Salvatore* has always struggled in school. Upon coming to our program, he was two full grades behind. He stated he was hopeless and shared serious doubts our school would be any different. He had a history of refusing to go to class and being sent to the office.
Salvatore was surprised our school had a meditation room where he could go at any time to calm himself. He also seemed shocked that the teachers were more like grandparents than drill sergeants. Salvatore stated it was hard to be upset with them. They seemed so nice. At first he would spend at least an hour in the meditation room each day. By day three, he was taking his computer to the room so he could work independently. Salvatore looked at the teachers suspiciously when they told him he could work on whatever class he wanted to, in the order he chose. He was hesitant to believe in this approach but giving it a try, he started with reading. After mastering reading he decided to take on history, and after only two weeks he realized he was close to earning his history credit. Buoyed by his initial success, Salvatore decided to incorporate math into his daily regiment and before he realized it, he was remaining in the classroom the whole day. Salvatore completed credits for one math class, two science credits, one English and two history classes. If he continues at this rate, he will be on grade level by May and he will have caught up. He will only need English when he transfers back to OPS. In addition, Salvatore feels empowered and states he can graduate on time. He is excited for school and is working at his potential now. Progress in school was also a turning point for his behavior in the group home. Salvatore tells other youth that this group home really cares for them. He is emerging as a leader with the other boys.
Salvatore’s mother could hardly believe he was doing so well and asked if he could continue at our school after he completes the program. While this is not an option due to state regulations, we are working with Salvatore on a smooth transition and know he has the skills and confidence to succeed.
*We changed this young man's name and added a photo as he is still a minor.