Magic Johnson once said, “All kids need is a little hope, a little help, and someone who believes in them.” True, perhaps, but some kids (and their families) need a lot of hope, a lot of help, and many who believe in them. Only when these are in place, will complex children thrive.
From the moment my daughter, Callie, and I went for an interview, it was apparent that the director and staff cared deeply about my daughter’s interests and abilities. I saw immediately that my child’s interests and strengths would be the catalyst for building a student-centered, appropriate curriculum for her. In my daughter’s case, that meant incorporating dinosaurs and the study of large marine animals into her daily schedule. (She’s kind of an expert!) Paleontology and marine biology soon became part of our daily conversations because, sure enough, those were two of her initial courses at Bellcate. At Bellcate, students receive the needed and required math, English, science, languages, but they receive so much more as well. My daughter has been able to develop her interests and skills in art and cooking. She even developed and operated a successful lemonade stand during her first few months at Bellcate. She has had the opportunity to volunteer each week at the Leahy ECHO Science Museum in Burlington, and this has tremendously built up her self-esteem, people skills, and ability to handle unexpected situations. She even joined the Unified Basketball Team and competed in Special Olympics.
Before we found bellcate, Callie experienced an extremely difficult three years in middle school. She had been absent from school dozens of days each of those years due to anxiety and medical issues. She hated school. She didn’t know how to navigate the world of middle school cliques and bullies. At Bellcate, due to the incredible staff to student ratio, she has received the one-on-on and small group support she needed. She enjoys learning again. She has made friends. Perhaps most surprisingly, Callie has surpassed 250 consecutive days of school attendance. I had never dreamed she could make such a turnaround.
At Bellcate, every single staff member is dedicated to the emotional, social, and educational development of the students. I have never been so impressed with any school for young people as I am with Bellcate. (And I have been an educator for over 30 years!)
Honestly, there is too much in my heart, and not enough space here to write all that I want to say in gratitude to the Bellcate staff. They are truly remarkable, and have become an important extension of our family. Daily, they show their kindness, attention, love, and care to Callie, and I no longer look at the clock each hour wondering if she is okay. I know she is in good hands.