July 8, 2013
A former counselor, teacher and now school director is using her experience to help students with learning disabilities grow academically. In this week's Stephanie's heroes CBS19’s Stephanie Satchell is featuring Carol Williams who's the director at the Oakland School in Troy.
From a distance, the campus may just look like a large farm, but if you peek inside some of the buildings, you'll find the Oakland School.
It’s a non-traditional school geared towards helping students with learning disabilities and kids that just have a tough time understanding or doing their school work.
“A lot of them have difficulties learning. They're all smart kids, but for some reason they have some glitch in getting the best out of themselves,” said Carol Williams, Director of the Oakland School.
From a lesson being taught on the smart board to an archery class, students are taking it all in.
“We work on their self-esteem as well as their academics. So, it's not just teaching what's in the book, it's teaching how to be a good student and how to learn not just the learning,” said Williams.
Carol Williams is the current director, but uses her previous experience as a counselor and teacher at Oakland to help teachers create individualized education plans and help students reach their goals.
“I had some organizational problems and I have ADHD and I was falling behind in my public school. When I came, I was in the 6th grade and reading at a 4th grade level and now I'm in 9th grade and reading at about a 10th grade level,” said Noah Fields, Student, Oakland School.
“I have a lot more of a consciousness about how much I work and what I can do and what I'm able to do. It just gives you hope again,” said Rosemary Osborne, Student, Oakland School.
Students and parents say much of their success in the classroom is because of Williams' encouragement and leadership.
“She is really compassionate. She loves these kids. It's as if she's had hundreds of kids of her own because that's how she treats them,” said Karen Holtz, Parent, Oakland School.
Williams can often be found walking around the campus with her dog checking in on one-on-one sessions and recreational activities.
She's says the best part about her job is how rewarding it is.
“It's amazing to watch them grow and it's amazing to see the results. I get emails from people who have been here years ago who thank Oakland for their time here and really changing their lives,” said Williams.