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I am a proud parent at Children’s Studio Public Charter School of the Arts and Architecture, where my child has been enrolled since September 1998. As someone who is classified as low-income (I work as a crossing guard), a single mom who lives in far Northeast, and a person who cares very much about her child’s education, I was ecstatic to have my son’s name drawn from a lottery to be accepted at what I now know is an extraordinary school.
So I was very sad to read Laura Lang’s article on public charter schools (“Learning the Hard Way,” 2/2). Many situations do have negative as well as positive aspects to them. We as a people tend to sway to the negative, instead of weighing both sides and finding a balance. We tend to choose statistics vs. hands-on experience, which would be self-explanatory. And in our schools, we don’t take or have the time to pause and listen, to make that extra effort.
I can speak from experience because my child was one of those children who was labeled. Davon is now 8. He came to Children’s Studio School three years ago from a good D.C. public school, where, unfortunately, his tendency to challenge ideas and his attempts at art-making were considered behavior problems.
When Davon first started at Children’s Studio School, he was a handful (and still is on occasion!), but now he is not looked at as a “problem child.” He is challenged, motivated, nurtured, and loved, and his
welfare is continuously taken into consideration.
Through his three years at the school, he has grown in many ways: academically (yes, even his test scores have shot up), emotionally, andlike a big cauldron that holds it all togetherartistically. He has stretched his mind, and he has developed his characterhe is more mature and has become very independent. And he has developed his musical abilities. He’s always had a great ear for not only music but languages. Now he has been given the opportunity to excel.
At the school, staff, interns, artists and assistant artists/teachers, parents, the maintenance and security peopleeveryone is responsible. You never hear anyone saying, “It’s not my job.” The feeling you get whenever you enter the school is one that no money can buy (though I know that a lot of money is needed!). There is no problem or concern too big or small for the school to try to resolvefrom early morning to sometimes very late at night.
Children’s Studio School expresses the beauty of art at its bestthat is, not pretty pictures but art as a whole way of working and learning. As parents, we’ve come to share the school’s vision as we have seen our children developing, expressing, and exhibiting their intelligences through the arts. There are children who are very advanced academically, as well as many who need a lot of support. Everyone is treated with compassion, patience, love, hugs, and firmness (but gentleness)and without judgment, without labels. At Studio School, every child can succeed because every child is an artist.