Nicholas School is a state chartered kindergarten through eighth grade school and is a product of the Rehabilitation Center For Neurological Development. Both are located in Piqua, Ohio. The Nicholas School program helps students with developmental delays and learning disabilities to become more neurologically organized. While neurological organization is improving through the motor program, classroom work is assigned according to the student’s level of ability or is established by an Individualized Education Program (IEP). The students spend classroom time in small groups or in a one-on-one setting with a classroom teacher.
Matthew began attending the Nicholas School in the fall of 2008. After his previous unpleasant experience in the public school system, Matthew was convinced that school was a bad place to be. At first, I was worried how he would react and if he would be able to trust his new teachers. After his first week there, I worried no more. Matthew loved his new school and was excited about all the new things he would be learning. By the end of the first month at his new school, I could see many positive changes in Matthew. He was learning to read, spell, do simple math and his fine/gross motor skills were greatly improving.
I’ve always maintained high expectations for Matthew, but when he began his third year at this school, he surpassed even what I thought he was capable of learning. The first time Matthew read aloud to me from a library book, I couldn’t stop the tears from running down my face. And I’ll never forget the day he came home from school and wanted to discuss the presidential election with me. I was stunned! He was learning about it in his Social Studies class and was very excited about it. I think it takes some pretty special teachers to make academics exciting!
There are many opportunities to participate in some exciting and educational field trips. The Nicholas School students have heard our local philharmonic orchestra, attended plays, visited nature centers and museums. Matthew rode his first horse at a riding center designed to help children with developmental disabilities. They have even visited and learned the workings of a dairy farm. The students were surprised to watch their principal milk a cow!
In the spring of 2010, Matthew was chosen by his teachers to receive the Student of the Year award in recognition of his hard work and the progress he has made. It was presented to him at the annual Spring Banquet held at the Miami County Joint Vocational School. I don’t know who was more surprised, Matthew or me!
In my opinion, it’s his teachers who deserve an award. It was the dedication of his teachers and their willingness to accommodate his learning style that enabled Matthew expand his capabilities.
Since Nicholas School is kindergarten through eighth grade school, the end of the 2012 school year should have been Matthew’s final year. At that time our public school system was still unable to provide an appropriate educational program for him. So the Nicholas School graciously allowed Mathew to return while we continued to work with the school district in an effort to identify an appropriate educational program.
In the fall of 2012 we determined that the most appropriate educational placement for Matthew within our school district would be the developmentally disabled class at the high school. In order for the move into the high school to be a success, the Nicholas School staff then developed and implemented a transition plan.