This post is part of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers #catholicteachers sponsored program. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors.
It’s high school registration time. That’s right, this month, I registered my youngest daughter for high school. That’s huge. Any parent of a school aged child knows, we agonize over where to send our children and often we also wonder if they are ready. When your child has special needs you worry even more. As hard as these huge decisions are, I feel pretty good about this one because I know what to expect.
In grade 9, we enrolled my oldest daughter in the Catholic high school near our home. From the moment we arrived at her high school we were greeted with respect and support. This particular high school has been a great fit for Payton and for the last couple of years I have hoped her younger sister will follow her to the same Catholic high school. Ainsley’s needs are different than Payton’s. They are polar opposites in a lot of ways.
But, both of my girls are on IEP’s, individual education plans, which means they require extra support in certain areas at school. Ainsley needs a bit more in class support, help with planning and time management and regular checkins to be sure she’s understanding material. She also has technology, a laptop to work on for anything written. Payton can independently opt to go to a resource room to write all of her tests and she also leaves class occasionally for quick mental health breaks. They both need strong people around them to help.
I’ve seen how incredibly supportive Ontario English Catholic teachers and administrators are at Payton’s school. From the first day, her anxiety at school was dramatically reduced. Panic attacks rarely happen anymore. The support she received in class and at school has helped her with anxiety disorder. The Ontario English Catholic teachers, guidance counsellors and administrators are magnificent at mental health support. That has been extremely valuable to our family. For me, that looked like fewer phone calls home mid panic attack, and fewer arguments about getting to school.
SO, when it comes to support and guidance I feel confident my youngest daughter will also get what she needs to flourish. The Catholic high school teachers Payton has had have been exceptional.
Support is in fact the strongest criteria for determining where both my daughters go to high school. Repeatedly over the last two years, when Ainsley asks: “Which high school will I go to?” I reply: “The most important thing to me is that you get the support you need to become the best version of you.”
So where will that be? In fact my youngest is registered and we’ve begun the transition process to the Catholic high school not far from where we live. There are a few great things about that. The proximity means the girls can and should walk back and forth instead of taking a bus. They will be at the same school for a year or two again. And I know I can trust the Catholic high school teachers to build on Ainsley’s strengths.
Next year, at this time my youngest daughter will be in grade 9. Hopefully, loving every minute of it. Making new friends, learning as much as possible, joining basketball and cross country, finding a path through the teenage years. I hope she finds guidance and acceptance, friendship and inspiration too. And I hope she truly enjoys this time.
High school is a huge and dramatic part of growing up. But, knowing that Catholic teachers hold core values of fairness, compassion, respect, concerns for social justice and the environment in high regard, makes me feel confident this school is the right fit for both of my kids.
Ontario English Catholic teachers deliver lessons for life, incorporating discussions about the environment and social justice into the daily classroom discussion and assignments. I love that. Both of my kids have a strong empathetic streak and they are kids who stand up for others, easily able to recognize injustice. When I overhear my daughter on the phone with a friend having a bad day I often am amazed at how caring she is. Both girls are like that actually.
This week a friend was having a hard time. Ainsley’s go to is this: “What can I do to help?” or “How can I make it better?”
As her Mom, I frequently remind her to remember to take care of herself and do her homework first before helping fix a friend’s problems. BUT personally I love her kind, caring streak.
Ontario’s English Catholic teachers help shape the character and values of the students they teach. Simply put, they provide lessons for life. For this next stage, although grades are important, character is even more valuable to me.
I know Ainsley will get the inspiration and guidance she needs to grow into a confident, caring, young adult and a valuable member of a greater community. Diversity, acceptance, tolerance and compassion are all characteristics I see daily at my daughter’s high school and I know my youngest will be inspired by that.
Ultimately these are the things that matter even more than grades. Ontario English Catholic teachers are true partners in growing great young people.
Visit http://www.catholicteachers.ca/LessonsForLife/ for more information.