Next year Logan will be in middle school, one of the stampeding herd of kids charging into sixth grade to learn the lessons of school — and life. This active, caring and smart student is “graduating,” but not in the usual way.
For the last four years, Logan has been learning how to learn at the Minnick School Harrisonburg campus of Lutheran Family Services of Virginia. The Harrisonburg campus is one of five Minnick Schools in the western part of the state helping children who are not succeeding in the public schools gain the skills and confidence they need to return to the public school setting.
For children like Logan, the challenges to learning may seem insurmountable, and their natural response is to act out, shut down or withdraw. At the Minnick Schools highly trained teachers and counselors help students make better decisions about how they respond to stressful and challenging situations. They find a new way of interacting with teachers and classmates.. They belong. They feel accepted.
But we’ll let Logan’s mother, Bobbi Rosenberger, tell the story:
“Four years ago, at the beginning of my son’s second grade year, I was a very anxious mother. I knew that Logan had “special needs” and public school could not offer him the services he needed. Logan had been having issues with behavior since preschool. I cannot even count the number of phone calls, letters, and suspensions we endured. I wished everyone could see the same loving, caring, and intelligent little seven-year-old that I knew. Instead, everyone saw a hyper, aggressive, and impulsive ball of energy that could not sit still, could not focus, and would not behave.
We had our share of bumps in the road during the first few years. I was so impressed at how well the teachers were able to handle Logan’s behavior. I never would have expected a teacher to wear full hockey padding when trying to calm down my angry, kicking, hitting, and head butting child − but it worked!
The staff have been wonderful teachers and mentors. They did whatever they could to help Logan be successful. It was amazing to see them build lessons around things that interested Logan. From raising mealworms with Ms. Snyder to making air pressure rockets and Diet Coke/Mentos fountains with Mr. Turner, Logan was always challenged! The counselors have also had an impact on Logan. They have given him so many strategies to help him deal with his ADHD and anger management. Everyone has been so caring, compassionate, and loving.
As this year, Logan’s fifth grade year, comes to a close, it is also bittersweet. Logan will be going into middle school and will be transitioning back into public school next year. Over the past four years, I have watched my son grow and mature. I am so proud of the progress he has made. He has done very well academically. He has made lots of friends. He has learned how to control and cope with his actions and behavior. He is still a work in progress but I know he is going in the right direction. I am proud of the young man he has become.
Thank you, Minnick, for all you have done for my son and for all that you will do in the future to help others.”