Gabrielle True: Why MAU needs Quantum Leap and Bridges
On the first day of the school year I reached out to my former teacher, Danielle Crosier, to see when would be the best time for me to come by, as I do every year. I'm filled with so many emotions hearing that the most caring, kind-hearted and dedicated teacher I have ever had the pleasure of knowing was pushed to the point where she resigned. Not only does she live and breathe her job and work herself to the bone, but she loves every second of it and loves all the students she's worked with.
As she was explaining the situation she kept pushing the attention away from her and back to her students. As always, she put herself last trying to explain how much she's hurting, not for herself, but for the current and future students of MAU that are just like I was. Students that need teachers like her to in order to do their best and succeed.
Eight years ago I was pinned as an "at risk youth" because I failed a math class in eighth grade. "At risk youth" meant that before I even started my high school career I was told my chances of graduating were slimmer than most other students. Along with that I was given two options: the first was summer school, the second was the Bridges Program. I had never heard of the Bridges Program and all I had gathered was that it was summer school at the high school and, to anyone who has never been through the program, that's probably all they would think it was.
I picked the Bridges Program solely because it was at the high school and with my high anxiety I figured the couple weeks before school started this would help familiarize me with the school better and make me more comfortable once the school year started. I didn't know it at the time but this was hands down one of the best decisions I have ever made in my whole life.
I have had teachers that cared about me before and I've had teachers that I trusted and felt comfortable around, but up until then I had never had a whole class and environment in school that I felt that way about.
Mrs. and Mr. Crosier took every step to get to know me and all my classmates personally, to learn what environments we strive in and our learning styles. More importantly, they taught us what environments we strive in and our own learning styles. Not only did they go the extra mile to teach us in those styles we learn best in, they explained why it was important to know that you're, say, an introvert who is a auditory and kinesthetic learner. They took the time to teach us how our brains at our ages worked and why we felt things the way we do. They created a bond that I will cherish for the rest of my life, so much so that I made sure every semester I had a class with any of the alternative program teachers, that I had a place I was comfortable in all throughout high school. I kept coming back even after graduating in hopes that I could even slightly help them and their current students the way they helped me.
Every single year since I've met them they have had issues keeping the program going. I have watched Mrs. Crosier jump through hoop after hoop to please the school board and every principal. Every single principal before has given her a hard time, but at least they didn't insult her by not even attempting to understand what it is she and everyone in the alternative program classes do.
She has been doing this for 16 years, not counting the years before while she was volunteering, and the principal can't even show her and her work enough respect to at least look over the data and statistics she has organized and put together for them. If they valued their staff and the students in their school more and took a look at what she provided for them, they would know how much her work and the other alternative program teachers' work benefits them, the school and the population.
One would think that in 2019 we would have figured out that not everyone learns the same way. What about the students whose anxiety is so crippling that they can't function properly in a standard classroom let alone perform their best in one? What about students that may need a little more one-on-one? What about students who work better more hands on? What about the students who have had a rough home life, that tend to act out because they're not being heard? What about the students who simply are so bored of your standardized everything that they don't even try? Do they they not matter? When you treat the people who actually go out of their way to help these students, students that have convinced themselves that they are bad kids or not smart or are a burden because of this standardizing BS, you are showing them that you think they're not valuable which shows how little you care about the students.
I firmly believe if it wasn't for the Crosiers and all the other amazing alternative program teachers that I would have failed. I wouldn't have graduated. I wouldn't have come out of my shell at all throughout high school. I wouldn't have the voice I have right now to say all this. I wouldn't be the person I am today without them. How many kids like me are going to fail or won't be given the opportunity to reach their full potential now just because someone won't listen and doesn't care? The school needs them, young people need them, our future needs them.
Gabrielle True is a former former Quantum Leap and Bridges student.
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