Faces of Freedom - Sydney

I wanted to reach out and let anyone and everyone how much my family appreciates the Succeed Scholarship. First, let me express that I am a public school employee and a big supporter of our Arkansas public schools. My mother, aunt and mother-in-law are all retired teachers, and I have been employed in the education system for 15 years now as a Speech-Language Pathologist.

My daughter Sydney attended public school from kindergarten until fifth grade, where she benefited from both 504 and IDEA services. However, as her diagnosis of non-verbal learning disability continued to complicate her education, our family reached the decision that our school district could not accommodate her learning needs for her to succeed to her fullest potential.

With lots of prayer and research, we placed her at Access Academy, where she has benefited from specialized instruction, smaller classroom size, open arms for children with disabilities, a peer group and friends. Most importantly, in two school years at Access she has mastered three grade levels of reading and two grade levels of math, bringing her much closer to her age appropriate level. Please take my daughter’s story into account before there are any decisions made about changing funding the Succeed Scholarship.

Professionally, I support The Reform Alliance and the Succeed Scholarship; however, there could be a need to review the eligibility criteria for the scholarship. A student who has a speech-language impairment should be adequately serviced from their local public school, and currently students with that eligibility category qualifies for the Succeed Scholarship. As in the case with my daughter, there was truly a discrepancy between what services and individualized education she could benefit from by moving to a private school.

Thank you sincerely for your time, attention and support of our Arkansas students with disabilities. They are valuable and deserve only the best educations they can receive.

– Lauren, parent

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