My name is Rosezellia Strong and my son, D’evious Strong is 16 years old, and a junior in high school.
We are new to school choice and the ESA program. I heard about it through the radio. The ads were saying, “Are you tired of the way public schools are treating you? Are you tired of not having a choice or decision in your child life? If the school is not working out for your kid, then this is your chance to make a difference.” I said, “Okay, I got to do it.” I didn’t originally sign up for it when I originally heard about it, but it came to a point where I had no other choice but to do it.
At first, it seemed too good to be true. When I started inquiring about it, I was happy about it. I was worried because what comes with this? What is this going to do? My child has special needs. How is this going to affect his special needs because most of the public schools provide those services and that was one of my biggest concerns. I didn’t want my child to be left behind because I chose this program. Even though the services were good, the whole public school itself, what it had to offer and how he was adjusting to it, and his needs weren’t being met at the school, that was the biggest concern. He didn’t want to go to school.
D’evious has ADHD and some other things going on where it makes it hard for him to focus. He needs more one-on-one time than what some of the classrooms can offer, in a bigger classroom setting. It was making him anxious and he was getting into trouble. He was doing everything not to focus. If it was too hard for him, he was trying to divert the attention from studies to something else. He was also easily distracted.
Every day, I was so worried about him and his future. Is he going to have a high school diploma? Is he going to survive on that? Is he going to be able to comprehend information in the future?
After I applied for the program, I was contacted pretty quickly and was in contact with a nice lady who checked in with me frequently. The actual process went a lot easier than I thought it would be.
“Now my son is happier, he has a more positive outlook on life.”
It feels priceless to have a program like this available to me. Priceless. Because regular school wasn’t getting it done for my son. I even tried alternative schools in the public school system and it was still too much for my son. It was getting to the point that he was giving up on himself and without this program, I wouldn’t have a way to fight to keep him motivated. This program provided that for us.
Now, we are using the ESA in a couple of ways. We are doing private school online. We are going to do tutoring and some testing that he needs. He also wants to drive. In the area that we live in, they don’t offer drivers ed, but in other areas of the valley, they do. Now my son can take advantage of this where he couldn’t in a public school setting.
Now my son is happier, he has a more positive outlook on life. I’m so happy for the ESA program because it provided choices and outlets that I wouldn’t have, that I didn’t even know were possible. I have applied for other scholarships and awards for my son, but there were so many hoops to jump through that we didn’t qualify for, or not enough for,him to receive. Like I said, this is a priceless opportunity for us. I would tell any mom, dad, grandma, grandfather, guardian of any kid who is having a hard time at school, if the school setting is not right for them; if they’re having a hard time and struggling; if they’re having a hard time getting along with their peers and it’s affecting their work because they can’t function with the outside noises, try the ESA. Try it and make your decision and see what happens from there.