Smart Schools Inc. Doesn’t Hire IVL Specialists For Their Charter Schools: The Continuing Story of Dr. Steve Ingersoll

Saturday , 16, August 2014 Leave a comment

It’s that time of year when school districts advertise staff vacancies, then hire in-house because they can’t afford to put more desperately needed staff on the payroll. Some teachers issued pink slips over the summer get to breathe a sigh of relief and go back to work. Some won’t be so lucky and get to experience the joy of substitute teaching.

For charter schools, third party vendors aka management companies also advertise for staff. They usually pay less than school districts, and because they’re third party vendors the charter school won’t have to offer benefits, retirement, or health care. Still, thanks to Republicans in the state teachers find it harder than ever to find a public school able to hire them, and take the charter school job because they need to earn a paycheck.

One charter school advertising for teaching staff is North Central Academy in Mancelona. Smart Schools Inc. has 3 teaching positions available. Another vacancy NCA advertised is for Integrated Visual Learning Specialists.

Notice this job listing isn’t with the other vacancies posted by Smart Schools Inc.. This vacancy is from Facebook and suggests that the charter school hires these people directly. In fact, the contact information offered is Brian Lynch’s email address. Brian Lynch is married to the daughter of Mark Noss, the man who owns Full Spectrum Management, Grand Traverse Academy’s new third party vendor. NCA, located in Antrim County is part of Bay City Academy’s charter school constellation.

But let’s pay attention to what’s really important with this ad. Integrated Visual Learning is the vision therapy Dr. Steve Ingersoll and his business partner, Dr. Mark Noss, developed as part of their optometry practice. All of Ingersoll’s charter schools include full optometry clinics and all students get full eye exams. Students also receive IVL as part of their school curriculum because according to Ingersoll visual learning is the only method of learning that actually works. the qualifications for being an IVL Specialist include:

  • Ability to provide a high level of customer service to principal, classroom teachers, and parents.
  • Organized and detailed oriented.
  • Must be able to adhere to a consistent schedule.

An IVL Specialist apparently needs no higher qualifications than that of a high school student. There is a director and training is provided, but this still doesn’t appear to be a job requiring much background in optometry or therapy experience.

What happens during IVL sessions? There is one clue, a person who commented on a previous blog article said she attended Dr. Ingersoll’s charter school in Livingston County, and recalls staring into a green light for 30 minutes. The commenter believes the therapy helped her because she received a perfect score on her GED test and she considers herself a successful lifelong visual learner.

Dr. Ingersoll insists IVL therapy is so successful at helping students with learning that it can cure ADHD and benefits people with Autism. In a Mackinac Center blog article titled, “A Mixed Message to Children: Say “No” to Drugs, but “Yes” to Ritalin?” Dr. Ingersoll is quoted to show IVL cures 90% of students diagnosed with ADHD.

Dr. Steven Ingersoll, president of Smart Schools, Inc. in Brighton, Mich., which runs four charter schools. He says 22 percent of the students were on Ritalin when one charter began in 1996. That same year, 4th-grade students scored last in their district on the state achievement test. Three years later, less than 1 percent of the kids are on Ritalin, and 100 percent of the now 7th graders scored in the top category on state tests for reading and math.

Vague percentages aside, what does Dr. Ingersoll believe is the cause of ADHD? He goes on to say:

Ingersoll believes television has played an important role in ADHD-type behavior, but that “drugging is not what the child needs.”

So, staring at a brightly lit box causes ADHD, but staring into a green light for 30 minutes cures it? IVL continues to be an elusive mystery that several charter schools in Michigan consider the main component of their curriculum. The therapy is so important they’re willing to hire people from Facebook to provide the service.

Integrated Visual Learning however isn’t just for charter schools. It’s also part of a comprehensive chiropractic practice. More about that another time.

Anyone who has been through Dr. Ingersoll’s IVL vision therapy and willing to talk about it please send a response here.

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