dyslexia · learning disabilities · southportct

What’s in a name…

Names are funny things when you think about it. Think of how you associate things with names of people, places, and things. We start life with our parents picking out a name before we are even born, how do they know if it will fit?! Actually, when I was born, my parents were so sure they were having a third boy, they only had a boy’s name picked out! My father picked out my first name and my middle name is for the first female on this very large family tree we have tracing back some of our Canadian roots. Names provide identity, they make us think of characteristics, they often define. When speaking or publishing work I usually use my maiden and married last name, to lend to the credit I give my parents for my path in life and to my wonderful husband who supports all I do.

Have you ever wanted to change your name? Growing up I always wanted to be a Jennifer. When adopting my dogs, who are rescues, I kept the names they came with, they were fitting. However, my first dog I ever adopted I changed her name. The rescued group had just given names to each pup in the litter and I was not having my dog named Ramanda!

Changing names can cause many emotions, change is like that. I am not a fan of change. However, this week a name change came along that I find so exciting. My school has long historic roots. In 1967, in Hardwick, MA a boarding high school was started for students with language based learning disabilities named Eagle Hill. In 1975, a group of educators from that school, left to start Eagle Hill Greenwich in CT, a part boarding, part day elementary and middle school for LD students. In tradition, a group left there in 1985 to open a similar, day only program, in Southport, CT. This history is important as it’s the shared mission of amazing educators to create a learning environment to best teach students with learning disabilities. I have actually had the privilege to work at both the Connecticut based schools.

Each school functions independently and have had their own evolution over time. This change has benefited each school in its own way. The name Eagle Hill definitely was crucial to connect the three, but as can happen with time, identities evolve. Being part of Eagle Hill Southport has been exciting for the last 13 years. Being part of the change that has occurred there has been amazing. We have become an Orton-Gillingham approach based school, very crucial for students with dyslexia, we have developed a technology program that provides assistive and differentiated tech for all our students, building independence through various tools online and offline, and we are building an executive functioning approach to help address that area of instruction for learners. There is a lot going on at 214 Main Street.

To honor all this, we saw that we needed one more change to honor the identity we have developed. On Monday November 20, 2017, we announced that we will be now known as The Southport School (TSS). This comes following the purchase of a new building adjacent to our property that could not have been done without the support of the Southport Community. The history of the school has been strong in the Southport community including our pancake breakfast as part of Southport Day. Our mission does not change, we are still a school for students with dyslexia, ADHD, and executive functioning challenges. It is an exciting leap forward in the history of the school, and I look forward to spreading the word about the amazing educators and students that are The Southport School.

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