On the way to Chloe’s psychiatrist appointment the other day, she said to me, “Mom, we need to leave Dr. Brown’s office by 12:15. We’re starting a new science segment today and I don’t want to be late and fall behind.” This may seem like a trivial statement to some but for Chloe, it’s monumental!
Two years ago, Jeff and I literally thought we’d NEVER see the day that Chloe would take accountability for her school. Not because she didn’t want to but because she was so consumed with anxiety, depression and lack of support at her school, she simply couldn’t.
During sixth grade, Chloe made it to school maybe two months total that year. If I tried to get her to school, she would hide under the bed rocking back and forth crying hysterically. To make matters more challenging, it wasn’t until we hired an attorney that our school district finally provided a home bound tutor. I remember the district’s administrator telling us during a meeting that the reason Chloe wasn’t eligible for a tutor was because she didn’t have a “physical” injury or disability that prevented her from getting to school. To this day, I remember Jeff looking that administrator straight in the eye and calmly saying, “Last I checked, the brain IS physically part of the human body.”
I give a lot of credit not only to Chloe for her growth and progress but to her school Armadillo Technical Institute. They do things a little differently there. First, about 60% of their students are on individualized educational plans, which means they struggle in one way or another developmentally or emotionally. The class sizes average 15-20 students and the teachers are given strategies on how to work with kids who struggle. They also have counselors who are scheduled at the school every week so kids have someone to talk to, if necessary.
Most of the students who attend Armadillo didn’t feel successful at a traditional school. Whether it was due to bullying, not receiving adequate support for a disability or just feeling overwhelmed in large classes, students thrive in Armadillo’s innovative and more progressive approach. In fact, Chloe now brags that she LOVES her school and recommends other kids transfer there. Again, something Jeff and I thought we’d NEVER hear!