By Jill Klitzner, BVP Elementary School 1 parent.
Like most parents, my days are busy. With four children at four different schools, our day starts at 5:00 a.m. and ends...well it never seems to end. Two of my four children are BVP scholars with my oldest in 8th grade in middle school and my youngest at Elementary School 1. While he is still young, my son Adam’s long journey to Blackstone Valley Prep (BVP) Mayoral Academy is one of growth and perseverance. (Find a comfy chair, sit down, and grab a tissue.)
Our journey with Adam started in September 2009 when we received a call from our social worker telling us about an 18 day old newborn that needed a home. Without hesitation my husband and I cancelled an upcoming vacation and immediately began the process of bringing Adam home. He had already had a rough start, having been born addicted to drugs and alcohol. We knew he might have some challenges ahead of him, but when the nurse wheeled him around the corner and I caught my first glimpse of little Adam, I knew he would be my forever baby.
Adam met many milestones, with the exception of talking and walking. Because he was in state custody as a foster child, getting services for him was never an issue. With the resources available, we made sure he got to every appointment and took the time to work with him. But as Adam got older, more was demanded of him and he began to get frustrated. It wasn’t long before my calm baby became a tantrum-driven toddler. By the time Adam was three he was no longer receiving services from outside agencies, so he was turned over to our town’s school department. Adam struggled. We, as his parents, struggled. The next two years were a long and bumpy road. I kept looking for a fork in the road, but I couldn't find one. Before I knew it, he was five and it was time for kindergarten.
His first week of school I was in the principal's office 3 times and almost every week we would receive a call about Adam’s behavior. Nothing seemed positive and it felt like we were failing our son. After an emergency IEP (Individualized Education Program) meeting, we knew the next step was to find Adam a program more equipped to handle his needs. My husband and I decided to admit him to Bradley’s 8 week Pedi-Partial program. When Adam was finished he was on a new path. He temporarily transitioned to Bradley School in Providence and for the first time in years, Adam went to school with a smile and came home with even a bigger one.
At the end of the school year, we as a team decided that Adam would benefit from repeating kindergarten. Having one child already extremely successful at BVP, I knew it was an opportunity to consider for Adam. I entered him into the lottery and, to our delight, Adam was selected to attend BVP. With that, countless meetings between Bradley, BVP, my husband, and myself ensued over many months. After much deliberation, the team agreed that Adam would benefit from moving into the Transitional Learning Center (TLC) at ES1. I’ll admit, I was hesitant. At Bradley Adam was safe, happy, comfortable, and growing rapidly. I was comfortable, too. I questioned whether he was ready and worried if he would take a step backwards. I worried about the length of the day and if the homework would be too overwhelming.
Through the worry and concern a calm, sweet voice began to speak.“I used to teach your son Jack when I was a student teacher and now I get to teach your Adam.” Like the moment I first laid eyes on my son, I knew when I heard Casey Rainha speak that she was the right teacher for Adam. For weeks after our first meeting, Casey continued to stay in touch, even visiting Adam at Bradley to meet his friends. Before we knew it, January 4th, Adam’s first day at BVP, had come and Casey made sure everything was perfect.
At 7:02 a.m. he got on the bus and started his journey at BVP. Ms. Rainha was there to greet him as his bus arrived and took him by the hand to lead him into his new school - to lead him into the next part of his journey. Adam is safe, happy, and will continue to grow at a rapid pace. We all feel at peace with the road ahead for Adam and it’s all because we had the right to choose where he would go to school. We had the right to choose BVP. It’s only been a week and a half, but Adam is already at home at BVP. I can only imagine where week three will take him, and four, and all the rest . . . . .
Adam’s journey has just begun and I’m thrilled with where he’s headed.
For more on BVP’s TLC program, click here to view our annual report. (Navigate to page 8)
For more on Casey Rainha, click here for our recent blog post on her becoming a recipient of the Golden Apple Award.