Elizabeth Clemens
Class of 1970

My experience at Loyola changed my life. In 1970, I completed my master’s degree and was converted from high school English teacher to certified reading specialist. I had learned the nuances of diagnostic testing from the current experts in the field, Spache, Durrel, and Peabody. As a selected fellow, I was given the opportunity to prescribe, remediate, and evaluate progress in a summer session with Jefferson Parish students. It was a remarkable year for me, and I often wonder how successfully this fellowship was used by that wonderful group of teachers, assembled from Orleans and surrounding parishes. My skills were never used in the St. Bernard Parish School System, so I eventually went into the private sector, where I founded and directed The Barry Academy in Chalmette. It was a decade of applied research as I worked with underachieving students in basic skills to return them to public education. My curricula eventually included preacademic skills for ages three through five, grades one through eight, and a GED based offering for grades nine through twelve. All were nationally normed tested, with grade level placement the goal to exceed. GED graduates were required to read at a twelfth-grade level. Thanks to Loyola’s staff, that year we were all well grounded in accountability and the desire to help students succeed. Unfortunately, I was forced to leave the public sector to put into practice what I was taught. Hopefully, future participants will be met with less resistance and experience the awesome ability to show students the path to academic achievement.