We recognize that there is no one path to success or a magic potion that transforms difficult challenges into satisfying conclusions. Every student finds their own particular set of obstacles require a specific set of solutions. At Parkmont, we have always seen our mission as providing an environment of encouragement and exploration, helping our students find their own way to develop strategies and skills that work for them. While most stories often begin with a depressingly familiar set of circumstances, these composite examples demonstrate that each success has its own novel arc.
Prior to coming to Parkmont, Tanya had had been lost in the shuffle at her very large public school. Though the school had failed to notice that she had fallen behind three grade levels in reading, her mother discovered the deficit, and sought out Parkmont. Here, she participated in a program called "Read Naturally," which works with kids individually for 1 1/2 hours, 3 times per week. After one year, she was reading at her grade level; in two years, she gained the equivalent of five years of reading experience. Additionally, Tanya had previously been experiencing emotional difficulties and once at Parkmont received therapy on-site free with our George Washington University grad students.
Bastien was failing out of school because he was too much of a perfectionist. His severe worries and self-criticism paralyzed him at school. As a result, he lacked confidence, stopped turning in his work, and as a consequence, his gift for writing went unnoticed. His parents found Parkmont and once there, his teachers did not give up on him but rather stuck with him until he turned in his work, and complimented him for doing so. Since the same teachers have worked with Bastien for years at Parkmont, they can individualize his assignments to cultivate and challenge his writing. If he happens to fall behind, Bastien makes use of Parkmont's Last-Day-of the Session, held 5 times per year, during which students spend the day catching up on work. And his writing is flourishing.
Trey is a funny, friendly boy with such strong social skills that his serious learning disabilities in writing, reading, and comprehension were largely masked as he was moved from school to school for two years. Once tested at Parkmont, his challenges were revealed and we learned he was five years behind in comprehension and skills. Parkmont teachers started him on a proscribed homework ritual so he could learn to get his work done daily. He is in our study skills program, works every day with his advisor, and is now close to grade-level, aware of his challenges, and making steady progress after only one year.
Thomas is now in his 3rd year at Parkmont. When he arrived he had an academic record of incompletes and Cs. He had been diagnosed as ADD, with executive functioning challenges, and dysgraphia. Since coming to Parkmont, he has taken study skills and has worked one-on-one daily with teachers in every class. Thomas is now comfortable asking questions, working towards finding the right answer, and his grades are now all As and Bs. Quiet and reserved when he got here, he now not only participates actively in class, but has served as School Meeting Leader.
For years, Daniella has had a chronic illness which could cause her to miss weeks of class, and at her previous school, to fail. At Parkmont, her situation was simply a reason to work more closely with her, to give her extra time, and to even allow her to take off a complete session if needed. Instead of failing, now Daniella will take her GED and have a high school degree, a tremendous turn-around. And her highly social personality has been an asset to her, enabling her to maintain both student and teacher relationships, both which had dwindled at her previous school.
Michelle is extremely bright but suffers from a lack of self-confidence. Before arriving here she was unstable due to her emotional issues. At Parkmont, she has worked with our George Washington University grad students in therapy, which, along with developing key relationships with two female teachers, has resulted in a stabilized mental health outcome for over two years. She has benefitted from other confidence-boosters as well: Michelle went with her class to Mexico, her first travel experience abroad, using her native Spanish to help the whole group. And she has had a valuable internship experience with substantial responsibility and praise for her hard work.
These are composite portraits of students who have benefited from our program at Parkmont during the last 10 years, in order to protect confidentiality.