Denver Realtor Reviews: Highline Academy Southeast
I have only been a parent for two and a half years. When my wife and I moved out of our last neighborhood, we were just starting the process of becoming foster to adopt parents of older kids. School quality was not our first thought when we chose our home, we just wanted a safer neighborhood. We loved Bible Park, I had lived in the area previously, we knew it was a perfect fit for us. It was the perfect place for us until we were placed with a 3rd and 6th grader in September of 2013. And it wasn’t the place that was the problem, it was the schools.
We immediately toured our local elementary school and middle school. When we toured the elementary school, there was a real fear that our son would be quickly grouped with other kids in the area who have lacked regular schooling, maybe had no parental involvement at home, and who were among the 25% of kids that changed schools every year. And if our youngest was assumed to be part of this group of kids, would the teachers invest the time and energy into him that we knew he would need?
We then found an opening at a different magnet school in the area. We were excited about the possibility of our 3rd grader and 6th grader going to the same school while they endured such dramatic changes in their lives. And this school was amazing for our third grader. They specialized in English as a second language students who had large gaps in their education. And our third grader was taken under the wing of some good hearted teacher and he made some huge advances. But our 6th grader floundered. See our oldest is highly intelligent. But he had 11 years of using his intelligence just having to do just enough to exceed the average of his peers. And his peers were mostly struggling with poverty. His peers had not had expectations to succeed in school. And when he started at this school it became quickly evident that his peers had not changed much from his previous 6 years of education.
What you may not understand about the dynamic of being a foster to adopt parent is that our kids absolutely do not trust that our expectations and rules for them are ever associated with our love, care, or best wishes for them. They are just another thing that is different and wrong about the life they are now forced to live. So if their friends don’t have rules, if their friends don’t have to get high grades, if their friends don’t have to do their homework, it reinforces their already held belief that their new parents are unfair, and don’t get what they are going through. And our version of love is a language that they have no interest in learning.
When we tried to be proactive regarding the education of our 6th grader, requesting regular status updates, we were assured that it would happen. But routinely we were surprised with disappointing grades, and the progress in our oldest’s education seemed stalled throughout 7th grade as well. We could not trust him to be supervised if he hung out with friends. When requesting effort from our oldest, we were legitimately confronted with the fact that most of his peers were not expected to put effort into their education at school or at home. Our youngest had made good progress in this school in 3rd and 4th grade but we were scared he would face the same middle school future at this school. We knew it would be hard for a seventh grader to switch schools but we were determined to salvage his last year before high school. We did not expect that we would get into Highline. It was a long shot, and we were thrilled when we got in.
The differences in this school were much more than we even expected. It starts with the front desk. Every other school we had encountered, the front dest was like the DMV. But the front desk at Highline was eager to facilitate any needs. The 5th grade team with Ms. Chandlier has taken our 5th grader under their wing as I see them doing with a number of kids. His academic progress is astounding. He was doing sight words and muddling his way through the occasional Dr. Seus book midway through 3rd grade, not registering on any reading ability scales. This year Ms. Chandlier and him set the high goal of reading Harry Potter books by the end of the year. This is a goal that has already been reached.
And for all of our youngest’s success I am just as grateful for what Highline has given our 8th grader. After 8 years of just getting by, after 8 years of just staying off the radar, our oldest has made tremendous progress in doing more than just using his high intelligence to be lazy. He has become an active partner in his education. He has made choices to try to be a successful student thanks to the partnership we have with his teachers. And his chances of high school success are much more than I could have hoped for when he entered Highline Academy.
When I reflect on the important role Highline has had in the lives of kids and family, I realize our story is very similar all of yours. It is just that the impact of this school is so very obvious in the short time we have been here.
I am so jealous of all of these kids who have had this amazing experience for 9 years. All of this success does not just happen. It is a result of a team and community that that are all working towards the same goal. And this team and community are doing more than just providing incredible opportunities for our kids. With healthy friendships, our kids are safer and our families are healthier. Neighborhoods that may otherwise be held back because of the educational opportunities are thriving. And this success trickles throughout the entire community. I know we owe it to current & future kids, families and our surrounding communities to invest our time and financial resources to continue this amazing school.
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