Friday, November 11, 2011

Here's to you Sally Smith!

 Founder Sally Smith (Photo via The Lab School)

by Janet Donovan
Photo credit: Neshan H. Naltchayan

Sally L. Smith (1929-2007) designed and founded The Lab School of Washington in 1967 for children with learning disabilities.  She was an amazing lady.  Here's her story:

"Traditional schools were not successfully educating her youngest son Gary. Believing that “everyone can learn,”  Sally was a pioneer in designing teaching approaches that used art in all its forms as a gateway for teaching academic skills. 

Eve O'Toole  Gavin Newsom  Hilary Rosen
She developed the Academic Club Method, an experiential classroom model that teaches academic subjects through full immersion in rigorous academic material. Academic Clubs create storehouses of knowledge, vocabulary, language fluency, and critical thinking to facilitate classroom proficiency in multiple disciplines. The success of this model has been repeatedly documented and is replicated worldwide." The Lab School.

Amb. Michael Oren - Sally Quinn - Gavin Newsom
Both her legacy and her school live on.  This year's Annual Gala Dinner Dance honored outstanding achievers with Learning Disabilities: Dr. Michael Oren, Israel's Ambassador to the US; Erin Brockovich, Consumer Advocate;  Gavin Newsom, Lt. Governor of California; Paul Rabil, Major League Lacrosse Champion; and Philip Schultz, Pulitzer Prize Winning Poet and Educator

Past honorees have included: Cher, Charles Schwab, Magic Johnson, Danny Glover, Tom Cruise, Billy Bob Thornton, Richard Avedon, and James Carville.

Here's looking at you Sally: