I started the week by driving 70 miles... On Monday I toured the Schenck School (pronounced skank). It has a brand new building that is quite impressive -- the dining hall looks straight out of Hogwarts, the classrooms have interactive whiteboards, the gym has a bouldering wall. Wow.
On Tuesday I toured The Swift School. It was founded by a former Schenck teacher and is fairly new -- it is only 8 years old. Had it been the only school I toured I might have said it had a pleasant facility, but after Schenck it was hard to see anything else.
So of course... the burning question in your mind is... which did I like better? Well... I am not sure. They both have good sucess. The teachers at both schools seem warm and dedicated. The students at both schools seem kind, friendly, and happy. The administrators at both schools are passionate and friendly. They are both a long drive (40 mins for Schenck, 45 for Swift). If I had to summarize the differences between the schools I would say:
* The Schenck School takes students that fit a very narrow profile. They have a very prescriptive approach that really works to help those students.
* The Swift School takes a broader subset of kids with dyslexia. They only take very experienced teachers because they want teachers to have a broad bag of tricks to work with. They are more flexible in the approaches they try (withing an OG framework) and they are more flexible in the classroom accomodations they allow.
I think at this point we need to let the schools take a look at us. I think if Schenck offers us as spot it is because they think they can really help Ben. I think if Swift offers us a spot it is because they think we will fit into their community. What if neither offers us a spot? Well....
I have been researching whether we will meet the guidelines for Special Ed. Why on earth would I want my child in special ed? Well... the ONLY way he can get access to the reading specialist is through the special ed system... Otherwise he is spending 2 hours of language arts every day frustrated and falling behind. So I downloaded and read the Georgia guidelines. And I talked to the school counselor. And I am not sure he meets the guidelines. He is probably not failing enough. Isn't that terrible -- my child has to be truly failing to get help... wouldn't it be better to catch him BEFORE he fails any more... so we will see on the 11th if the school can pull it off (I know they are trying their best). If we get in we are also eligible for a scholarship if we decide to send him to Schenck or Swift.
Ugh. So what happens if we don't get into Schenck and Swift and we don't get Special Ed help? Well... we'll see. We are discussing that option right now, too.