Yesterday, my school had its Quarterly Meeting for the Second Quarter. Although we have lots of Seniors who will be graduating this year, there were 5 that were mentioned specifically at the meeting — one of which, I had worked with in the past, and was glag to hear her story told.
Since we are an online school with asynchronous courses, we have a lot of talented students who need to be able to “do school” at times it is convenient for them. Athletes and actors are two groups that readily come to mind. Although we don’t list the names of ours students (to protect their privacy), that doesn’t stop some from sharing it themselves.
On the other side of the spectrum, though, are students who struggle in a brick school. For them, our online, asynchronous model makes it possible for them to do school at all, let alone succeed in school. The student I mentioned from the first paragraph came from this group. To protect privacy, I will just refer to her as, “B.”
B has serious vision processing issues. Although I don’t know her full story, I can only imagine the difficulty she would have in a brick school trying to see, and then comprehend, any written learning material presented while there are 29 other kids in the room who are finishing the assignment as she is just finishing reading the directions.
I got involved with the family right before she started her Senior year. Mom reached out to me to discuss options for B to take a 4th year of math her final year of high school. One of the courses that we offered looked like it would be a good fit for her, only the book was changing so the course was not available until all the changes were made and processed.
Since the course wasn’t ready when B wanted to start, she ended up starting the year taking Pre-Calculus. A few weeks in, though, we did have the other course ready. She had to option to stop Pre-Calculus and move to take all of Advanced Applied Mathematics (AAM), essentially doing a few weeks of Pre-Calculus work for nothing, finish the first semester of Pre-Calculus and then switch to the first semester of AAM to finish her year, or stay in Pre-Calculus for the full year.
B decided to switch to AAM immediately and ultimately was glad she did, even though she had to do extra work. Fortunately for me, we have a teacher at our school who also has visual processing issues (he is legally blind); we paired the two of them up for her senior year since they already had something in common.
(You may ask how a blind teacher can work at an online school, especially in math where screen readers don’t yet have the capacity to read math symbols drawn by hand. Sounds like an idea for another post!)
B will be graduating with us in a few month, which is exciting. At our meeting yesterday, though, I learned that she was accepted into her first choice of college! Here is a young lady who desires to succeed despite her obstacles.
We all have obstacles of varying degrees. What are you doing to overcome yours?