Over the years while exercising school choice for my children, I have heard a lot of fallacies about school choice. One example is the false narrative that all charter and private schools do not accept students with special needs. Even worse, if they do have children with special needs, there is a belief that they do not have the tools to give them the help they need to be successful.
Spring of 2020 my youngest son, who has ADHD, was completing his second semester of 7th grade in the middle of a pandemic. Life and school in particular can be challenging for a person with ADHD and the pandemic just put another obstacle in his path.
I think I have mentioned before that one of my parenting hacks is having my children participate in Center for Leadership Development programs, and attending the sessions for parents. Last spring, during one of those parent sessions about applying for high school scholarships, the facilitator suggested visiting high schools early. That is exactly what we did.
Truthfully, I went in thinking that my son would probably not be accepted to any of the Center for Leadership Development private school partners. I thought to myself even if he did, it would be a disaster because he might not have the tools he needed to be successful.
I want the best for my son, so I was upfront during each communication. “My son has ADHD do you have any programs in place for students like him?” I would go on to say how fifth and sixth grade were a struggle for him as we worked to find the correct accommodations both at home and school for him. I would also go on to say he did not always test well and struggles in math. Each time the answer was, “Yes we absolutely do.”
We went through the admission process for each high schoo,l and to my surprise, with his ADHD diagnosis documented in the applications and a transcript that is shaky, we began to receive acceptance letters from arguably some of the best schools in the city.
Currently, we are in the process of deciding where he will spend his next four years. School choice is going to allow us to choose a school that works best for our family, even with a child who will need additional supports.