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What is the Sally Borden Program?

Grounded in the firm conviction that each child learns differently — that one size does not fit all — the Sally Borden Program (SBP) helps students who need a different type of learning environment realize their full potential. This reflects Friends Academy’s deeply rooted belief in the need to appropriately support each child to succeed in school.

SBP students demonstrate average to superior cognitive abilities, but may have difficulty with reading, spelling, math, written expression, and organizational and/or study skills. They are very capable, but they need a different type of environment and instruction to thrive. The Sally Borden Program is not for students with significant social communication challenges.

Small class sizes are a hallmark of the program, with no more than eight SBP students per grade. This allows faculty to personalize their literacy, math, and humanities instruction for what each student needs. In subjects including art, music, science, and physical education, as well as recess, field trips, advisory, flex and activity periods, and special events, SBP students are integrated with other students in their grade. Friends Academy offers dedicated SBP classes for grades 3-8, as well as the Bridge program for students in second grade and earlier.

The goal of the Sally Borden Program is to build successful, lifelong learners. SBP students see themselves as capable individuals who love learning, feel confident about school, believe they are going to be successful, and are optimistic about their future.

“Friends Academy has made a huge difference in helping my son understand his dyslexia and have confidence in his ability to learn.”

Parent of a Sally Borden Program student

Sally Borden Connect

For tutoring, screenings, summer programs, and Orton-Gillingham teacher trainings to support dyslexic students of all ages, please explore Sally Borden Connect.

2024-25 Sally Borden Program Enrollment Status

SBP Grade LevelCurrent Enrollment Status
Bridge (Grade 2 and earlier)Spots available!
Grade 3Spots available!
Grade 4Full (Waitlist applications accepted)
Grade 5Full (Waitlist applications accepted)
Grade 6Full (Waitlist applications accepted)
Grade 7Full (Waitlist applications accepted)
Grade 8Spots available!

Features of the Sally Borden Program

  • Small Class Sizes

    SBP enrolls no more than eight students per grade. This guarantees that each child gets the individualized instruction they need.

  • Sally Borden Program teacher working one-on-one with a student.

    Experienced, Trained Faculty

    All SBP teachers are trained in Orton-Gillingham and other multi-sensory approaches, and have experience teaching students with language-based learning differences.

  • A Sally Borden Program student practicing a literacy lesson in class.

    Literacy Instruction

    SBP students have literacy with a Learning Specialist at least three times a week. Classroom teachers use these strategies in their academic classes so students learn how to apply literacy skills.

  • A Learning Specialist teaching a literacy class for fifth grade Sally Borden Program students.

    Learning Specialists

    Friends Academy’s faculty includes three dedicated Learning Specialists, all of whom teach literacy classes to SBP students using the Orton-Gillingham method.

  • Third grade girls participating in Girls on the Run, an after-school activity.

    Integration With Traditional Students

    SBP students are integrated with all students in their grade level several times per day, including recess, specials (such as art, music, and PE), advisories, athletics, and school-wide events.

  • A Learning Specialist gives a Sally Borden Program student a mid-year assessment.

    Frequent Assessments

    At least three times a year, SBP students are assessed to monitor their progress and gauge their growth. These progress reports are shared with families. Assessments help faculty teach each student more effectively.

  • 2022 Sally Borden Program graduate at Class Day ceremony.

    Secondary School Support

    Seventh and eighth grade SBP families receive specialized support for choosing a secondary school that fits their learning needs. Some SBP alumni go on to secondary schools for students with language-based learning differences.

Meet the Sally Borden Program Team

Grades 3-8 have a dedicated Sally Borden Program classroom teacher. All SBP students also work with Learning Specialists during literacy periods.

  • Kendal Martes

    Kendal Martes

    Director of the Sally Borden Program
  • Megan Brillon, Third Grade Sally Borden Program Teacher

    Megan Brillon

    Third Grade Sally Borden Program Teacher
  • Abi DeRego

    Abi DeRego

    Third Grade Sally Borden Program Long-Term Substitute Teacher
  • Brigid Conlon, Fourth Grade Teacher

    Brigid Conlon

    Fourth Grade Sally Borden Program Teacher
  • Carla Landreth, Fifth Grade Sally Borden Program Teacher

    Carla Landreth

    Fifth Grade Sally Borden Program Teacher
  • Patty Palmer

    Patricia Palmer

    Sixth Grade Sally Borden Program Humanities Teacher
  • Jennifer Costa, Seventh Grade SBP Teacher

    Jennifer Costa

    Seventh Grade Sally Borden Program Humanities Teacher
  • Lindsey Baillargeron

    Lindsey Baillargeron

    Eighth Grade Sally Borden Program Humanities Teacher
  • Lauren Wheaton

    Lauren Wheaton

    Middle School Sally Borden Program Math Teacher
  • Merrie-Beth Cleary

    Merrie-Beth Cleary

    Learning Specialist
  • Tisha McGonigle

    Kitashia McGonigle

    Learning Specialist
  • Megan O'Brien, Learning Specialist

    Megan O’Brien

    Learning Specialist

Apply to the Sally Borden Program

If you feel that your child could be a good fit for the Sally Borden Program, please submit an inquiry or begin an application. Space in the Sally Borden Program is extremely limited, and only qualified candidates will be considered.

Sally Borden Program Curriculum

The Sally Borden Program curriculum is based in the Orton-Gillingham approach. O-G is a direct, explicit, multisensory, structured, sequential, diagnostic, and prescriptive way to teach literacy when reading, writing, and spelling does not come easily to individuals, such as those with dyslexia.


Bridge (Grade 2 and Earlier)

  • Offered in second grade and earlier, before dedicated SBP classes begin in third grade.
  • Bridge students are combined into a traditional classroom.
  • During their class’s regularly scheduled literacy period, Bridge students receive individualized, small group literacy instruction with a Learning Specialist.

Grades 3 and 4

  • Dedicated SBP classes are offered at each grade level (no more than eight students per grade).
  • SBP students receive daily literacy instruction to explicitly teach reading and spelling skills.
  • Literacy focuses on phonics, decoding, spelling, and phonemic awareness.

Grades 5-8

  • Dedicated SBP classes are offered at each grade level (no more than eight students per grade).
  • SBP students receive literacy instruction three times per week to explicitly teach reading, writing, and spelling skills.
  • Literacy focuses on reading and spelling more complex words, applying skills to writing, and building reading fluency and comprehension.

Who Was Sally Borden?

Sally Borden taught at Friends Academy for 30 years until her death from cancer in 2005. She was a beloved teacher who is remembered for her compassion for all children, and as one who embraced the notion that each child comes with a unique range of strengths and weaknesses.

Sally looked at learning differences as learning diversity. She worked with children individually to bring out the best in each. This is exactly the kind of spirit and philosophy that the Sally Borden Program embraces.