Get To Know PCS West: Sandi Slaven

At Provident Charter West (PCS West), our tuition-free charter school is known for our warm and caring 1st-5th grade learning environment. To get to know more about the people behind our school culture, we recently chatted with PCS West 4th/5th Grade Math and Science Teacher Sandi Slaven.

Here’s what she had to say!

Sandi Slaven professional headshot.

What inspired you to become an educator?

This is my 33rd year teaching elementary students. I’ve always enjoyed working with children.  My grandfather was a principal and my grandmother was a special education teacher.  I grew-up loving school!   

Who was your favorite teacher and why?

My favorite teacher was my 8th grade civics teacher, Mr. Charles Hughey.  He was my favorite teacher because I learned so much in his class.  He had very high expectations for his students.  He had high expectations for academics, but also for behavior.  He kept students engaged during direct instruction, and he provided fun activities for the students. 

Sandi Slaven teaching a group of engaged children at a table.

How does PCS West’s mission and vision align with your personal values?

I am passionate about every child receiving the best education possible for that child. For a democratic society to be successful, its citizens must be educated, informed, and critical thinkers.  The mission of PCS West ensures that students are provided with a high quality, well-rounded education that is delivered through multisensory instructional methods and individual learning plans. At PCS West, every student is met at their level and given the tools to reach their full potential.

What do you love most about your role?

The thing I love most about my role as a teacher are the “ah-ha” moments. There is always a point in time, an event or an experience that creates an “ah-ha” moment for a student.  One of my favorite moments is when a student (who did not like math) said that she never understood long division – then, she GOT it!  At that moment she started to love math and she wanted to solve long division problems all the time! 

Tell us a little about your life outside of PCS West!

Along with teaching, I served 21 years in the Pennsylvania Air National Guard. I am a veteran of the Persian Gulf War and I retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.  I have had many great experiences and adventures and I am looking forward to many more! 
Talented, caring Provident Charter School West staff serve struggling readers with top-notch whole child education in a tuition-free charter school environment. Are you interested in learning more about how PCS West can be a fit for your child?

Contact us and ENROLL TODAY.

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About Provident Charter West

Provident Charter West is a tuition-free brick and mortar charter school serving 1st-5th grade students with dyslexia and other language-based learning differences in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Our innovative classroom model and effective teaching techniques inspire all learners. Students are supported by a close-knit community of caring teachers, staff and engaged families in Beaver County. Join PCS West today!

Parents Are Partners at PCS West

Did you know that caregivers can make a big difference in a student’s academic success? RESEARCH SHOWS that students whose parents are involved in their school have better attendance and behavior, get better grades, demonstrate better social skills and adapt better to school. At PCS West, our teachers and staff work alongside parents to support our students’ learning.

Here’s how!

Close Connections

Our small 1st-5th grade charter school setting enables us to know every student – and their families – by name. Teachers and parents partner with each other through frequent communication and classroom feedback, reaching out if they see a need for additional academic support or enrichment.

Personalized Learning Prioritized Here

Because PCS West serves students with language-based learning differences, many of our young learners have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). An IEP is a document which outlines a student’s personalized educational plan, including specifics around specialized instruction and related services. Many PCS West parents report challenges implementing IEPs at other schools, feeling defensive and anxious discussing with staff and having to advocate for their child. At PCS West, we partner with parents to create and implement IEPs, and conduct formal conferences twice each year to provide feedback on learning. In addition, our teachers and staff are very accessible to families who would like to check in about their child or answer questions about the IEP process.    

Family Engagement Series

Learning isn’t just for enrolled students at PCS West. Each year we host a Family Engagement Series for parents and caregivers to attend with their children. Popular events like the Dyslexia Simulation and STEAM Night offer unique experiences to learn more about our curriculum and language-based learning differences. Families of all ages visit our campus to enjoy hands-on curriculum-based events like Frog Day, Cake Decorating, House/Circuits Project, and more. These events are a great way to have fun with your family and get to know the PCS West community! 

Student and teacher at PCS West tuition-free charter school high five across a classroom table.

Volunteers Wanted

PCS West parents and caregivers are encouraged, but not required, to VOLUNTEER in our school. We offer a VARIETY OF OPPORTUNITIES that accommodate the schedules of working parents and busy families. Our PARENT GROUP helps with fundraising and is always looking for volunteers to support our school activities. From assisting with in-class reading support and field trip chaperones; attending teacher conferences or book fairs; or coordinating our Health & Wellness Fair, Dyslexia Simulation and other events; there are lots of ways to be involved at PCS West. Interested in spreading the word about PCS West? Come volunteer as an ambassador! As guest speakers and as resources for prospective families, our ambassadors talk first-hand about the benefits that PCS West has provided for their learners. It’s a great way to give back to our school!  

These are just some of the ways that Provident Charter West families and teachers are crucial partners in student success. Are you interested in learning more about how PCS West can be a fit for your child? Contact us and ENROLL TODAY.

