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Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Fresh Start

This past week has been a busy one. My son and I attended an intake meeting with the school coordinator at a new school, and toured the facilities. I must say I'm rather impressed with what I saw.

There are just over 100 students in the school, from grades seven to twelve, with the average classroom size being 10 to 15 students per class, with 3 adults (one teacher, one TA and one counselor,) in each class. The school also introduces itself as a family instead of a school, which appeals to kids like mine. The school caters to kids who don't fit in the regular school system, or have been in trouble, making it appear to be a good fit for my son.

After speaking with the coordinator, who is also filling the Vice Principal position, I feel relieved and confident that my son will do well there. There is a bus system, plus a lunch program - meals are prepared on the premises - and not only do they prepare lunches, they also serve breakfast. There is a small 'shop' where woodworking and mechanical work are done, a small weight room, music room and gymnasium along with the regular classrooms. There is also a counseling room (should it become necessary) and several counselors available throughout the day.

Because the size of the school is much smaller than regular schools, the staff is better able to assist with students who are having troubles - not understanding, not willing to participate, not willing to work, etc. The students are allowed to listen to music and stand at their desks if that is what helps them to complete the work. Their curriculum is also tailored to their individual needs and strengths, to better facilitate their willingness and ability to learn.

The school also runs a five week long summer day camp from Monday to Thursday each week that provides some academics as well as activities and field trips. The coordinator suggested (as he does with each new registration) that my son attend as this will help the staff to tailor his schooling and get him used to the school, meet some of the students, and settle in.

Overall, I'm pleased and hopeful this next year will be more productive for my son, both with academics and social interaction. He is already looking forward to summer day camp and attending regular classes there. Now if we can just keep his interest....