Dawn shares the story of her daughter's experience at Winston.
Kristen (Mother of a middle schooler)
“Winston is the best thing that has happened not only for my son but for the whole family. My only regret is that we didn’t move him sooner.”
We were very lucky in the beginning of my son’s education. He had some great teachers up until the fourth grade. In fourth, it was clear that some adjustments would need to be made. After that, things quickly went down the drain.
Public school wasn’t sure how to deal with my son and even with endless IEPs, he wasn’t getting what he needed. When he entered middle school, I spoke with a teacher whose daughter had graduated from Winston. She highly recommended it but I still wasn’t sure about the commitment. We live a long distance from the school and the thought of driving for over an hour twice a day was daunting.
Unfortunately, things did not improve in the public school. Quite often, I would have to go to school to pick my son up only to find him huddled in some corner, trying to get away from a world that he didn’t fit in to. This doesn’t happen at The Winston School. The teachers and staff work with my son. I have no doubt that they too find it challenging, but they do it!
One of the best things that came out of this experience is that my son told his Regional Center representative that he liked his school and was happy to be going there. I guess that pretty much says it all.
Susan (Mother of a Winston School graduate)
“Why did you wait so long to send me?”
Three years ago before my daughter started attending The Winston School, I was afraid she would never graduate from high school. Today, she is looking forward to attending Roanoke College with a merit scholarship that covers nearly 60% of her fees and tuition. She had the joy of opening four college acceptance letters from highly-rated liberal arts colleges, three of which offered her 5-figure merit scholarships.
I had known since she was in kindergarten that she learned differently from other children. Fortunately, she had been able to attend a supportive elementary school. Once she started middle school, life changed and by the time she started high school, she changed along with it. The public schools deemed her not eligible for an IEP, even though she was diagnosed with learning disabilities and had ADD. She wore hooded black sweatshirts and wouldn’t leave her room. She was angry and seriously depressed.
I had known about The Winston School for some time, but was reluctant to consider it. “Too small,” I thought. “Too many boys.” “Kids were too different.” A friend encouraged me to take another look. I asked my daughter to look at The Winston School website. After looking at it, she said, “That’s me.”
She started attending Winston in the middle of her sophomore year and her life was transformed. She rose to the top of her class in chemistry and she learned to write well. She read and loved Kafka. She gave up the black sweatshirts soon after she started and became known for her cute and quirky style.
The college counseling was superb; she was helped in identifying colleges that matched her interests and talents.
As we toured colleges, we had the opportunity to talk. One of the subjects was the decision to send her to Winston. “Why,” she asked, “did you wait so long to send me?”
Today she is a normal high school senior with a bad case of senioritis looking forward to heading off to college.
Just “thank you” cannot express my gratitude for The Winston School and everything you have done for my daughter. So, I wrote this letter and give you permission to reprint it and use it on your website.
Corinne (Mother of a current high school student)
“They just get me.”
It is difficult for me to express just how important The Winston School has been to our family. Winston changed my son’s life and future. This is the fourth school that he has attended and none of the others could meet his unique challenges and needs. But, Winston worked for him right from the start. It has truly been the right fit for him.
As my son sums it up, “They just get me.”
He has made good friends at The Winston School. He has become so much more confident because of the incredible, caring teachers and staff, the classes, fellow students and the educational travel program.
We are grateful that The Winston School has “gotten” my son since the beginning. They have given him a whole new foundation and have given us hope. Our son is thriving at Winston and we know he has an amazing life ahead of him.
Lorelei Nielsen (mother of Clay, 12th grade)
I knew I was in the wrong place when after stating that I wanted my son to go to college, a roomful of public school administrators told me I reach too high. After finding Winston and seeing my son, Clay, grow in so many amazing ways--academically, confidently, and socially--I knew I was in the right place. Clay plans to attend music college. There has never been one regret from entering the doors of The Winston School.
Randi Pisapia (mother of Tom)
How can I thank The Winston School and its dedicated staff for giving me back my son? It's hard to find the words. My son is a very bright child who in kindergarten was thought to be a genius, but by third grade had all but shut down. He was diagnosed with auditory disability and dyslexia. His self-esteem was gone. I had to pry his fingers off the car to get him into school. He wore his hood over his face all day.
This low self-esteem brought on other problems like anxiety and OCD. My son came to The Winston School in September of fourth grade. By December, we were taking him off of his anti-anxiety medications. By the next year, he was running for class president. Now a senior, he is an amazing young man. He continues to surprise me with his abilities.
I cannot take the credit for this. I have to give the credit to the staff at Winston for believing in him, for never giving up on him, for helping him to believe in himself. He is going into his senior year with great hope for a fantastic future. I know he will achieve it too!
Thanks to Winston.
Merri Turner (mother of Allison, 9th grade)
My daughter, Allison, started at Winston halfway through her sixth grade year. This was her fourth school since kindergarten. We were tired and frustrated with changing schools. The first day Allison attended Winston she said, “Mom, I love this school.” (This sentiment remains to this day and we’ve never looked back.) In her short time at Winston, my daughter’s confidence and self-esteem have blossomed tremendously. Allison is producing fantastic art, acting in school plays, extremely social, and yes she is learning. Every year is better than the previous one. She is amazing!
I am so thankful and grateful for The Winston School and all that they provide every day. My daughter now has a wonderful future ahead of her thanks to Winston. The Winston School staff and program is awesome! My only regret is that I wish I had enrolled Allison sooner at The Winston School.