About Us

We are a nonprofit organization dedicated to learning for all as we recognize that all great minds don't think alike.


Meet Our Team

Meet our professional staff of diagnosticians and instructors versed in a wide range of disciplines.


Success Stories

Read stories and testimonials about learners of all ages who found academic and social success at the Stern Center.


Course Calendar

Join our knowledgeable and experienced staff in learning research-proven strategies in the areas of literacy, social cognition, math, and more.


Courses & Workshops

Browse our entire collection of Professional Learning offerings. Find a course for yourself or design a customized remedial program for your school/district.



Discover the program that teaches early care and education providers as well as parents how to foster early literacy skills in children ages five and under.


Research, Publications, and Presentations

Early Care and Education Program

BUILDING BLOCKS FOR LITERACY® offers early care and education providers and parents effective PLAY-based strategies to increase early literacy skills. Based on research from the National Research Council and the 2008 National Early Literacy Panel, BUILDING BLOCKS trainings support professionals as they work with children ages birth to five to help them become successful literacy learners. The chart below shows remarkable early literacy gains made by target children (blue) whose early care professional participated in a 6-month BUILDING BLOCKS training and mentorship. In all cases, pre- to post- test results are statistically significant. Conversely, control children (red), whose providers did not participate, show essentially no gains in literacy over six months. Further study has shown a greater proportion of target children moving from below average literacy categories to average or better compared to controls. Finally, at the end of six months, target children demonstrate literacy skills that exceed national norm expectation whereas control children do not. Graph of Student Outcomes after teachers receive Building Blocks trainings The following bar graphs highlight the remarkable impact the BUILDING BLOCKS program has on early care professionals, showing impressive gains in teachers’ knowledge of early literacy as a result of a 6-hour BUILDING BLOCKS training. All of the improvements here are statistically significant and studies of teacher knowledge over six-month mentorships confirm that knowledge gains hold.Graph demonstrating Teacher knowledge before and after training

Professional Learning

Current research indicates that extending the knowledge of teachers leads directly to increased student success. Our Professional Learning programs offered through the Cynthia K. Hoehl Institute for Excellence (CKHIE), provide opportunities for individual educators, school teams and/or whole districts to extend their expertise to improve student outcomes.

School teams and districts have taken advantage of our Partners in Excellence program.

To learn more about our courses and workshops, we encourage you to review our course catalog.

Orange North Supervisory Union (ONSU) Results

Four-year plan with Orange North Supervisory Union

ONSU has been involved in a remarkable four-year training that included:

2013-14: Year 1

School Improvement Coaching 

2014-15: Year 2

Tž-I-žM-žE for Teachers™ 

2015-16: Year 3

Orton-Gillingham Classroom Educator training with school year long practicum

2016-17: Year 4

Orton-Gillingham Classroom Educator training for new teachers and those new to the school as well as Orton-Gillingham Associate Level training for advanced special educators and classroom educators

Results from the 2015-16 school year to the 2016-17 school year show evidence of growth in students’ foundational and reading comprehension skills across grades and schools.

Current trends, using the district’s local assessment tool TRACK MY PROGRESS, show strong growth in reading from fall to spring/summer 2015-16, with gains maintained, if not enhanced, over the summer into the 2016-17 school year (a time when most students regress). This is likely due to summer services provided by district interventionists who had been trained in structured literacy by Stern Center staff over the past four years. School leaders attribute this achievement to their collaborations with the Stern Center, which led to their new structured literacy model. District leaders are immensely impressed:

“Since implementation, more students each year are meeting targets on Universal Assessments in the area of foundational skills. For example, 72% of first grade students met or exceeded the Foundational Skills target on Universal Assessments in December, and the group is on track to meet the district goal of 80%.” ~ Michaela Martin, Co-Director of School Transformation “The Stern Center is a dynamic organization, always on the cutting edge, maximizing learning outcomes for kids.” ~ Ed Nasta, Co-Director of School Transformation “Our students’ phonemic awareness and understanding of language is amazing. Our instructional language is consistent and precise, and our teachers’ confidence has never been greater.” ~ Jamie Kinnarney, Principal Williamstown Elementary School

Evaluation Services for Children and Adults


  • 271 of evaluations conducted during the 2015-16 year
  • 57% were males;43% were female
  • Average grade=5th (range K-12th)
  • Age range 5 to 67 years
  • 67% of children attended public school
  • 27% were on IEPs at school
  • 20% were on 504s at school
  • 35% referred by a parent
  • 27% referred by the school
  • 9% were referred by a physician

Diagnosis of Adults and Children after EvaluationLearning Evaluation Result - Helping all learners succeedComments

  • The evaluation was eye-opening
  • We were very happy with the whole process!
  • The evaluation gave me confidence to pursue my studies further
  • The evaluation/testing results gave our son confidence in his skills and optimism about his future

Download the full report | PDF

Instruction Services for Children


  • Provided instruction to 440 students during the 2015‐16 year
  • Students had been attending Stern Center for 3 years on average (range of 1‐10)
  • 30% had been previously evaluated (at Stern Center or other)
  • Clients generally seen for reading, writing, spelling, math, study skills, and homework support

The Diversity of Children Coming for Instruction Diversity of Children attending Stern Center TutoringInstruction Outcomes Stern Center instruction is highly individualized and thus progress assessment is customized to each student. This allows for superb progress monitoring but makes collecting aggregate data difficult. Testing annually has shown patterns of statistically significant growth in the following areas:

  • Spelling
  • Phonological awareness
  • Sound symbol knowledge
  • Sight word efficiency
  • Phonemic decoding
  • Reading real, nonsense, and sight words
  • Letter and word identification
  • Word attack
  • Passage comprehension
  • and more…

Download the full report | PDF

Social Thinking® Children’s Group - Communication Services

Age Range 5 to 15 years Goal of Program Children attend 50 minute group sessions 1/week to help them:

  • Learn to initiate social relationships
  • Understand others’ perspectives
  • Successfully navigate social experiences in multiple contexts

Parents noted positive gains in their child:

  • Spontaneously talking about what others are feeling or thinking
  • Estimating what others are thinking/feeling
  • Getting the “big picture” in social situations
  • Predicting what will happen “next” in a social situation
  • Seeking information on their own

What parents are saying

“Parents learn good prompt/language to use at home thru the observations.” “The program really boosted his self‐esteem…” “… gave him practical tools he uses in everyday interactions.”

