Tuesday, June 10, 2014

What the Madonna School Means to Our Family

*This week’s Guest blog is by Madonna School Parent Tara Harper

Before the Madonna School

For Years, we dealt with suspensions and weekly calls from the school about our son’s behavior. I felt like my husband and I were always fighting to keep services that were supposed to be provided through the school system, including basics to his education like appropriate tools and resources to increase his language and fine motor skills. It was a battle that I honestly could not fight anymore.
The time came when we had to decide whether to send our child to a huge middle school where he would be segregated in one part of the building all day or look at schools outside our school district.

I was exhausted!

Then we had a respite provider last summer who connected us with another family whose child attended the Madonna School.

A Chance to Fit In

We toured the Madonna School and knew right away it was a place where our son could fit in. Luckily, we received a call a few weeks before school started that there was a spot available. My next call was to the Special Education Director in our school district to let her know our son was going to go to Madonna. It was the biggest relief I had felt in a very long time.

The Difference

If I could say one thing about the teachers at Madonna, it would be that they have realistic expectations of their students. Everything I heard before from teachers over the years was how my son was not acting appropriately. I will never forget one phone call where his teacher told me that he wouldn’t put back on his tennis shoes. He kept putting them outside the classroom. I was told to come pick him up, because he needed to leave for the remainder of the day. I’m not denying the fact that he did have severe behaviors – major physical and verbal aggression. However, he was also never in a positive environment or allowed to be a part of the entire school body.
But now, at the Madonna School, my son is involved in sports and the teachers provide many opportunities for the students to participate in community outings.

My son also has friends.

This is huge for our family! We are surrounded by positives in his world. Forget the weekly calls and school suspensions. Not once have I received a call this year about his behavior not being manageable. His teacher doesn’t even see the things that were written in his previous IEP. I cannot say enough good things about Madonna and what it means to our family.

Thank you to the parent who referred us to the school and Thank you to my son’s teacher for being truly amazing!

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