Thursday, May 19, 2011
I've had this post rolling through my mind for weeks now. I'm still afraid I won't be able to put in words what my heart is singing.
There are times when public education gets such negative publicity, and I know there are some poor schools out there, but our public school, Midway Elementary, is a shining example of a true school "community."
You who read here often will know Ellie's personality can rule the world....with all of the energy and with all of her medical needs, it truly takes an entire village to care for her at school. And, we are blessed beyond compare. I have the privilege of working at the best school ever, and we are more blessed that the girls can go to the same school where I teach. And, we only have to drive 1/2 mile to get there.
Before school began, we had a meeting to address my concerns for Ellie's needs. There were so many people there who wanted to be sure they understood her needs, the room was filled to capacity. That care and concern has continued throughout the year.
Every good school starts with strong leadership, and our leader takes the time to get involved with his students. Meet Dr. Todd in his Hawaiin Luau attire with Ellie.
With the opening of the new school, I only had to go to him and share my concerns for Ellie beginning kindergarten, and he brought those to the discussion before school began. He listened and he's checked to be sure her needs were addressed to my expectations.
And, then....there's his assistant, Mrs. Brandi.
She noticed the falls Ellie was having and asked Dr. Tood if he noticed. They both remembered my mentioning infections can cause her to lose her balance more often and came to ask me how her health was. She came to me before the young author's conference to ask how to best help her on and off the stage. She cares for the students in her school.
Ellie gets care daily from the NUMBER 1 nurse, Mrs. Angela:
Not only does she take care of Ellie's cathing needs, Ellie often visits her after school for gum. Mrs. Angela keeps me up to date on her observations of Ellie's urinary health, but she also just plain loves on her!
And, there's Mrs. Sheri...whose not even one of Ellie's teachers.
She was Josie-Tatum's first grade teacher and is now her gifted teacher. But....Ellie just likes to stop by most mornings and some afternoons. Mrs. Sheri even invited Ellie to be guest speaker for her 5th grade class and share what her life is like with spina bifida.
Ellie still visits her pre-K teacher often and the pre-K teacher next door. She likes to stay there and play sometimes after school.
The custodians even take extra special care of Ellie. There is Mrs. Mary, who santizes a restroom just for Ellie, making sure it is especially clean daily before her catheters.
And, one might could say that it is her job, but she humors Ellie after school by allowing her to help push her cart, the vaccuum, or the broom. And, it surely wasn't part of her job description to come to work dressed as the Easter bunny!
But, I've saved the best for last! Mrs. Clough:
She has helped Ellie learn to read. She has politely allowed Ellie's mama to interrupt when she forgot to give Ellie her medicine at home. She yells back at Ellie in the mornings when we drive up and Ellie yells, "Hey Mrs. Clough!"
She blessed this Mama's heart the most on this day:
Remember how excited Ellie was before the Spring Fun Run? She really thought she might win, and I was worried about her. Josie-Tatum was worried about her, too.
Well, look who was "running" with her.
Josie-Tatum went to run with her and her teacher did, too! They both made the whole lap with her, and, though she didn't win, she felt like a winner just the same.
So, if you ever visit or move to south Georgia, you might want to check out Ellie's village.