• Annette Laguerre

Parallel Hope. Giving Hope.

Photo by Anita Jankovic on Unsplash

As a teacher, I spent most of my career working with alternative students. Alternative students are different from special education students. They are students who do not perform well, or at all, in a traditional school setting. Some of these students struggled with learning from early on in their schooling. Others dealt with a major life event that train wrecked their education. A few were simply just in a rebellious phase of life.

Very few of these students had any learning disabilities. In fact, many of these students were actually quite intelligent. But they didn’t fit into the way schooling was done in any other schools. So they were sent to the school in which I taught.

Every Child Can Learn

There were three primary lessons I learned from my time in that alternative school. The first is that every child has the ability to learn. This may seem obvious, but for a child who is constantly struggling with new material, or falls behind the class on the simplest assignment, this truth can be completely lost. For this child to have a teacher that believes this fact with all her heart, it can mean the difference between success and failure.

Differences Matter

The second is that learning will look different for each child. Many of the students I taught could not sit at a desk and go through lessons. Often, not even cooperative learning strategies were effective. They needed the material presented and practiced in an entirely unconventional way. I learned how to consolidate material in order to present the basic nuts and bolts, then break it down in a clear visual or hands-on manner. We did activities that I didn’t learn how to develop in college or training. I learned them in practice.

Students Don’t Fit A Mold

The third is that the system is sometimes a child’s worst enemy when it comes to learning. Let me clarify this last point. Schools are not the enemy of children. Most school employees genuinely care about the children who attend. Most teachers want the best for their students. However, these same schools are run based upon a model developed around the time of the industrial revolution. More people moved to cities, and one room school houses were no longer the educational ideal. School boards needed to establish a way to educate the masses, and the modern public school was born. At the time this system was developed, few students attended school past the sixth or eighth grade. When compulsory education was extended to the equivalent of modern day high school, the same system was simply modified to accommodate the older students. Children were grouped by age for convenience, then taught standard material.

Children who continually struggle in a school setting can begin to think of school as the worst place to be. It becomes, in their minds, a necessary evil, like walking into an enemy’s territory. These students need more than remediation. They need a completely different mindset in education. This is where Parallel Hope comes in. Parallel Hope Schools was founded to do education differently, to look at the individual needs of every child and wrap the educational experience around that child’s needs. We believe that no student should be left behind in learning. In order to give hope to every child that walks through our doors, we need your help.

How You Can Help

You can help give these students hope in learning. Will you help us help them by choosing one of these ways to help?

  • Give a one time gift of any amount

  • Become a monthly donor

  • Purchase an item from our wish list.

  • Make Parallel Hope your Amazon Smile charity.

  • Pay a future student’s tuition.

  • Volunteer to help.

Check our SUPPORT page.

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