiello, Founder of A-Kids-Choice Foundation, Denise Bankston, Bonita Huggins, Samantha Bailey, Assistant Principal, Terri Bird of Curtis Elementary, Patricia Kimbrough and Kim Slack.