Why This San Jose Parent is Thankful for Rocketship’s Inclusive Integrated Special Education
By Rosemary Scott, Parent at Rocketship Discovery Prep
My husband and I decided to leave our top-rated district school 2.5 years ago. My son, Jalen, had just completed his end of year Individualized Education Program (IEP) and we walked out of that meeting feeling defeated and not heard. Once again, they couldn’t tell me with certainty which school location Jalen would be at because they needed an “open classroom,” which wouldn’t be determined until all mainstream students were enrolled at their schools. It truly hurt me knowing that my son and children like my son were not a priority.
Jalen was not being served with the proper tools or guidance to help him succeed. We were on our own to find a county that had a program for children who are on the spectrum, have learning challenges, and serve children with disabilities.
Feeling hopeless after this interaction, my husband and I were seriously considering moving to Texas. We are both born and raised in California with immediate family living in and around the San Jose area. I couldn’t see us leaving our beautiful state, family, and friends. I was having a hard time believing there was not one school in San Jose, the heart of Silicon Valley, that would include my child in mainstream classes and treat him fairly and not like a burden.
A few days later, still frustrated, hurt, and desperate, I reached out to a friend who had her children in a charter school. I really knew very little about charter schools, but I remember her mentioning her children’s amazing school. She began to tell me all about Rocketship Public Schools and their stance on inclusion, their Individualized Learning Plans, and all about Rocketship’s core values. Then, I reached out to my sister-in-law who practices high school education law reform at a nationwide level and was able to give me more information about Rocketship. My heartache quickly turned into excitement!
I began to research everything about Rocketship. Then, I applied and hoped that at least one of the five schools I applied to would call back.
Weeks later, I got the first text. We were accepted at one location! Within minutes, my husband called me asking what I had signed up for as he too had received a text. I hadn’t told him about my application because I didn’t want to give him false hope. But, the minute I told him about our text from Rocketship he was excited because he had also heard of them and had just begun his own research.
Within the next few days, we were added to the lottery at a few more Rocketship locations. We were elated to have choices for our son! We were riddled with excitement for the new school year to start!
So, here we are, more than two years into being Rocketeers and everything we had fought for prior to Rocketship has been given to us from the jump and without hesitation. Our dreams were made a reality by our wonderful TEAM. This team, led by Ms. Esme’ Freeman, the Integrated Special Education Teacher/Case Manager with Rocketship, all of his teachers, para-professionals, principals, speech and occupational therapists, support staff, coaches, and art and science enrichment teachers continually lift Jalen up. They rally around him, hold him accountable and most importantly love him whole-heartedly.
It’s this very team that helped Jalen believe in himself when he got stuck on a particular STEP reading level. His team at Discovery Prep had assured me they would get him over this hurdle with support and through his individualized learning plan. So, when the day finally came that my son stepped up, he was beyond excited. The entire team had rallied for Jalen in good times and continuously followed through with him during times of struggle. I had no doubt when he STEPed up there would be screams of excitement, jumping up and down, and many hugs and tears of joy. Just as I hoped, there was.
“Today was the highlight of my few weeks at Rocketship Discovery Prep!” said Assistant Principal, Ms. Brittany Myers, after Jalen STEPped up. “I have never in my career witnessed reactions quite like this and an entire TEAM of people who were living this joy right along with Jalen!”
Sometimes we wonder where we’d be if we didn’t find Rocketship. We try not to look back. It was too painful at times…so we look forward and realize how lucky and proud we are to be Rocketeers.
We are beyond grateful and thankful for every single person working at Discovery Prep and Rocketship Public Schools. We march forward knowing we found an exceptional educational foundation for our son now and for his future. As Rocketship educates Jalen, they allow me to also advocate for my son and children like my son. They hear me and value me as a part of this amazing movement benefiting our community, our children, my son, and children just like him. It’s a double win for us! This is all we ever wanted for Jalen, and we’ve found it in our own backyard.
Published on December 2, 2019