We are so excited to show off our new facility and we hope you will join us at our first open house on Sunday, July 27, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm. We’ll have refreshments and tours. Feel free to bring the kids.
We LOVE our new building. I have a hard time deciding what is my favorite part. Of course, after four years with no offices, Ms. Kaplan and I are thrilled to have our own. The library, light-filled and centrally located, with tons of books and squishy rocking arm chairs, rates high on my list as well. Our large auditorium will host circle time and science classes and perhaps the occasional dodge ball game. When I peek in Ms. Brooks’s reading room, it makes me happy to know that many kids will learn to read in there. Large classrooms, a staff workroom with lots of storage, an art closet, and lockers in the hall (instead of in a classroom) will make life easier in many ways. Our Developmental Therapy Associates’ therapists will be happy to know they have a dedicated room rather than the hall or the auditorium they used last year.
We have other changes too. First we are offering before and after school care this year. Robin Pipkins signed on as our after-school director; we loved her ideas and enthusiasm. Three of our former part-time teachers will be joining us full-time this year. Ginny Brooks, amazing reading tutor, is one of them. Julie Neef and Eric Laures joined us part-time last year and impressed us thoroughly; together they will teach our upper elementary class. In addition, we’ve hired CJ Barefoot and Deborah Horvitz for our Supported Learning class. Both of them spent several days with us last spring and we became convinced they were the right ones for the job. You’ll be able to meet these great folks at the open house, along with our past staff, all of whom return.
We have added a new program too. Courtney Wilson heads up our new Life Skills program, for students aged 15-21 who will need support in living and learning independently. Our full-sized kitchen will be an adjunct to her classroom. Courtney has been in this summer planning curriculum and designing activities to help her students live independently, advocate for themselves, develop employment skills, and enjoy a safe and productive life.
I cannot forget our students! We will open with 50 students this year, a significant jump from the 34 we finished the year with. We still have spots in our primary and Life Skills programs; we are on to the waiting list for other programs. We love these new kids, just as we have our present students. Many of them are far too interesting and challenging to ever fit comfortably in traditional schools, but lots of movement, decreased stress, and both challenge and remediation will make them fit perfectly here.
So please join us at 4723 Erwin Road, Durham. Our staff and parents have worked hard to make this a place where all kids can succeed. We can’t wait to show it off!