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About Provident Charter West

Provident Charter West is a tuition-free brick and mortar charter school serving 1st-5th grade students with dyslexia and other language-based learning differences in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Our innovative classroom model and effective teaching techniques inspire all learners. Students are supported by a close-knit community of caring teachers, staff and engaged families in Beaver County. Join PCS West today!

Dyslexia Doesn’t Define Us

“student at Provident Charter West school working on box construction at a science room table”

Provident Charter West (PCS West) is a tuition-free charter school designed for 1st-5th grade children with dyslexia. But that’s only part of our story. Because at PCS WEST, we truly believe that dyslexia doesn’t define us!

“student at Provident Charter West school working on box construction at a science room table”

A New Definition of Dyslexia  

According to the OXFORD DICTIONARY, dyslexia is “a condition of neurodevelopmental origin that mainly affects the ease with which a person reads, writes, and spells, typically recognized as a specific learning disorder in children.” The most common learning disability, dyslexia can also affect social skills, listening comprehension and time management. 

At PCS West, we are experts at understanding dyslexia – both what it is, and what it is not. Dyslexia occurs across the range of intellectual abilities, meaning that there is no correlation between intelligence and the disability. Curtis Kossman, the founder of Provident and president of our SCHOOL BOARD, says “kids come to us humiliated” after years of struggling in traditional schools. But when they arrive at PCS West, they find a culture of learning that embraces the many unique strengths of children with dyslexia. Instead of a challenge to be overcome, dyslexia is seen as a hidden superpower for our learners!

Potentials Unlocked Here

Dyslexia doesn’t determine potential. In fact, one of the many strengths of people with dyslexia is AN ABILITY TO SEE DIFFERENTLY. Leonardo DaVinci, Albert Einstein, Muhammad Ali, Magic Johnson – some of the greatest minds and talents in history were dyslexic learners. From pattern perception to artistic talent, many PCS West students discover interests and abilities that they never knew they had prior to coming to our school. Our teachers honor the unique strengths of our students, while using expert understanding of the reading brain to work on weaknesses – and unleash potential. 

PCS West students build skills and connect to their strengths through a unique combination of effective curriculum and innovative classroom models. Each classroom has two co-teachers with Orton Gillingham based reading remediation, multisensory instructional methods and individual learning plans. Students have the same teachers for two years in a row, enabling our staff to establish deep connections and understanding of each student’s abilities and needs. And counselors and a behavioral specialist are on hand for learners who need extra support.

“students at PCS West 1st-5th grade tuition-free charter writing in notebooks, laying on the floor of their classroom talking with their teacher”

Our Futures Are Bright

The journey from being labeled by dyslexia to creating and sustaining a bright future is nurtured by PCS West. Beyond the fundamental ability to read and write, we give students a toolbox of skills that they can take with them after they leave our school. These skills can be as small as harnessing the speech-to-text function on phones or as big as self-advocacy and the confidence to take academic risks and try new things. Our students move into their next educational setting prepared to succeed and ready to soar to new heights!

Dyslexia doesn’t have to be seen as a challenge to overcome. At PCS West, our skilled, knowledgeable teachers are ready to unlock your child’s potential and start them on the path to a bright future. Interested in learning more? Contact us and ENROLL TODAY.

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About Provident Charter West

Provident Charter West is a tuition-free brick and mortar charter school serving 1st-5th grade students with dyslexia and other language-based learning differences in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Our innovative classroom model and effective teaching techniques inspire all learners. Students are supported by a close-knit community of caring teachers, staff and engaged families in Beaver County. Join PCS West today!

Top 10 Reasons to Choose Provident Charter West

At Provident Charter West (PCS West), there are so many reasons why 1st-5th grade students are thriving at our TUITION-FREE CHARTER SCHOOL. Here are our top 10!

Three students at PCS tuition-free charter school work on a drawing and writing project together.

1. We Understand Dyslexia

PCS West was founded to educate children with dyslexia and other language-based learning differences. We are experts at what we do! A daily remediation block for both reading and math, called “What I Need”  or WIN, allows teachers to address individual learning needs in small groups.  This is in addition to daily Orton Gillingham based reading remediation. Specially trained and experienced teachers are just one way we improve language arts and math skills in our learners.  PA standards aligned instruction in grade level content, combined with project based and experiential learning opportunities, ensure that our students are prepared to thrive in their next educational setting when they leave our school.

2. We Reach All Learners

Our innovative teaching model features two full-time professional teachers in every classroom and a low student-to-teacher ratio. We engage our students with small groups paced to individual learning abilities, multimodal teaching, and all students have access to assistive technology.

3. A Space for Makers

Our innovative teaching model features two full-time professional teachers in every classroom and a low student-to-teacher ratio. We engage our students with small groups paced to individual learning abilities, multimodal teaching, and all students have access to assistive technology.

4. Finding Friends

When students come to PCS West, they are welcomed and understood by caring teachers and staff. But our school community doesn’t end there. Our young learners often report that they are accepted here – sometimes for the first time – by classmates that can relate to their learning challenges and want to be friends. Strong friendships are so important to a healthy learning experience, and a big reason why our students thrive!

