What’s a parent to do when their special needs child is in dire straits? Perhaps start a charter school? I’ve been following the ups and downs of a nearby charter school with interest. Dynamic Community Charter School (DCCS) currently serves 64 students from 6th through 10th grade. A project-based school serving special needs kids, DCCS is in its 1st year of operation. The Charter School Advisory Board recommended that the school be shut down at the end of this year because of its continuing budgetary problems. They also alluded to observations of a “calmer” physical environment. I figured that meant the place was hopping with inappropriate activity when someone observed, but who knows?
I was intrigued when I read a parent response to this recommendation in The News and Observer. The column, entitled “Blindsided by Board: Heartbreak and outrage over recommendations to revoke charter of school for special needs students,” was written by a parent whose son attends DCCS. According to this parent, Jennifer Holt, DCCS has been run by parents “concerned for their special needs children- exhausted, desperate, intelligent, hard-working parents who completed extensive training but missed crossing a couple of T’s, leaving a significant financial deficit for the year.” Ms. Holt recounts the efforts of parents to raise money (they have until May). She said they were basically ready “to sell our souls to keep this school open for our children. The principal even offered not to draw a salary for the rest of the year.”
Why? Ms. Holt says they have given up on a system with overcrowded classrooms and an emphasis upon mainstreaming that was unsuccessful. She goes on to describe her son’s situation: “Bullied at recess, bullied in the bathroom, bullied at lunch. ‘There’s no recourse available. Just help him learn how to get through it.‘ These were actual words spoken to me by a teacher whose hands were tied in the case of a very large student who decided to make my son’s every day a living hell.” She says that her son is finally happy, is excited about going to school, and “is finally out in the world without his mother and thriving. He is finally learning with his peers. He is growing and making friends and even leading discussions- something that would never have happened in a traditional public school setting.”
I’ve checked out their website and blog (image below) and I’m hoping they get a chance to survive as a school. It’s easy to donate using PayPal. One size does not fit all.