About 2 years ago I was asked to serve on a board of a new charter school. At the time it was just an idea. A small group of parents, a teacher, an architect, a lawyer and me. We were headed by a fearless RDI mom who wanted to see her boys in a place where they were valued, challenged and actively learning through the remainder of their high school careers. Personally, I wanted to make a difference in the lives of the families I am dedicated to serving. I felt like through Pathways I can impact relationships within families in a positive way. But at some point, a bigger community of teachers and peers comes into play in guiding the development of every person. I was not satisfied with the stories I was hearing from parents and teachers about how things were going at school. Not so many positive relationships were being forged. Teachers talked about being restrained in what and how they could guide their students. Many parents I know felt they needed to pull their child from the public schools and either pay for private school or homeschool their children. While both of these options are good for some, they are not realistic for all. And so the idea of a free, public school where students are accepted, valued and challenged really was something I wanted to support.
Honestly, I did not know what to expect, but I believe that is how life is. You don’t know what to expect along the way, but you have a goal and you work hard to make it happen. Believe me, the work was hard. And the unexpected Dragons we met on the journey were not always kind. Every person I know who was a part of this journey was working outside of their comfort zone, stretched and stressed in way I could not have imagined. I’ve never seen a group of volunteers try so hard, sacrifice so much time and give so much. The paperwork, the fundraising, the certificates of occupancy, the staffing, the endless meetings and getting by on almost nothing sometimes made it feel like an impossible dream. But in August, 2014 the doors to Dynamic Community Charter School opened. In a building scrubbed and painted by parents, grandparents, therapists and students. With a Principal who worked many months for free. Staffed by brave, and in my opinion, under-paid teachers and aides who were up for the challenge. Serviced by hopeful parents who had years of difficult experience with other schools giving us their most precious children.
Most importantly, DCCS opened its doors to the students. Those brave kids whose bodies and brains are different than average. Whose experience has been difficult. Who might need to learn in a way other schools cannot teach. They need more time to process. They learn by doing. They express themselves in unique ways. But different is not less. In fact, different only adds to our collective knowledge. It makes this world a richer place. These students have a place where their uniqueness is understood and valued. Friendships are forming. Individual needs are being respected. The beginnings of self-regulation in small groups is occurring. And the community of teachers, families, and students will get through the hard work to come. Together.
Please become a part of this community by donating or volunteering. www.dynamiccommuntycs.com