The teachers failed to address the needs of my special needs son. The school may make claims that they accommodate special needs children, but when they were actually faced with a relatively-minor challenge from my special needs son, they failed miserably.
Again, we did not have the ability to experience this, because we had to withdraw our son. We refuse to keep him in a school that doesn't want him there could risk physical harm to him by authority figures, because they don't know how to handle autistic children.
My review describes the experience of how my special needs son was mistreated. Even if your child is not special needs, do you really want to send him or her to a school that mistreats special needs children and parents this way?
They obviously don't care about "fairness" because they only want non-special kids needs enrolled. Perhaps that's how they got their rating so high.
My son is very high-functioning on the autistic spectrum. Most people cannot tell he is any different – he is very intelligent, sociable, and expressive, but he does occasionally have meltdowns. The school was aware of this, and there was some discussion with my wife of the accommodations he might receive.
The second day of school, I got a call from the dean saying, “We need you to come pick him up. We can't get him to calm down."
Having a child on the spectrum, these types of meltdowns happen occasionally, especially during stressful times, and the beginning of the school year starting kindergarten in a brand new school can be very stressful for a five year-old.
We came to learn that they had evacuated the whole classroom, then sent a police officer in to try to restrain my son, and then the principal restrained him.
They told us he was throwing desks. I can assure you my 40-pound five year-old boy is not capable of even lifting one of those desks, much less throwing them.
And why is a police officer restraining my five year-old?!! How much of a threat is a five year-old that an armed officer needs to be involved at all?
Several comments were made to my wife that were alarming. The Principal, Janet Kearney, told my wife, “I almost took a shoe to the head, and I’M NOT DOING THAT FOR ANY KID. I DON’T GET PAID ENOUGH.” Take note, CIL Parents, that’s what your Principal really thinks about your kids, and she said it directly to my wife without any hesitation. Also, she made it a point to tell my wife that I had been “rude” to her Dean when she called, but perhaps they have trouble discerning a parent’s concern for their child from rudeness.
It was obvious they were implying that they no longer want our son there. Comments were made like, “We’re not saying he shouldn’t go here, BUT…" They said everything they could to my wife to dissuade us from keeping him there without actually saying they don’t want him there, because they’re not allowed to. We don’t want our son at a school that doesn’t want him there, so we made the decision to withdraw him.
Choices in Learning does not want children who have special needs. They may have accommodations for them, but when they were actually faced with a challenge of my special needs child, their true colors showed -- they did everything in their power to get him out of the classroom and then out of their school.
The problems at this school are not with the drop off/pick up procedure as some former posts have suggested, but with the administration. Yes, there should be rules, but schools need to remain flexible to a variety of learning modes and not center all learning around a "group" approach. If you are interested in turning your child into an automaton, than this is the appropriate school. However if your child craves a bit more free expression and exploration of knowledge I would look elsewhere. There is a lot of teacher and student turnover every year and this should be a huge clue.
I whole-heartedly love and support this school. My children have attended Choices in Learning for over three years. They are excelling academically and socially, and they are looking forward to starting up the new school year again. My children love their teachers, love their classroom experience, are continually challenged and engaged. All along the way, the kids' teachers have been excellent, are attentive to the kids' individual needs, have been open and responsive to parent communication, and have always met with us whenever we've requested.
It is true: the administration runs a tight ship. However, as with any well-run organization, structure and rules are in place for the students' safety and best interest. Students are held to high standards, which is what I as a parent want of, and for, my children. There may be a small group of disgruntled parents, but in my experience, and as another reviewer wrote, these tend to be the parents who seem to want special accommodations made for their own convenience (and unfortunately, you will find those groups in every school and environment). In our experience, however, the broader Choices parent community is very friendly, positive and supportive of this school. Clearly, the parents have made a choice to have their child(ren) attend this charter school because they believe in it.
My children are very proud to be Choices in Learning students and part of this special community. The scores and results speak for themselves. We highly recommend this school!!!