I realize I've gone a bit quiet around here, and that is because we still have issues that really cannot be discussed publicly, and I'm really not very good at keeping things to myself, so it's better to say nothing at all. Given that disclaimer, however, things coming out of April break were better than in February. Which is a very good thing, indeed.
This week one Sunshine paid us a very high compliment. We were discussing the varied bits of drama impacting everyone and I said something about their experiences breaking my heart because they're just too young to have to deal with these problems. He looked at me and said "Yea, but you make it better." It took a minute for that to sink in, so he said it again: "We come to school because being here makes it better. We wouldn't come if it didn't." And since I know he has had issues with truancy (many of them have), I know he's not kidding. They've learned how to avoid the things that make their lives harder and to stick with things that make them feel better (even if these things do not really make them better). That they come to school-- want to come to school-- is huge. That they will call and say they've missed the bus and need a ride if we can find them one... sometimes I miss the message they are really sending. They want to be at school. We have created a space where they feel valued, and it has value to them. I will own all the criticism about the level of academic output, but I will not let anyone say that our program is a joke or a waste of time. I have the data to prove it.