A Creative, Caring, & Challenging Learning Environment

In the past week, there has been quite a buzz about a report from an education advocacy group called People for Education. The group surveyed over 1300 Ontario schools after receiving numerous complaints from parents that they had been asked to keep their child home from school because there was not enough staff support for students with a wide variety of special needs. The report claims that ALL students end up being short-changed as teachers need to focus on student safety over delivering the instruction required for the curriculum.

The report is not news to us. We have families (past, present and no doubt future) who come to us because they have been promised educational support (for everything from dyslexia strategies to gifted programmes) only to find out in September that the funding or staffing was no longer available. Students from all grade levels come to us with a learning profile that requires some variety and creativity in the way the material is presented and are finally given the opportunity to learn in a manner that works best for them. Our small class sizes allow our teachers (especially in our TEAM programme) to focus on specific, individual learning strengths and to gear their teaching techniques in order to achieve success. Parents are overwhelmed with the difference that their new school makes!

The news items with the People for Education report highlight both of the groups of students affected and at our schools, we hear the stories from both groups as well. Whether it is the family with a child requiring (and not receiving) extra support or the family with a child not requiring additional staff time (but getting overlooked for those who do), they can come to us frustrated with their situation. We empathize with the families who do not have the means to change schools but we are proud of the fact that in our schools, we have the ability to provide a creative, caring and challenging learning environment for the families who come to us.

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College/TEAM School

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