5. Our Parents Are Partners

PCS West sees families and teachers as crucial partners in student success. Our teachers and parents support each other through frequent communication and classroom feedback, ensuring that students are always at the center of our school’s caring climate. Got some extra time? Our PARENT GROUP is always looking for volunteers to support our school activities. Interested in getting involved? Check out our SCHEDULE OF EVENTS to sign up for our Health & Wellness Fair, Dyslexia Simulation and more – we would love to see you there! 

Student at Provident West charter school playing outside with a blue basketball.

6. A Holistic Approach

PCS West teaches more than reading and math – we also support the unique needs and emotional development of all learners. Making mistakes is integral to learning, which is why we encourage questioning and problem-solving for all ages. Our staff establish safe and trusted relationships with students, empowering them to collaborate and communicate with others in meaningful ways. Counseling staff, speech specialists, and OT services are available on site as needed.

7. Safety First

School safety and a positive, inclusive climate is prioritized at PCS West.   Teachers and staff are trained in situational awareness related to school safety, and they also receive training in de-escalation strategies and crisis prevention.   Social emotional learning is part of our curriculum.  Our small school allows our staff to truly know our students and their families personally; this results in a deep sense of belonging.

8. Values Matter

Our school values of Perseverance, Compassion and Self Control help staff engage students with character education that they can apply to their lives both inside and outside the classroom. We incorporate opportunities for every student to optimize their potential by making good choices and treating one another with respect.

9. Taekwondo

Every PCS West student can access our unique TAEKWONDO PROGRAM, which helps develop self-confidence, self-discipline and respect while providing physical fitness. Students earn belts based on our school values, and perform Taekwondo demonstrations for their peers, families, and during special events.

10. Lots of Ways to Learn

PCS West offers so many ways for students to build on their strengths – our Related Arts classes allow students to shift gears from traditional academics into classes that explore imagination and self-expression. Every student accesses a rotating schedule of classes in art, digital media, music, and PE. In addition, we take our learning outside the classroom and explore the world through engaging field trips for every grade. 

These are just some of the ways that Provident Charter West serves students with language-based learning differences in a caring school environment. Are you interested in learning more about how PCS West can be a fit for your child? Contact us and ENROLL TODAY.

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About Provident Charter West

Provident Charter West is a tuition-free brick and mortar charter school serving 1st-5th grade students with dyslexia and other language-based learning differences in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Our innovative classroom model and effective teaching techniques inspire all learners. Students are supported by a close-knit community of caring teachers, staff and engaged families in Beaver County. Join PCS West today!

Upcoming Events At Provident Charter West

Student at PCS West tuition-free 1st-5th charter school smiling and holding up two fingers in a peace sign while sitting at her desk.

It’s a busy time of year at Provident Charter West (PCS West). We are partnering with our teachers and community to offer free educational events for our 1st-5th grade students and their families. Here’s what we’re tackling:

  • Want to learn more about dyslexia? 
  • Would you like to check out the unique ways that PCS West is teaching STEAM curriculum? 
  • How about connecting with the many resources that are available to support health and wellness in our community? 

Mark your calendar and attend an upcoming event – we can’t wait to see you here!

Student at PCS West tuition-free 1st-5th charter school smiling and holding up two fingers in a peace sign while sitting at her desk.

Health & Wellness Fair

Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Time: 6:00 – 8:00 PM

Location: Provident Charter School West

Admission: Free (Appropriate for all ages)

Join us for an evening of community, fun and learning. The Health and Wellness Services Fair is an engaging and informative event dedicated to promoting overall well-being and fostering a healthy lifestyle. Held in a vibrant and welcoming atmosphere, the fair brings together a range of health professionals, wellness experts, and community members – all from Beaver County. Local vendors will be on hand to answer questions, provide healthy habit tips for the whole family, and share some fun giveaway items too!

Dyslexia Simulation

Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Time: 6:00 – 8:30 PM

Location: Provident Charter School West

Admission: Free (Limited to ages 10+)

This powerful simulation will open your eyes to the daily struggles children can experience. It starts with a brief discussion of dyslexia, including the neurological basis, demographics, warning signs, and interventions. Participants will then take part in simulated activities which mimic the experiences and processing of those with dyslexia. A variety of topics are covered including: reading, spelling, auditory processing, visual motor, and challenges with math computation. 

Presented by Provident Charter School & the Pennsylvania Branch of the International Dyslexia Association!

STEAM Night

Date: Thursday, May 16, 2024

Time: 6:00 – 8:30 PM

Location: Provident Charter School West

Admission: Free (Appropriate for all ages)

Come learn about STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math) education at PCS West! Families of all ages will be able to participate in fun and educational hands-on activities.

Our busy calendar of events welcomes the greater PCS West community to our campus to celebrate and educate.  Are you interested in learning more about how PCS West can be a fit for your child?

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About Provident Charter West

Provident Charter West is a tuition-free brick and mortar charter school serving 1st-5th grade students with dyslexia and other language-based learning differences in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Our innovative classroom model and effective teaching techniques inspire all learners. Students are supported by a close-knit community of caring teachers, staff and engaged families in Beaver County. Join PCS West today!