Included in the school choice stories on Education Post is Dashaun Robinson’s story how he failed in neighborhood schools, until he “found a small charter school in Providence, Rhode Island, and became a 10th grader, again, at the age of 18.” He’s now a sophomore at Rhode Island College.
Blackstone Valley Prep, a charter school in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, created a very small, supportive class to serve their son and other disabled students, write Kevin Sims and Krystal Vasquez. Despite his epilepsy, anxiety and adjustment disorder, he “loves learning” and performs at grade level.
Kim Wilborn, an eighth-grader, credits Perspectives Charter School in Chicago for turning her into a straight-A student who’s forgiven her drug-addicted mother and taken her first steps on “a path to a brighter future.”
In elementary school, she “ran with a bad crowd,” she writes. There was no homework. When she started Perspectives in sixth grade, she “didn’t know multiplication or division,” only how to punch numbers in a calculator. She got extra help to catch up in math.
In an ethics class called A Disciplined Life, she learning about taking responsibility — and forgiveness.
Even though he was in prison for 27 years, Nelson Mandela forgave the people who put him in there. He had dinner with one of his prison guards. He had lunch with the man who wanted him to get the death penalty. He was not bitter.
I didn’t want to be, either.
She’s learned how to push herself to overcome challenges. Almost 200 pounds in sixth grade, she was encouraged to join the track team. “You have to keep going,” the coach told her. “When your legs get tired, you have to start running with your heart.”
I’ve lost a lot of weight since then. I have the willpower to keep going no matter how hard it gets.
. . . I get lots of homework now but it’s like when I started track: the more I’m used to it, the more I can do.
Gabby Dixon, a Perspectives high school student, likes the “small size and personal relationships.”
Her AP Literature is reading Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man.
Sometimes I really have to sit down with my teacher to understand it — there’s so much going on in the text. What’s great is he told us it’s OK not to understand something right away. It’s OK to wrestle with a text. It’s OK to be vulnerable and open. That’s the best way you get to learn.
She’s also a big fan of A Disciplined Life.