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The Laurel School5
Posted January 21, 2014
- a parent
Our journey to The Laurel School took us through some of the best schools in the San Francisco Bay Area. We learned through years of painful trial and error that most schools aren t equipped to support bright kids with learning differences, although they often insist they are. Laurel, by contrast, provides an environment where children learn through a focus on their strengths and as a result, they thrive! Laurel leverages the Schools Attuned learning model. The school environment supports children s differences and helps build skills and necessary strategies to be successful. In a relatively short time, we ve seen our son go from an anxious withdrawn adolescent to a thriving young man who s growing in confidence, enjoys socializing, and really likes going to school. Math has gone from his least favorite to his favorite subject and he s now working at a level above his grade. It s amazing to see what happens when you provide children with a supportive environment, small class sizes and innovative, progressive teaching methods. We credit Laurel s leadership, including the head of school Hal Hensler, who is rebuilding and implementing a positive vision to help children thrive.
We found The Laurel School after careful consideration. We visited and considered at least 10 other middle schools but found The Laurel School best positioned to handle our academically gifted yet socially challenged child. Head of School Hal Hensler has done a great job of identifying and executing on a vision of building a thriving school that can continue to grow. The Laurel School maintains an educational and developmental focus while getting students ready to mature and prepared for high school and beyond. I was a product of San Francisco public schools and am committed to making them work. But, for my child The Laurel School a great learning environment.
My son Andy is moving into the First Grade after an absolutely amazing Kindergarten year. He has become an amazingly social, well rounded child under Laurel's tender, loving care. He is now a social butterfly and very popular! This is a big change from the kid who started there. He really has a big personality now too. His teachers have been amazing! The principle really makes himself available to families and gets to know every child personally. The kids actually enjoy going to the principles office! As a parent, i am so grateful to this school and all it has done. They do individualized curriculum for every child and they do it very well. I adore this school!
The Laurel School occupies a niche all its own, as the only K-8 private school in San Francisco for kids with learning differences. The small class sizes and individual attention make an incredible difference for children who would be lost in a larger public or parochial setting. Weekly drama classes and the annual musical have given my child terrific self-confidence, and a love of performance and making people laugh. We have been at the school for 7 years, and can attest to its fantastic program.
I am a grandmother of a six year old who attended kindergarten from September until Wed. June 5,2013. A week and a half before the end of the school year. My grandson has neurological issues that intererfere at times with his emotional control. We were insured by Hal Hensler the principal prior to admission that that they could handle this- We told him verbally and in writing what the issues were. On Wednesday my six year old was permanently suspended from the school which he loved. He was not allowed to clean out his cubby, say goodbye to his classmates or the teacher whom he adored. THIS SIX YEAR OLD HAS A BROKEN HEART. HE DOESNT UNDERSTAND WHY HE CAN'T GO BACK AND OTHERS CAN AND WANTS TO KNOW IF THEY WILL GIVE HIM A GOING AWAY PARTY. Anyone who has any idea how to deal with children would have worked with us to come up with a plan so this little boy could maintain his dignity and have some closure on his year experience. We would have paid for a sitter or done it ourselves. The principal Hal Hensler behaved in a very brutal, uncaring, ABUSIVE way to a six year old. . HE BROKE HIS HEART( and mine too) THE LAUREL SCHOOL HAS TOTALLY FAILED MY GRANSDSON AND OUR FAMILY.
I recently spoke with the Head of School and The Laurel School has applied for accreditation through the California Association of Independent Schools in conjunction with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and should be conducting the accreditation procedures in the spring of 2013. Also, I have been told that all of Laurel's core teachers have special education degrees or have worked with special needs students for many years!
My son has been a student at Laurel for 5 years, and our family's experience has been wonderful. The caring and dedicated teachers go the extra mile to work with kids that have different learning challenges and styles. In addition to teaching a curriculum in line with state standards, Laurel provides daily PE and weekly drama, movement and art classes for the kids. Laurel is a godsend for parents seeking a supportive school and community for their child.
The Laurel School could be a dream school for parents and teachers looking for a school that is geared toward students with various learning differences. Unfortunately the school is not accredited, and the administration and many of the teachers do not have the appropriate credentials. For the price of tuition at The Laurel School there are plenty of other schools in the Bay Area with state of the art technology, differentiation of the lessons, and teachers with credentials.
Our son attended Kindergarten at a progressive SF private school that we hoped would meet his educational needs. That school meant well, and welcomed a variety of supports we put in place, but just wasn t set up to meet his needs. He wasn t participating much with the class, he was standing out as somehow different, and we could see that it was beginning to affect how he saw himself as a student and among his peers. It became clear that he needed a school with more built-in supports and with experience teaching children who, for whatever reason, need something extra. Now at Laurel for 1st grade, everything about this school has made a difference, including the much smaller class size. Our son is now participating academically and is feeling like a successful student. He feels a greater sense of belonging, and we now feel at ease dropping him off every morning.
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