Photo by Amanda Simmons/Press-Tribune | Bossier Parish School Board members applaud as Denise Bankston, founder of A-Kids-Choice Foundation, was recognized during the board's Feb. 18 meeting.

Bossier Schools recently honored A-Kids-Choice founder Denise Bankston, thanking her for the educational opportunities she has provided Bossier Parish.

What started as a journey to help one student turned into helping thousands of Bossier Parish students through her foundation.

Bankston, known as DeeDee, created A-Kids-Choice in 2010. Since then, A-Kids-Choice has provided priceless educational opportunities to students in the Bossier Parish school system.

Pictured (left to right) are Sherri Poole, JT and Denise Bankston at a reception held in honor of Bankston's foundation, A-Kids-Choice.
Pictured (left to right) are Sherri Poole, JT and Denise Bankston at a reception held in honor of Bankston’s foundation, A-Kids-Choice.

Bankston’s journey began when her son, JT, was diagnosed with dyslexia and dysgraphia in the third grade. She spent 12 years searching for answers and a way to help her child achieve academic success. Bankston eventually found The Landmark School in Boston, Mass., which specializes in helping students with students with dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities (LBLD).

JT went on to graduate from The Landmark School in 2005 and obtain a college degree in 2010. Bankston returned to Bossier with a promise to help and encourage other families who may be struggling to find their answer.

Bossier educators are sent to Boston annually for training. They bring back newfound knowledge and skills to their fellow educators. Bankston also brings Ann Larsen, an instructor at Landmark School who specializes in educating children with dyslexia and learning difficulties, to Bossier for parish-wide workshops. In return, educators take back what they learn to their schools and teach their colleagues the strategies.

The ultimate goal has always been to help the students – those with or without learning differences.

It has been an incredible journey and Bossier Parish schools are seeing the results. The Landmark learning strategies have been implemented in all Bossier Parish elementary schools.

Bankston, however, is not stopping there. She is now reaching out to Bossier Parish middle schools.

“I became my son’s biggest advocate. I’m not an educator or a counselor, but I am a mother,” Bankston said. “This is about our future. These strategies work.”