The Southport School and Southport CoLAB Play Integral Role in the Development and Execution of Sacred Heart University Dyslexia Graduate Certificate Program

Cutting-edge offering supports a whole-child teaching approach for students who experience reading difficulties

SOUTHPORT, Conn., Oct. 16, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Southport School, an independent day school for cerebrodiverse children in grades 2-8 with language-based learning differences such as dyslexia and attention issues, and The Southport CoLAB, which provides high-quality programs for training professionals, educators and families, today announced its partnership with Sacred Heart University’s (SHU) Isabelle Farrington College of Education & Human Development (FCEHD) to provide the first dyslexia graduate certificate program in the state of Connecticut.

The 18-credit, fully online offering champions a whole-child teaching approach for students who experience reading difficulties and was designed to link the theory, research, and practice of the science of reading. The objective is to provide educators with the latest reading research coupled with the opportunity to learn and implement hands-on strategies using Orton-Gillingham, one of the most highly recognized Structured Literacy approaches to teaching reading.

“For close to a decade, The Southport School and SHU have worked collaboratively to identify opportunities to provide learning opportunities and experiences for students,” said Dr. Benjamin N. Powers, executive director of The Southport School and The Southport CoLAB. “It was an honor helping shape the graduate certificate program, which will help prepare the next generation of reading specialists. I’m pleased our school and The Southport CoLAB will continue playing an integral role by leading three of the classes within the program."

Graduate students enrolled in the program will gain the knowledge and practical experience needed to implement evidence-based literacy instruction. Enrolled prospective literacy specialists attend a combination of synchronous and asynchronous virtual classes to learn the distinguishing characteristics of dyslexia, its early warning signs and academic impacts. In addition, they study how the cumulative impact of dyslexia extends well beyond reading and writing instruction.

“We are beyond thrilled to have The Southport School and The Southport CoLAB as partners in designing, teaching, and supporting our future literacy specialists and literacy leaders,” said Kristin Rainville, associate professor and program director for literacy at FCEHD. “This is an extraordinary time in our field and this collaboration will ensure we prepare the educators who can be responsive to the social, emotional, and academic needs of students with dyslexia.”

To learn more about how The Southport School supports students and their families, visit For insight on training programs offered through The Southport CoLAB, visit For additional information on the dyslexia graduate certificate program, visit Sacred Heart University’s website.

About The Southport School
The Southport School is an independent day school for cerebrodiverse children in grades 2-8 with language-based learning differences, like dyslexia as well as attention issues. Since its inception in 1984, has been dedicated to delivering transformative educational experiences that acknowledge a student’s strengths, promote independent thinking, develop self-esteem and self-advocacy, and facilitate a successful transition for continued academic achievement. The Southport School provides a 4:1 student-to-teacher ratio and a supportive, non-conventional environment where students receive personalized instruction and are championed by an expert faculty using research and evidence-based approaches. TSS serves 123 students from neighboring communities in Connecticut and New York. To learn more, visit

About The Southport CoLAB
The Southport CoLAB provides the highest quality programs in training for professionals, educators, and families. Its mission is to integrate research, practice, and advocacy to effect positive outcomes for people with learning differences and attention issues. The Southport CoLAB currently offers three specialized training programs: structured literacy, executive functions, and assistive technology that help further its vision of a world where people with language-based learning differences and attention issues are embraced for their strengths and potential, and where all teachers have access to training in best educational practices and current research. To learn more, visit


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