My daughter Mel is bright. In first grade, she should have been placed in the “gifted” program, but the public school she attended did not have the funding. Instead, they put her in a bilingual program where half of her subjects were taught in English and the other half in Spanish, each subject taught by a different teacher.
Eventually Mel began having difficulty with this transition of going from subject to subject so quickly. The school did nothing to address this issue. (I feel she could have been moved to a “regular” first grade class.)
My daughter tried to cope but the teachers saw her as “defiant.” Soon I was being called to the school on a daily basis to pick my daughter up midday. (Convenient for the school as if I picked Mel up, the school would not have to write a report – they were an “A” school and documentation like this would have lowered their status.) They were more concerned with their “status” than my daughter’s education, or better yet, lack of it.
I tried to resolve this within the school but the school psychologist only made it worse by belittling Mel’s character by saying, “Her personality is one that will never make it in the future.” Aren’t psychologists supposed to find positive, effective solutions? I was told repeatedly to medicate her, which is something I refused to do. On one occasion two administrators physically restrained Mel and forced her into a classroom after I dropped her off. Now Mel had a reputation. I was called again to pick her up. When I got to the school I found my daughter locked in a room, surrounded by the school psychologist, a counselor, the principal and assistant principal. They were badgering her while she cried on the floor, pulling her own hair. When I bent down to pick her up, the school psychologist said that part of her problem was that Mel was shown “too much affection and love at home” and then the psychologist threatened to Baker Act her.
I found out about H.E.L.P. Miami and researched this school. Liking what I heard I enrolled Mel and my son Isaac, who was entering kindergarten. The only thing I regret is that I did not find this school earlier. Mel has never been more excited to go to school and learn! Both Mel and Isaac receive one-on-one attention every day from their teachers and both are testing above level. In fact, Mel is mastering fourth grade level work. (She should only be in third grade.) No one is calling me saying Mel is out of control. On the contrary, they genuinely like my daughter. She is encouraged to express herself and be creative. As parents, my wife and I have more time to spend with our daughter as she is not getting loads of homework. We enjoy and cherish this time. I am very happy to find this school.
H.E.L.P. Miami does what other schools should do: maintain a structured curriculum while treating all the students like they are intelligent, important people.