Cole will be graduating from middle school in ten days. He’s spent the past nine years at CHIME, a fully inclusive charter school in the Valley, where he developed and bloomed and thrived.
It’s a place where his uniqueness is celebrated and where compassion and understanding of differences are a given, the norm. It’s a place where he’s felt safe and has been a big part of the student community from the beginning of his tenure.
We’ve accepted placement at public high school several miles from our home. Cole will have a bus pick him up from and return him back to home each school day. This of course thrills him. God forbid one of his parents should be seen pushing his chair into school.
Even at his current school, where both his dad and I have spent hours volunteering on campus, he’s eager to have us as far away from his as possible. He’s a typical teen in so many ways…
The new school is bigger than CHIME. CHIME has less than 800 students in grades K-8. His graduating class is just under 70 kids, most of whom he’s known from the start.
The high school has about 1,200 students in grades 9-12. Not bad for a LAUSD campus where most are upwards of 3,500.
The campus is relatively new, built after the introduction of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance regulations so the ramping is organic to the structures and not just an afterthought.
At a high school information night at our middle school, students from this high school pitched their school as Fame-like, or High School Musical-like, with kids singing and dancing on the quad every day at lunch time. It was a great presentation and pitch!
He will be under the guide of the special education department, and his main teacher will be a special ed. teacher but he’ll split his time between special day classes (language arts, math and adaptive phys. ed.) and inclusion in general education classes (science, health and an elective).
It feels like a good balance where he’ll have strong support where and when he needs it and great opportunities to find his place into the school community.
He toured the campus with his dad after I had done so with an LAUSD representative. They both loved it.
He met a couple of his future teachers and even took a selfie of himself with them on his Tobii (something I didn’t even know he could do! I guess taking a selfie with mom is akin to having mom on campus…not cool).
He seems so positive about moving on and about life after CHIME.
I’m excited for him to expand his horizons and to see where the next few years take him.
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