|Evie's teacher helping her make wool into a ball on a field trip.|
I know a good school can be hard to find, and I know that a good school for a student with special needs can be even harder. I'm convinced that in this school district, Evie would have been blessed to have been educated in every school; from the Early Learning Center all the way to the High School.
I appreciated the schools, the teachers, the teacher's aides, and the staff even before I started working in the district. However, once I started working in the schools; sitting in the classrooms with students, participating in some of the problem-solving and planning that is required to best serve the students; that's when I fell in love with the school district. I started to see how complicated a single day can be for students and staff; and how hard the employees work to make the day be as seamless as possible for each student.
A great school isn't a school that is without problems or challenges. A great school is reflective and evaluative and constantly strives to be better. A great school is a school that is aware of it's strengths AND weaknesses, and will soar with it's strengths and continue to improve in it's areas of weakness. The schools here are definitely GREAT schools.We haven't gone these 6 years here without an issue at school. But, whenever we DID have an issue, I knew that I could call or e-mail and I would get a prompt response and a slew of people who wanted to help fix whatever was wrong.
One area that I see as a strength here in our schools is how they include the children with special needs and nurture and grow the relationships of the "typical" children with those of the children with special needs.
As a parent of a child who has a number of disabilities, my greatest fear isn't that she won't get a job, or won't go to college...my greatest fear is that she won't have friends.However, the first reaction Evie had to me telling her that we are moving to Reno was, "Oh...oh no...I will miss my friends so much." That made my heart swell and my eyes WELL with tears. Her first thoughts were of her FRIENDS. Hallelujah, thank you, Lord...
Then I had to tell her teachers...That was heart-breaking, because I got to hear things like, "Her smile in the morning reminds me of why I became a teacher," "She is our ray of sunshine," and "We like look for an excuse to visit with Evie." It was not going to be easy on them to hear that she's not just not moving on to the next school in the district, she's actually moving hundreds of miles away.
I know that we have all shed many tears, (many of her friends' moms told me their children cried when they said Evie was moving *insert sad-face here* ), and I know we'll shed many more. I thank God that we were able to start our journey with Evie here though. What a beautiful way to see the best in people; as they support, love and celebrate our special girl.
Education is not filling a bucket, but lighting a fire. William Butler YeatsThank you, to all her teachers, therapists, aides and friends; thank you for lighting a fire in Evie, and a fire in the hearts of her friends...