At Morrison School we understand that not all children learn the same way. It's a fact that parents must face daily. While this blog entry is a bit different than our previous ones, we wanted to let other parents know just what this family experienced and how their son's life changed during his time at Morrison School. We hope that reading about this family's journey will give your family hope that there is an alternative for children with learning differences right here at Morrison School. Here is their experience.
I wanted to email to let you know of a recent “success” for Dakota. I know it has been a few years since Dakota attended Morrison School but the lessons (and I don’t just mean academic lessons) that he learned while he was there, I believe are directly related to his recent success.
Let’s not forget where Dakota started. He came to Morrison School in 7th grade after being diagnosed with a writing disability and significant problems with ADHD. These problems, prior to being diagnosed, had caused him much angst in public school, to the point that he had zero self-confidence and believed he was just “dumb” and “lazy” as he was told by his fifth grade public school teacher. He was so introverted and bashful it was difficult to carry on a conversation with him at times.
Morrison School was also very trying for him, as the expectations were great, but so was the love and attention he garnered from you, the teachers and Ms. Barker. I’ll never forget the first writing assignment he was given where he could only write two sentences for a story he was asked to write and then began hitting himself in the head saying the story was “in there” he just couldn’t get it out and definitely couldn’t write it down. After he learned keyboarding we all celebrated with him as he was able to not just get the story composed but finally on paper, at first a half page and by the end of 7th grade a two page paper.
During his time at your school he also became so much more self-confident, learning that, yes, his brain was different than others, but he was by no means dumb or lazy. He was taught that it was okay to voice his opinion and that others were interested in what he had to say. He was taught the value of spirited debate and the joy of teaching his classmates a subject that he found very interesting. It was a major accomplishment compared to the young boy who had begun the school year standing behind my back while I talked to you. In my mind, he was beginning a very important transformation all because of the tough love, the kind love and the attention and instruction you all had given him.
I know Dakota moved on to another private school after Morrison, probably before he was truly ready, but he was so determined to play football, the sport he loved, that we agreed to let him try the new school so that he could be in athletics. Well, he is just about to finish his 11th grade year. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been easy, he still struggles with being organized and getting assignments turned in on time but has gradually gotten better at these tasks.
However, just yesterday we were notified by the school that a few weeks ago the 11th grade students were asked to complete the TCAP writing assessment. The students sat down, were handed a sheet of paper and only then were they given a topic, to write a persuasive essay about, that needed to be six pages in length. Dakota called me yesterday and he was so excited, I could hear it in his voice. His English teacher had announced that there were two perfect scores in the entire 11th grade class on this assignment that had been graded by the state of Tennessee. Dakota was one of them. Wow! It was awesome to hear the sense of accomplishment in his voice. Even though it has been about three years since he attended Morrison, I know in my heart my child would not and could not have accomplished this task without the instruction, motivation, guidance and counseling you provided him while he was with you at Morrison School. He readily admits that even though Morrison School was difficult and challenging, he is a better student and person for having attended there.
I don’t know how to thank you for what you did for him. It was so much more than educating him. You showed him what he was capable of, even though he didn’t really see it at the time. It was a transformational year for him and he is so much better off for knowing and learning from you, Ms. Barker and your teachers. Please keep up the good work! Sometimes you don’t see the fruit of your labor until much later but as for me and my family, we are true believers in what you do and what you stand for at Morrison School.
Thank you and God Bless,