[Ed. note: This is one in a series of guest blogs by our Kartini School administrator, Mary Gunesch. With schools returning to at least partial in-person instruction we thought it a good time to focus on this subject.]
When a student begins treatment at Kartini Clinic, we reach out to their school. We find out what they should work on in their classes – what the learning objectives are – and we support them as they work to achieve these objectives. Some teachers tell us to look at Google Classroom where they post assignments; some teachers stay in regular contact and provide extensive information; some teachers provide very little.
We support students, whatever their school’s response (or lack of response) may be.
We had a student who began with us at the end of January. She was a senior in high school; she had two required classes to graduate. We told the school that we could contract with them and partner with them to provide this student (who was very sick) with the support she needed to complete these classes.
The girl’s parents were afraid that she might give up and drop out. They asked for our help.
The patient was in a dark place. She was eating nothing. The doctors were worried about her cognition. They put in an NG tube.
In school, the girl told us she couldn’t concentrate. We gave her a graphic novel to read. She was able to do that.
When we talked to her district, they said they didn’t need to contract with us; they would provide a tutor. I told them that the girl was in treatment all day, each day of the week. They said, “No problem, we can get a tutor who will meet with her in the evening or on weekends.” They said the tutor would call me. When the tutor called, she said, “I can do any day, Monday through Friday.” I asked about evenings or weekends and she said she couldn’t do that.
When I told the school district what I’d heard they said, “Oh, then the student can just wait until she is better, and we’ll give her a tutor then.” I told them that the student did not want to wait, she wanted to finish what she needed to do and be done. The student said she would do the district’s online program. I asked the district about that and they said that program was full so she couldn’t do that. They said, “But if you create a learning plan for her, we will be happy to accept the work she does with you.”
So, that’s what we did. We designed an Economics class and a Senior English class. She read Fahrenheit 451 and wrote an in-depth response. She talked about how it was interesting that it was written over 50 years ago, but it is relevant today, with us spending so much time on our screens. She also studied and discussed what was happening to the stock market in response to COVID-19, and she created a plan for economic recovery following the pandemic.
All along, she was recovering physically, slowly but surely. After 11 weeks, she was well enough to go home.
The Governor had just announced that all seniors who were “on track in their classes and passing” would be done with school and ready to graduate.
Fortunately, we were able to report to her school that she was “on track and passing” in her classes. They were happy to get our report.
Our student graduated this spring.