The Scottish Rite Learning Center of West Texas (SRLCWT) opened in 1975 as a learning center for students with dyslexia. Dr. Lena W. Waters, the first director, had received language therapist training in the Language Laboratory at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, Texas. On November 3, 1975 she began teaching one student in the Alphabetic Phonics Curriculum. This student was the first of many students to receive language training at the Center. In September of 2003, the SRLCWT began teaching the Take Flight: A Comprehensive Intervention for Students with Dyslexia curriculum. The Take Flight curriculum was written by the staff of the Luke Waites Center for Dyslexia and Learning Disorders of Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (TSRHC). It builds on the success of the three previous dyslexia intervention programs: Alphabetic Phonics, the Dyslexia Training Program and TSRH Literacy Program. It is a scientifically evidence-based, multisensory structured, sequential, phonetic-based curriculum specifically designed for the student with dyslexia. The classes are taught by Certified Academic Language Therapists. Students attend Monday-Thursday for one hour each day for two to two and a half years. No student has ever been charged for attending the Center. The funding of the Center is achieved through contributions from both Masons and non-Masons.
In the early 1980’s the Scottish Rite Masons began to address the need for training of teachers of dyslexic students in Lubbock, West Texas and Eastern New Mexico. In cooperation with the Lubbock Independent School District, Texas Tech University and the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, the first class of teachers met in June 1984. Aylett R. Cox and members of her staff from the Dean Learning Center of Dallas came to Lubbock to lead in the establishment of the teacher training program. The Center received certification of completion of the Alphabetic Phonics Center Certification Program from the Aylett Royal Cox Institute in May 1988. The Center became one of five such centers in the United States. In honor of the first director, the program was named The Lena W. Waters Memorial Alphabetic Phonics Teacher Training Program. On October 19, 1997, the SRLCWT was declared an ALTA Accredited Center by the Academic Language Therapy Association Centers Council. The International Multisensory Language Education Council (IMSLEC), the current governing body, reaffirmed the accreditation in 2002 and in 2007. The most current reaccreditation was awarded in 2015.
The directors of the Scottish Rite Learning Center of West Texas brought leadership, knowledge, vision, and commitment to the ongoing growth and success. Much of Center’s success was due to the relationship between the director and her co-workers.
Dr. Lena Waters 1971-1982
Betty Roy 1983-1987
Connie Reid 1987-1988
Jan Morris 1988-2001
Doris Haney 2001-2005
Linda Stringer 2005- 2014
Sue Rogers 2014-2018
Olive Hester 2019 – present
The instructors from the Center have been presenters at the annual International Dyslexia Association National Conferences. Workshops, seminars and presentations on dyslexia have been made for the Lubbock Independent School District, school districts in the surrounding areas, and to teachers from the Education Service Center Region 17. Education students from Lubbock Christian University and Texas Tech University frequently visit the Center to gain understanding of dyslexia and to observe classes of students.
Upon completion of the Dyslexia Therapist Training Course, teachers may receive twelve graduate credit hours from Lubbock Christian University and Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, fifteen graduate credit hours from Mid-Western University in Wichita Falls, Texas and six graduate credit hours from West Texas A&M, in Canyon, Texas. Teachers are also eligible to take a national exam to become a Certified Academic Language Therapist (CALT) and with a Master’s Degree apply to become a Texas State Licensed Dyslexia Therapist (LDT).
In 2015, afterschool classes were added at the Lubbock center which is located at 1101 70th Street, Lubbock, Texas. In 2016, the Masons began to address the need for training of teachers of dyslexic students in the Texas Panhandle. In cooperation with the SRLCWT, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital and West Texas A&M University, the SRLCWT Amarillo satellite course was established. The Amarillo Campus is located in the Amarillo Historical Building at 211 SE 17th Street. June Hoffman is the Associate Director. Student classes are also taught at the Center.
The Center will celebrate its forty eighth anniversary this year and has grown and prospered, receiving mayoral “Dyslexia Day” proclamations as well as official recognition of “Dyslexia Awareness Month” from the governor of Texas. The Center is one of the largest in the Southern Jurisdiction and has trained hundreds of students and teachers since its inception. In May of 2019, the Center was recognized as an IMSLEC Recognized School.
Each spring the Center invites parents, educators, administrators, physicians, therapists, and others interested in literacy to attend the C.J. Davidson Memorial Lecture Series: Advances in Literacy. This event began in 1997, when the Davidson family of Midland provided a foundational grant for teachers and others in this area an opportunity to hear nationally renowned speakers in the field of literacy. The Lecture Series is held at the Scottish Rite Building in Lubbock. Dr. G. Reid Lyon, Distinguished Professor of Education Policy at Southern Methodist University, nationally known for his work with the National Reading Panel and National Institutes of Health in the study of scientific based reading programs, presented at the first lecture series in 1997 and a second time at the 2010 Lecture Series. Other guest speakers have included Dr. Jeffrey Black, Dr. Robert Brooks, Suzanne Carreker, Marcia Henry, Priscilla Vail, and Barbara Wise. A nominal fee is charged to attend the all-day event.
The 2024 Lecture Series speaker is Dr. Elsa Cardenas-Hagan, Ed.D, CCC-SLP, CDT, CALT-QI. Her topics include:
- Research on Structured Literacy for English Learners
- Language and Speech Development
- Language to Literacy Connections
Each May the SRLCWT hosts graduation ceremonies for students who have completed the Take Flight curriculum and for teachers who have successfully met the requirements of the Dyslexia Training Program. Family, friends, and Masons attend the ceremony to celebrate the graduates’ accomplishments. This past May 700 people were in attendance between the Lubbock and Amarillo campuses.
As the Scottish Rite Learning Center of West Texas continues to provide training for teachers, the circle of students with dyslexia who read and spell successfully grows larger. The motto of the Scottish Rite, “The Future is Purchased by the Present,” is truly being fulfilled.