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Little Successes That Make a Big Difference
“Mary” and “Jose” (not their real names) are two students who attended AIP’s full-service school Afterschool Program at the Irving Middle School. Both were referred to the program in 6th grade because they were failing in school.
- Through participation in our support services, Mary not only passed her academic benchmarks, but also had positive social interactions for what may have been the first time since she had been at the school.
- Jose ,who has a rare medical condition that makes him stand out from his peers, had been socially disconnected because of the constant teasing he’d received for his appearance. Through the program, Jose improved his academic performance and made friends for the first time. A highlight for him was the Parent Night, when he received the “Best Shot” award for his participation in the program’s Basketball Group.
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Catalyst for Improved Health, Outlook, and School Performance
The summer after 7th grade, 14-year-old Emile (not his real name) attended the AIP Summer Camp along with Summer School. Emile had first entered AIP in the Fall of that year, coming to the AIP Inclusion Day Program with a prior history of 50% school attendance and poor academic performance. Emile had major health problems, including extreme obesity, asthma, uncontrolled diabetes, and a visual impairment. During the school year, Emile was anxious around crowds and was depressed. He also was failing in school.
After the second week of camp, Emile began opening up with staff and with other campers. He seemed to like the relaxed pace of the summer program, the small group size, and the increased positive feedback. For the first time since Emile had begun at the Irving School, his parents began to emphasize the importance of attending, participating, and learning, as they faced the very real possibility that he would not be promoted to the next grade. He attended the program regularly.
In spite of the physical demands of the camp, Emile engaged in all of the camp activities. He signed up for some physically active outdoor choices and played sports in the summer heat without complaint. He smiled more. His attendance rate for summer school and summer camp was 80%--a tremendous success. At the end of summer school, he had caught up enough on missed work and was promoted to eighth grade.
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Transition from Segregated Special Education to Regular Public Education
Enrique (not his real name), who has Oppositional Defiant Disorder and depression, had been in private residential therapeutic schools his entire school career because of serious family problems complicated by his own behavioral problems. In 8th grade he returned home to live. He enrolled in AIP for support in making the transition from a residential environment back to a normal environment. In one year, he moved from AIP’s classroom to all regular education classrooms and then graduated from middle school and entered the regular education program at a public high school.
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D’Andre (not his real name), an incoming 6th grader with Asperger’s Disorder, had such serious problems with explosive anger and assaultive behavior that he could not be maintained in a regular classroom. He attended AIP for three years. Over that time, he learned to manage his behavior well enough to transition into 100% regular education classrooms. Because of this success, he left special education in 9th grade and moved on to regular education in a highly regarded public high school. D’Andre graduated high school on time and is now in his third year of college. The experience at the Irving gave him the opportunity to learn how to behave in normal settings and with healthy peers while continuing to benefit from the therapeutic supports AIP offered through meetings with his counselor and participation in AIP’s therapeutic afterschool program.
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Embracing an Immigrant Family
Marlena and her mother, Rosa (not their real names), were new immigrants to the United States. Marlena had witnessed extreme violence, including the deaths of immediate family members, before she and her mother fled to the U.S. They had no family, did not speak English, and no job prospects for Rosa. Marlena was referred to the AIP Afterschool program because of depression and academic failure. She is a nice, well-behaved, friendly girl, but had few friends and was failing her classes, largely due to her depression. She had problems doing her homework, and her mother was unable to help, since she did not speak English. After joining AIP, Marlena’s rate of homework completion increased considerably, she made many friends, she connected well with AIP staff, and her depression lifted. Rosa learned to work with the AIP Afterschool staff to set up meetings with Marlena’s teachers to discuss Marlena’s homework completion, test scores, and report cards—something she did not know about before. At AIP Family Nights, Rosa typically was the first parent through the door and eager to join in the fun, talking with other families from Spanish-speaking countries and watching Marlena play board games and chat with her new-found friends.
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