INTERVIEW WITH ALYSSA SORRENTI, STUDENT AT THE CRAIG SCHOOL THROUGH THE 8th GRADE
Head of School, Tad Jacks reached out to Alyssa Sorrenti, who attended Craig through the 8th grade, to talk about her experience as a student at Craig. Alyssa, being a recent student at Craig acknowledges the positive influences of the teachers on her life. The teachers mentioned in this article are faculty in 2018-19. Alyssa is attending the County College of Morris and will be attending Montclair State University. Thank you, Alyssa for sharing your thoughts about The Craig School!
What is one skill that you learned at the Craig School that you have taken to your current school?
I learned many skills at the Craig School, but organization is at the top of the list. My teachers at Craig gave me the tools I needed to be better organized. These included graphic organizers, color-coded binders and folders for each subject and planning out my assignments. To this day in college, I use graphic organizers to prepare for writing papers and doing homework assignments. I use a color-coded system for all of my college classes. I also write down all assignments in my planner, so that when it’s time to do homework, I know exactly what needs to be done without getting overwhelmed.
Why was your time at Craig so beneficial?
I came to the Craig School at the start of 4th grade as a very frustrated 9 year old, who could barely read. Even simple sight words were difficult for me and I was so embarrassed in front of my classmates, who were reading very well. My parents took me to a Pediatric Neuropsychologist, who determined that I had severe dyslexia. She said that there are three types of dyslexia and I had all three. She told my parents that I fell into the category of “possibly never learning to read” and suggested that I transfer to a special school for dyslexics. Prior to coming to Craig, the teachers at my old school used the Orton Gillingham program to teach me to read. When I got to Craig, my teachers realized that Orton alone didn’t work and that I needed a program individualized just for me. So, my reading teacher, Mrs. Wallace, worked one on one with me, using a combination of Lindamood-Bell along with Orton Gillingham. After only a few months at Craig, the progress I made in reading was more than what I had learned in four years at my public school. I remember feeling so happy that I was actually learning how to read, and I loved being at Craig with other kids like me. Beyond learning how to read, Craig was beneficial to me in many other ways. I learned to have a high self-esteem, to be confident and to be an advocate for myself.
What Teachers made your experience at the Craig School a positive one and why?
All of the Teachers at Craig are amazing and had a positive influence on me. They all deeply care about each and every student and want to see us succeed. Having said that, two of my role models are Mrs. Wallace and Mrs. Reese. These two teachers saved my live and I truly wouldn’t be where I am today without their guidance. Simply put, Mrs. Wallace taught me how to read and Mrs. Reese taught me how to write. Their loving and nurturing ways taught me to never give up. I consider all of the teachers at Craig to be like family, and to this day, I still keep in touch with many of them
Can you give us a brief history of your schooling after you left Craig?
After graduating from Craig, I attended Ramapo High School in Franklin Lakes. Fortunately, the Special Ed teachers at Ramapo were excellent and I was able to use the techniques I learned at Craig to be successful. I am currently attending County College of Morris and after receiving my Associates Degree, I plan on furthering my education at Montclair State University. I am studying Psychology and Sign Language and would love to be able to work with deaf people.
When you talk to people in your family or friends, what three words or phrases come to mind when you think about the Craig School?
When I think of the Craig School, the three words that come to my mind are caring, persistence and family.