I found myself musing to someone in the midst of last weekend’s move, “I’ve never had more of a sense of community than I have since starting to build this school.” It was a heartfelt statement absentmindedly made in a moment, but the more time passed, the more I began to absorb the truth of what I’d said.
The level of engagement, passion, and enthusiasm shown by everyone who has participated in this adventure has absolutely blown me away. We learn the burger topping preferences of each other’s children when we pick up lunch for the work crew. Our kids gamely lug boxes of teaching supplies upstairs. The teachers encourage the hard work of kids who often have trouble focusing and brag to their parents about what a great job they’ve done. We all laugh at paint crises and come up with a new plan.
It can be hard as a parent of a non-typical kid. Despite lots and lots of good intentions, your kid isn’t always understood. Your kid isn’t always WELCOME. Your kid can make other people feel awkward, which, yeah, that usually makes YOU feel awkward.
We very consciously made The Cloverleaf School a school that was not about a particular diagnosis. Instead, it’s about kids who have difficulty of being in a typical classroom and the fact that this difficulty can be surmounted by changing some fundamental things about classrooms, teacher ratios, and educational practices. This is a community where differences (of all types!) are welcomed, embraced, and used as learning opportunities.
I couldn’t be more proud of the loving, supportive, yet structured, community we have built as part of the process of building The Cloverleaf School, and I am eager to see it grow and deepen.