Student Profile – George (Class of 2009)
George, like many of our students, grew up in a socio-economically challenged neighborhood of Washington, DC. At the age of nine he was shot in the stomach twice by a 45-caliber handgun during random crossfire outside his home. As he was recuperating from surgery to repair a hole in his intestines, he experienced the deaths of two of his young cousins. George has struggled with the effects of this trauma ever since.
George came to the Chelsea School in the summer of his seventh grade year. Held back several times in public schools, he had grown used to being the oldest kid in his class. Despite his mother’s request for an evaluation in kindergarten, George repeated second and third grades and struggled through elementary school without achieving the basic reading skills of a first-grader. Unable to articulate his frustration, George would come to the verge of tears trying to understand why he couldn’t read. Intellectually, George was at an appropriate level for his grade; he simply couldn’t read.
Since coming to Chelsea School, George has accumulated the skills necessary for functional literacy. George has shown strong affinities in the areas of math and science and has developed interests in architecture, engineering, and law.
An example of a young man overcoming adversity, George is also a favorite of his teachers and a natural leader. He has a heart of gold and a genuine sense of compassion for other children. He works hard and understands the importance of the intensive literacy intervention that he receives every day. He’s still not sure what he wants to do for a career, but he often says that he wants desperately to help kids just like himself.
Student Profile – Jackie (Class of 2007)
Next year if you gaze up at the rafters in our gymnasium, you’ll see the retired jersey and number of Jackie, a 2007 graduate of the Chelsea School. Jackie has been an integral part of our basketball program ever since she came to the school as a shy 5th grader. She is now the first Chelsea School athlete to have her number retired. Her leadership and dedication to her teammates set her apart as a unique player on the court.
In the classroom, Jackie made tremendous progress while here at Chelsea School. A frequent honor roll student, she took part in Chelsea School’s career pathway program in media production. She excelled in this program and took on a number of video production projects for her class. Jackie spearheaded several school media projects and was instrumental in producing videos that highlighted Chelsea School’s unique technology programs. As a result, Jackie began to think seriously about a career in film. After being accepted to several universities, Jackie decided on Hofstra in New York, where she’ll be studying film this fall. Echoing her retired jersey, one day you may gaze up and see her name in the credits of a major motion picture.
Student Profile – Thomas (Class of 2013)
Thomas joined the Chelsea School at the beginning of 6th grade. At that time, his reading skills were at a 3rd grade level. Although Thomas had specific language skills in the superior range of functioning; his reading weaknesses were negatively affecting his ability to gain information from printed material. Additionally, at Thomas’s prior school, his mother noted that he was not engaging with peers, and his teachers reported frequent absences. Thomas did not like school.
Upon entering Chelsea School, Thomas was placed in small classes, given a reading tutorial and reading/study skills class in addition to his core classes, and explored the option of using various methods of assistive technology for use in classroom activities and assignments. Thomas was challenged to access and present information that reflected his high intelligence despite his learning weaknesses. He was able to do this due to the multitudes of support he was given: teacher support, scaffolded curriculum, direct daily instruction in reading and spelling, assistive technology, and peer support.
By the end of the school year, Thomas’ overall reading score had improved to the 4.5 grade level, and his reading comprehension had improved six grade levels to nearly the 9th grade level! Even more remarkable was Thomas’ new-found enjoyment of school. Thomas collaborated with teachers and peers to generate new after-school clubs. According to his mother’s report, Thomas was more actively engaging with peers and no longer tried to avoid school.