Tuesday, October 5, 2010

One Down, One to Go

Logan's school has been saved! Our neighborhood and school community came together quickly and showed the Board of Education how they felt about the Montessori school. A sigh of relief! For one moment because Ben's school must be saved too.

Here's my letter to Board of Education:

Dear School Board Member:

It has come to our attention that changes within the school system are being discussed.  The information shared through websites and the media is disconcerting. This letter is intended to express our considerable concern to the Board of Education and put forth our request to maintain O--- Elementary's current status.

We are parents of three boys, two of whom are of school age. Ben is a second grader at O--- Elementary. When it came to choose a school for Ben when he was four years old, O--- came highly recommended. We have not been disappointed. Ben is in a Special Academic Curriculum (SAC) class. Ben does not talk and uses a walker to get around.

For Ben and his classmates to thrive, a strong teaching staff with a supportive principal must be present. The teaching and administrative staff are superb, some being chosen for special education projects through UNC Charlotte. The school therapists, nurse, special education teacher and physical education teacher work with us to make decisions about the best ways for Ben to learn and grow. They are open to our suggestions and are able to make good recommendations for Ben. It is a scary feeling to put Ben on the bus and let him go away for 8 hours a day. He cannot tell us if things are not going well. We feel good putting Ben on the bus, knowing its destination is O---.  We know he is learning in creative ways. We know his teacher is knowledgeable about new teaching methods for children with special needs. We know that they care.

Although Ben does not speak, he is able to share his needs and wants fairly clearly. We know what he likes and dislikes. When Ben's bus pulls up to our door, he gets a big smile on his face. When his teacher came to his birthday party this summer, Ben attacked her at the door with so much excitement, she fell to the floor. It is obvious that Ben loves his teacher and school. He has made friends at school. When we are out and about in Charlotte, it never fails that a child will come up to us and say, "I know him, he goes to my school!"

There are over 30 children at O--- with special needs. The typical students who attend the school embrace these special differences. The school has built a strong diverse community of staff, teachers, students and parents.

We realize that the job ahead of you is difficult. Thank you for serving in the capacity that you do.

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