Tutor Of The Month: Peggy Dunleavy!

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Peggy Dunleavy has been a learning disability educator specializing in reading and written instruction for the past 36 years. She was nominated three times in her career for Teacher of the Year at her school. She holds the following teaching certificates: in Elementary K-6 at the Bachelors level, in Interrelated instruction, Emotional and Behavior Disorders and in teaching the Mentally Impaired at the Masters level. At the Specialist level, (2 years beyond her Masters) she holds certifications in both Reading and Leadership. She recently retired from Gwinnett County Schools in June of 2021. During the summer, she completed 40 additional hours of training for Applied Behavior Analysis teaching to increase her knowledge in the Autism area. Since November, she has tutored for Teachers as Tutors with a variety of students from Kindergarten through Grade 7 primarily in the reading and written expression areas.

Peggy ensures that each assigned child in her care has an individualized tutoring plan focusing on both the needs and strengths of the students. Parents are initially interviewed in what is called an Intake so that they can give input regarding their childrens’ needs. Any paperwork or work samples from the schools are also included in this Intake. After meeting the parents, the student is informally assessed for Reading Fluency and Comprehension, both orally and silently. This is done in order to see if the student is able to apply phonics skills to unfamiliar words, remembers sight words ,remembers what he or she reads, understands what he or she is reading, and is reading at a grade level appropriate rate. Peggy also wants to determine if the student’s performance is better silently or both orally and silently. The child is also observed for possible tracking errors such as losing his or her place as passages are read. After the informal assessment is complete, Peggy reconvenes with the parent to explain her findings. An approximate reading level is also given to the parents. From there, Peggy works with different materials and teaching methods, including a multi-sensory approach to reading, in order to improve the student’s skills. The parents of her students have frequent communication with Peggy in regard to his or her progress. Additionally, Peggy likes to provide further practice for the student throughout the week so that the student progresses more quickly. This, of course, is the parents’ choice if they would like to have additional practice provided.

Teachers as Tutors is a center that truly has the students’ best interests in mind. Teachers are hired based on experience as well as having hearts for the children in their care. Improving academic skills is of key importance along with building the students’ self-esteem. The approach to working with students depends completely on how the student performs. There is no cookie-cutter approach to education in this center. The tutors are also happy to communicate with the teachers at the schools as well as attend meetings regarding the students’ progress. IEP meetings would also be attended at the parents’ request.

Peggy and all the teachers certainly look forward to working with your children. We hope if your child has an academic need that our organization is considered.