Specialized Academic Support
Our program develops within each student the skills, knowledge, and values necessary for continued intellectual growth, moral development, and service to others. Grace Brethren offers a multi-sensory educational program in which students with learning differences are guided to achieve their unique academic goals.
We provide a Christ centered learning environment where each student can learn at their own individual pace, and conducive to their learning modality.
We offer specialized classroom instruction in each class. When students are found to need additional classroom supports we offer additional, smaller class support programs through our Math Lab and Reading Intervention Program.
In this approach, we review previously learned math skills and math facts while promoting conceptual understanding, number sense and problem-solving in an engaging, small-group setting. Our intensive math intervention program focuses on remediation of skill not the grade level the student is in. Students are provided with grade level material, but are also instructed with best practices to help provide students with long lasting skills, and tools to help develop cognitive awareness in mathematical thinking.
This effort focuses on: working to develop both auditory and visual memory and processing skills by using a multi-sensory program. The reading program gives students time to impact their reading skills in a relaxed and fun environment to help maintain the skills that they have and skills that are emerging or still developing.
Early literacy is a vital component to a student's academic success. We provide intensive remediation for students needing more support in the area of literacy. Students are provided with small group instruction using research based intervention in the main focus areas of: spelling, phonemic awareness, comprehension, phonics, fluency and memory.
We understand the importance of each student having access to personalized learning and is supported by qualified, caring, and supportive adults.
Grace Brethren Junior and Senior and High Schools offer a variety of individualized learning options. Students that need additional support or accommodations through an existing IEP, Section 504 Plan, or other academic assessments are encouraged to receive support through our specialized academic program.
This specialized program assists students with their understanding of assignments and information being presented, and accommodating or modifying work to support students' needs. Instructional support may be provided in a general education class or separate classroom.
Elizabeth Blackwell, Director Specialized Academic Services
Liz (Camy) Blackwell graduated from Cal State Northridge with a degree in Science, Health/Health Education. Blackwell has a Mild/Moderate Teaching Credential, Administrative Credential and over 8 years teaching experience with students that have learning disabilities, emotional challenges, Autism, and other struggles impacting the educational setting. Over the years, Mrs. Blackwell has worked as a case manager, resource, and Special Education Teacher implementing Individualized Educational Plans, 504 Plans, goals/objectives, behavior plans, and continuous ongoing progress monitoring. Skilled in Sensory Integration, Behavioral Disorders, Autism, Learning Disabilities, Individualized Academic Instruction, Educational Assessment, Secondary Education, and Classroom Management. Blackwell is currently a Doctoral student focused Education, EdD in Organizational Leadership from Brandman University, Part of the Chapman University System.
Blackwell also has a Master's Degree in Professional Learning Communities and an additional Masters of Education specializing in Special Education. Blackwell has worked on various committees for curriculum development, goal writing and collaboration for student success.
Mrs. Blackwell has been an Education Specialist for Grace Brethren Schools supporting families with students preschool-12th grade since 2014. In collaboration with families, students, faculty and staff, Mrs. Blackwell helps provide an Individualized Plan for students attending Grace Brethren.
Additionally, Blackwell was a high school, and collegiate cross country and track and field runner. Blackwell competed in a Division I program at California State University, Northridge, focusing primarily on distance running. Blackwell is a sponsored runner, currently competes on the USA track and field running circuit, and has qualified to compete in 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials. Blackwell enjoys to spend her spare time with her family, husband, her young children, church family, and participating in anything outdoors.
Mr. Klaiber and his family live in Simi Valley. He is serving in his third consecutive year as a full-time junior high English and speech teacher at Grace. In a addition to his B.S. degree in business management from Penn State University, Mr. Klaiber is pursuing a master’s degree in secondary education at Grand Canyon University. As it happens, his wife shares the same vocation. Their twenty-year-old daughter attends college while working, and their sixteen-year-old is a high school junior.Many of his personal interests coincide conveniently with his bride’s: family, reading, bookstores, college football, DIY projects, old books, great coffee, history, staying involved in their local church, and the occasional happy hour at their favorite local Mexican café.
Holly Locke has been part of the Grace Brethren team for over 20 years, where she teaches the Reading Intervention Program at the elementary campus. She works with students that require additional support in reading and language arts. She is passionate about her work, and strives to build a personal relationship with her students and their families, which enables her to provide her students with the best level of support on their education path. Holly brings a unique blend of experience to the Reading Intervention Program. She has specialized training in working with dyslexia and individuals with attention struggles. Holly enjoys spending time in the outdoors camping and hiking with her family.
Currently, Gail Orona assists and ministers to students in the GraceBrethren Educational Support program and eighth grade college prepEnglish classes. Her teaching career includes teaching elementary music classes and directing programs, teaching speech and drama classes, and twenty years of Junior High English. Nineteen of these twenty have been at Grace Brethren. Mrs. Orona earned her BA at Bob Jones University, and has two years graduate studies in Platform Arts. With her new focus on special education, Mrs. Orona has studied Special Needs in Faith Based Schools under Dr. Joyce Inouye at Fresno Pacific University and completed her first level as an educational therapist with NILD (National Institute for Learning Disabilities). Mrs. Orona’s goal is not only to teach well, but to direct students to the beauty and assurance of God’s love and care for them. When she is not grading, lesson planning or studying, Mrs. Orona enjoys gardening, homemaking, and loving her grandchildren.
Ryan Sevy is a current Film Industry, Film Studies, and Ed Support teacher at Grace Brethren High. Ryan has been coaching Track and bow Cross Country at Grace since 2017. Ryan has a Master's in Education and a CA Teaching Credential from National University, a Bachelor's degree in Social Studies from UC Davis, and a AA's in Liberal Arts and Social Science from Sierra Community College. Ryan has been a substitute teacher at grace Brethren High since 2011. Ryan co-produced, co-created and starred in a Short Film in 2016. The film, The Dunnigan Journals, competed in several film festivals in 2017 and won best short Narrative, and Best Overall at the Redding Film Festival. Ryan also works as part-time 911 responder in Ventura County, and is a AHA cpr instructor. Ryan is married to his wife Taylor and they are expecting their first child at the end of March.
Math is a subject typically associated with fear and anxiety. As the Math Interventionist for Grace Brethren Elementary, Mrs. Stevens provides additional instructional time, support and remediation in order for students to become successful with math at their grade level. She works with small groups of students of all ages, teaching math concepts in a variety of ways often incorporating fun activities to promote conceptual learning and decrease anxiety. She is also the instructor for the Science and
Math Club (SAM Club) for the 5th and 6th graders and coaches for the ACSI Math Olympics. She enjoys participating in Ventura County Mathematics Council events and is a member of the National Council of Math Teachers. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Nursing degree from Biola University as well as an active RN license. She loves vegetable gardening and her efforts show as the head of the Grace Elementary Garden. She sings in the Grace Community Church Choir, is a member of the Northridge Sojourners Bible Study and hopes to someday participate in an evangelical medical mission. Mrs. Stevens finds it a great joy to see children grow and succeed in their math abilities.