The Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati, OH)
Posted on October 1, 2002
By Cindy Kranz
Eight Russian educators visited Springer School and Center in Hyde Park on Monday to learn strategies for teaching students with learning disabilities. But it was the kids that engaged them the most.
Eleven students interviewed the visitors, then two of them told their personal stories and ways they compensate for their learning disabilities.
"They heard how the kids learned and how they struggled. In Russia, most kids with learning disabilities would hide it and feel insecure," said Olesya Dianova, the group's interpreter.
The Russian visitors are part of an Open World-Library of Congress program facilitated by the International Visitors Council of Greater Cincinnati.
They're also visiting the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Public Schools, Cincinnati Youth Collaborative, Archdiocese of Cincinnati and charter schools representatives.
The private, independent Springer School has 200 students with learning disabilities in grades 1-8. They learn strategies and skills to succeed in traditional schools. The average length of stay at Springer is three to four years.
A few schools like Springer are cropping up in Russia, but they're in early stages.
"Because learning disabilities is a newer area of identification and concern in Russia, they want to see how a school specifically designed for children with learning disabilities is structured and what kind of instruction is being provided," said Betsy Honig, Springer program coordinator.
The students asked the Russians about the length of the school day and year, the landscape, sports, weather, families, religion, food, restaurants and money.
The Russians delighted in giving them coins and pins as souvenirs.
"How do you say "Thank you' in Russian?" one student politely asked.
© The Cincinnati Enquirer, 2002. Used with permission.
[Reprinted with Permission]