Friday, August 26, 2011

Sometimes You Lose a Student

Sometimes we lose a student. I don’t mean that the student runs away or we can’t find him in the school. What I mean is that sometimes we have to ask a student to leave the school. The student’s behavior or actions are so poor that it affects other students and the school. At StarShine, we take asking a student to leave very seriously and we look at every other option before we make the decision.

I’m going to call this student, Juan. Juan did not have a very good year last year. He was always in trouble, always making poor choices and his grades were failing. I met with Juan and his teacher the first week of school. We discussed last year’s progress (or lack of) and his poor decisions. Juan assured us that this year would be different. And we assured Juan that he was welcome back and that we wanted him to succeed. The first week progressed smoothly. The second week started a little rocky and ended in disaster. By the end of the second week, Juan had been late multiple days, missed two days, been disrespectful to teachers and had bullied and threatened other students. Unfortunately, it was time for Juan to find a school that better suited his needs.

However – there actually is a bright spot to this sad story.

During the same week, we re-enrolled two high school students who had left the school the previous year due to very, very poor decisions and behavior. The two boys had completely changed and had recommitted to their lives and their desire to graduate from high school. After a meeting with both of them, we were able to welcome them back to the StarShine family. I think they will be very successful this year.

Then we got a call from a parent asking if we would enroll her child. The girl had a very serious disability and had missed a lot of school the previous year. The parent felt that her daughter’s previous school was too large and just couldn’t support her needs. The parent was familiar with StarShine and felt that we would be a perfect fit for her daughter. I’m sure she will be successful and have a much more positive experience in school this year.

And then - I opened the gate and came face to face with a student who had transferred to another school 4 or 5 years ago. Unfortunately, the new school had not worked out and the boy had dropped out. Now – he wanted to come back to StarShine to get his high school diploma. Of course, we welcomed him back.

A long time ago, I realized that schools move in cycles. Sometimes you lose a student, sometimes you gain a student you thought you had lost, and sometimes you enroll a student nobody wants. Maybe this time next year I will be writing about Juan and how he recommitted to school and re-enrolled.
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