Download the full report | PDF

Social Communication Adult Group - Communication Services

Age Range 18 to 42 years Goal of Program: Adults attend 60 minute group sessions 1/week to help them:

  • Increase their ability to interact with others
  • Read non‐verbal communication
  • Increase social comfort and gain lasting friendships

What participants are saying

“I liked meeting people who have similar social issues.” “I liked the instructor and how she treated me like an adult…” “It was nice learning about different situations and ways to deal with them.”

Download the full report | PDF

Stern Center Publications and Presentations

  1. What is Evidence-Based? Podhajski, B. (2017). Academy News, Summer/Fall 2017, 6-7. 

  2. Promoting Early Literacy through Professional Development for Early Childhood Professionals: A Cost and Time Efficient Model that Works!Nathan, J. & Podhajski, B. (2017).  (In Submission). 
  3. Teaching Listening Comprehension. Podhajski, B. (2016). Perspectives on Language and Literacy,42(3), 43-48. 
  4. Early Years: An International Journal of Research and Development Lane, C., Surges-Prokop, M.J., Johnson, E., Podhajski, B., & Nathan, J. (2014). 
  5. Promoting Early Literacy through the Professional Development of Preschool Teachers. 34 (1), 67-80. Published online August 19, 2013. 
  6. First Year Cohort Achieves Success for AllJanna Osman, M.Ed., Program Director for Professional Learning and Director of the Orton-Gillingham Institute, and Jane Nathan, Ph.D., Research Director, (2012).  Academy News. Winter/Spring 2012.
  7. Critical issues in response-to-intervention, comprehensive evaluation, and specific learning disabilities identification and intervention: An expert white paper consensus, Hale, J., …Podhajski, B., … et al. (2010). LDA White Paper. Learning Disability Quarterly. 33 (3), 223-236. 
  8. Oral and written language influences on academic and social functioning: A whole child approach, Podhajski, B., and Ingram, F. (2010). In N. Mather & L.E. Jaffe (Eds.), Comprehensive evaluations: Case reports for psychologists, diagnosticians, and special educators. New York: John Wiley & Sons. (2010). 
  9. Professional development in scientifically based reading instruction: Teacher knowledge and reading outcomes, Podhajski, B., Mather, N., Nathan, J., & Sammons, J. (Sept/Oct 2009). Journal of Learning Disabilities, 42 (5), 403-417.
  10. A pathway to reading success: building blocks for literacy, Podhajski, B. & Nathan, J. (November 2005). New England Reading Association Journal, 41 (2), 24-27. 
  11. Promoting early literacy through professional development for childcare providers, Podhajski, B. & Nathan, J. (2005). Early Education and Development Journal, 16 (1), 23-41. 
  12. The Reluctant Reader, Podhajski, B. (Fall 2002). Children’s Literacy Foundation Newsletter
  13. Teaching reading and books on tape, Podhajski, B. (2000). LD OnLine.  (http://www.ldonline.com/). 
  14. Perceptions and knowledge of preservice and inservice educators about early reading instruction , Bos, C., Mather, N., Dickson, S., Podhajski, B., Chard, D. (2001). Annals of Dyslexia, 51, 97-120. 
  15. T-I-M-E for Teachers: A model professional development to increase early literacy, Podhajski, B.  (2000). Their World, 25-37. 
  16. Helping teachers to help children learn to read, Podhajski, B. (1999, Spring). LD Matters, Schwab Foundation for Learning Newsletter. 
  17. T-I-M-E for Teachers – What teachers need to know about what children need to know to learn to read: A trainer’s manual for professional development of K-3 educators, Podhajski, B. (1999) (1st ed.) Williston, VT: Stern Center for Language and Learning. 
  18. The sounds abound program: Teaching phonological awareness in the classroom, Podhajski, B. & Lenchner, O. (1998). East Moline, IL: LinguiSystems.
  19. Phonological awareness: An overview, Podhajski, B. (1998, Spring). Linkages: Phonological Awareness Newsletter, National Adult Literacy and Learning Disabilities Center. 
  20. Professional development in learning disabilities for adult literacy providers, Podhajski, B. (1998). In S. A. Vogel & S. Reder (Eds.), Learning disabilities, literacy and adult education (pp. 199-212). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. 
  21. Family literacy and learning disabilities: Shared opportunities and challenges, Podhajski, B. (1996, Spring). Linkages: Phonological Awareness Newsletter, National Adult Literacy and Learning Disabilities Center. 
  22. Reading for sale, Podhajski, B. (1994, Winter). Vermont Council on the Humanities Newsletter.

  23. Diagnosis and remediation of learning disabilities, Lyon, G. R., & Podhajski, B. R. (1985). Neurology and Neurosurgery Update Series, 6 (2), 2-8.
  24. Neurology and related language disorders in children: A guide for school personnel, Gomez, A. J., & Podhajski, B. R., Eds. (1978). Middlebury, VT: Addison Press.

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I liked the high level of knowledge and experience that the instructor of my Professional Learning course had. She exuded a very comfortable combination of professionalism, experience, and accessibility

- Social Cognition 1 Attendee and Educator