Springer parent Lauren Glenn knew from her son's earliest months that he would have challenges with learning. Nick was born with a genetic disorder associated with learning disabilities. A strong believer in public schools, Lauren was very active in the life of the local elementary school and a determined advocate for her son from preschool through fourth grade, when the Covid-19 pandemic sent students home to learn in a virtual environment.
"We struggled through the spring, hoping to be back in the school building in the fall. But when the kids started the new school year at home, my husband and I realized quickly that virtual learning doesn't work well for any elementary student," said Lauren. "I did the best I could to arrange private tutoring and to ensure Nick's IEP was being followed, but the school displayed little flexibility in meeting Nick's needs in this virtual environment. Every day he was losing a little bit of the confidence he had as a learner."
Lauren had known about Springer through a neighbor whose daughter is an alumna, and she always thought she might have to consider Springer for middle school, but the pandemic made the need for a different solution urgent. "Nick cried every day before school, and again in the evening at homework time after spending all day trying to focus in front of a computer," Lauren remembers. "He complained of headaches and stomachaches, and he was visibly anxious. It became clear we had to try a different approach."
From her first visit, Lauren had the sense that Springer offered the solution Nick needed. "An education at Springer is so personalized," she said. "It's like having a private tutor in every subject, specifically for my child's needs, but in a school where he can have art, music and P.E. classes, recess, and daily contact with teachers and peers."
Nick's experience of the change in schools was like night and day. "At Springer, Nick has never asked to not go to school, and he is in a good mood at the end of every day. He still doesn't love to do homework, but it's clear that the work assigned provides valuable practice - it's not busy work or work that requires learning new concepts."
"If I could design a school specifically for Nick, it would be Springer," Lauren said. "I realize now that he needed to be here years ago. Beyond help with Nick's academic issues, he is learning how his own brain works and how to advocate to get what he needs to learn."
"Springer has been our saving grace and has taken a weight off our shoulders."