At Cedar Valley Christian School, we strive for academic excellence and focus on fostering individual growth based on the learning needs of each individual student.
Small class sizes help teachers provide individualized attention and focused tailoring of lessons for each of their students. Students with special needs and learning disabilities can experience great success with the help of two resource teachers and classroom teachers that have years of training and experience in helping them learn best.
As part of that, Cedar Valley utilizes the Orton Gillingham Multisensory Approach in teaching. This approach is the "first teaching approach specifically designed to help struggling readers by explicitly teaching the connections between letters and sounds.... The highly structured approach introduced the idea of breaking reading and spelling down into smaller skills involving letters and sounds, and then building on these skills over time. It also pioneered the “multisensory” approach to teaching reading, which is considered highly effective for teaching students with dyslexia. This means that instructors use sight, hearing, touch and movement to help students connect language with letters and words."1
To track the success of our teaching, in grades K-5 we utilize the Gallistel-Ellis Test of Coding Skills to test a student's knowledge of phonics in reading and spelling. We have a phonics continuum that we follow at Cedar Valley from Kindergarten through fifth grade (and soon to be sixth and seventh grade), but often students join our school and haven't had this foundation. It helps us know diagnostically and prescriptively how to proceed with our instruction to provide for each student who attends Cedar Valley. It also help us know if our students need more instruction after summer. Forgotten material can easily be emphasized the following year. Using this test helps parents understand the importance of phonics instruction in reading and spelling. It gives us more information than the Iowa Assessments or DIBELs.
Cedar Valley also participates in the Iowa Assessments, and the scores reflect that our careful attention to each student's individual, personal academic growth lends itself to superior performances when compared to the rest of the state.