(Pictured above, l-r: Cynthia Davis, Riverside’s O-G Coordinator and an AOGPE Fellow, Hal Waller, Riverside’s Head of School, Dr. Louis S. Harris, Riverside student Katie Grimm and Debra Mitchell, Riverside’s Associate Head of School and Director of Admission, Transition and Testing.)
NORTH CHESTERFIELD, Va. –– Riverside School, Virginia’s most trusted school for dyslexic students in grades kindergarten through eighth grade, has announced that the school has received a $10,000 grant from school board member and philanthropist Dr. Louis S. Harris.
The gift will be used to enhance technological resources in Riverside’s Language Fundamentals (LF) department, as well as facilitate the progress of the school’s students in overcoming dyslexia. The grant will also be used to further the school’s mission to provide remediation of language skills for students with dyslexia and similar language-based learning differences in grades K-8, so that they can return to mainstream education fully prepared to realize their highest potential.
Riverside’s hallmark one-on-one Language Fundamentals (LF) instruction uses the Orton-Gillingham Approach to build close teacher-student relationships to allow for continuous feedback and positive reinforcement, leading to a high success rate, increased self-confidence and a bright future for children.
(Pictured right, l-r: Cynthia Davis, Riverside’s O-G Coordinator and an AOGPE Fellow, Dr. Louis S. Harris and Hal Waller, Riverside’s Head of School)
The gift, on behalf of Dr. Harris and his deceased wife, Ruth Harris, honors longtime Riverside LF instructor Carolyn Webb, who owns the distinction of being one of the few Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators (AOGPE) Fellows in the country. Ruth, who came to Riverside in 1976, was trained in the O-G Approach after the couple’s 12-year-old son, Charles, was diagnosed with dyslexia in the 1960s.
“A central focus of our family’s life has been philanthropy, which we believe is giving selflessly to others without thinking of self,” said Dr. Harris. “Riverside School is important to us and I chose to make this gift because it has the ability to improve the lives of students at the school today and for years to come.”
In 1974, when Dr. Harris got an offer to work at Virginia Commonwealth University, the Harris family moved to Richmond. A few years later, Ruth connected with Riverside founder Pat DeOrio, and they partnered together to turn Riverside into a premier school for children with dyslexia.
The Harris family has a long history of supporting educational intuitions and outreach programs like Riverside. They consistently support the next generation in their pursuit of gaining knowledge and facilitating their development as conscientious citizens.
“The significance of this grant cannot be overstated,” said Cynthia Davis, Riverside’s O-G Coordinator and an AOGPE Fellow. “The significance of this grant cannot be overstated,” said Cynthia Davis, Riverside’s O-G Coordinator and an AOGPE Fellow. “This grant will allow us to purchase effective technology that meets both presenter and trainee needs, and it will be an invaluable asset to us as we continue to expand the outreach of our training program, both locally and statewide.
“We are thankful beyond words for the Harris family’s longstanding and unwavering commitment to making Riverside the best that our school can be.”
With a 10:1 student-teacher ratio, Riverside’s teaching approach, in connection with Language Fundamentals, is dedicated to providing small classes, individualized curriculum that is appropriately and academically challenging, as well as one-on-one instruction and a nurturing environment to enhance the learning experiences of children with dyslexia.
About Riverside School
An independent day school based in Richmond, Va., Riverside School’s mission is to provide remediation of language skills for students with dyslexia and similar language-based learning differences in grades K-8, so that they can return to mainstream education fully prepared to realize their highest potential. Riverside’s teaching approach is dedicated to providing small classes, individualized curriculum, one-on-one instruction and a nurturing environment to enhance the learning experiences of children with dyslexia.
About Dr. Louis S. Harris
Dr. Louis S. Harris was elected to the Board of Trustees at Riverside School in July 2016, and also serves on the Finance and Development committees.
He was married in 1952 to Ruth Harris, and has one son, Charles Harris, born in 1956. Charles’ development of dyslexia prompted Ruth to become trained in the diagnosis and treatment of the disease, and it was her skills that brought the Dyslexia Program to Riverside School. She died in 2014, but is still remembered at Riverside and Virginia Commonwealth University.