Friday, 24 May 2013

A School Division Is Only As Good As Their Weakest Teachers

Dayton has started a new school starting April 1st.  We now live in the Seven Oaks School Division, and all I can say is WOW!!!

I'm not really sure what the deal is, it's either
a.)  they know Mike (with 5 kids, 3 on the autism spectrum, everyone knows Mike...  During Dayton's transition to another school meeting, everyone from the Seven Oaks School Division as well as the principal from the school Dayton will be attending in his middle years said "oh yes, we know the family well," and smiled a warm welcome; or
b.)  they're amazingly awesome!!!

Either way, I'm tickled pink.  Dayton's having really great days at school, coming home happy and smiling and when it's his turn at the dinner table to tell us about his favorite part of the day, he tells us "everything about today was awesome!"  I LOVE IT!!!

Dayton LOVES his teacher.  The relaxed atmosphere and laid back disposition of the school principal and his staff is so much different than what we've experienced in the past with school division 1, Louis Riel and school division 2.  Dayton is thriving, and actually LEARNING!  I'm absolutely amazed!  The last school Dayton attended physically removed him from Social Studies as they didn't think Dayton would understand the subject and worked on his IEP goals, and this new school includes him, and he's LEARNING!!!

For example, during dinner time, I ask all of the kids to tell me about their favorite part of the day, as well as what they've learned 'today' they didn't know 'yesterday.'  Dayton starts telling me about the talking circle he learned about at social studies.  "Momma, did you know how the talking circle started?"  I'm dumbfounded.  What the heck is a talking circle, but rather than looking dumb and admitting to my son that I had no clue  what he was talking about (although I think my chin dropping to the kitchen table didn't help in convincing him otherwise), I just asked him to explain what he learned.  "When there was an 'issue' (holy crap, my son said issue...) or a problem, people would gather (yes, he used the word gather!!!) around in a circle, sit down and talk about it and come up with ideas how to fix the problem."
"Wow Dayton, that's great!"
"I know!"

On another occasion, Mr. Dayton was writing out math questions and answering them!!!  No joke, true story!  I was especially blown away when he came to me with his notebook and asked me to write a few math questions, especially some subtraction questions, which he wasn't able to do without manipulations in the past.  Not only did he answer them correctly, but he solved them in his head or used his fingers!

I have received ZERO phone calls from Dayton's new school about bad behavior.  In fact, after a rather difficult counseling session in which Dayton had a major meltdown about his biological father hurting him by lying to him a few times (I really wish Dayton would move past this issue with his dad...  I keep trying to explain to him that forgiving his dad would actually help him too, not just his dad, but he won't listen to me), I stopped to speak to the principal.  Explaining to him that Dayton may have a rough day at school and that he can call me on my cell phone if I wasn't home as I had the day off, he told me that they already have a game plan for Dayton that's worked for Dayton and not to worry.  "A game plan?  You mean he's had rough days?"
"I wouldn't call them rough, but he's had to leave the class room to settle down, and it's been dealt with here and I didn't think you needed to worry about it.  We're more than happy to help him when he needs it, and he's more than happy to comply with our game plan."

Say what?  Have I walked through some twilight zone?  WOW!!!

Dayton has also learned how to cook as he likes to watch his teacher cook breakfast in the morning??? This is no joke - the boy is so good at cooking that he is now in charge of cooking our Saturday morning breakfast!  The whole family looks forward to Saturday morning breakfast by Dayton, but I refuse to give up our Sunday morning french toast...  That's my time!

A mother's treasure are her children.  They are the gleam in her eye, the beat of her heart and the warmth of her breath.  To her, they are her everything, and seeing all my kids go to school where they are truly including all of my babies, not just cosmetically, but genuinely including them, is the best feeling of all.  My babies are being treated with respect and dignity.  They are happy, and that's all that matters to this proud momma.

Unfortunately, it's taken me six years to get here, to finally find a school division I can trust with my babies.  We are not all this fortunate.  Stay tuned for my next blog piece about a father and his two sons, coming from another school division where the school actually had police waiting for him to come and pick up his children, and an officer escort them out of the school...

In the mean time, consider yourselves hugged,