Friday, March 11, 2011

Visiting Midland

It was parent visitation day at Midland. Although I am there often, it was a chance to sit in Ethan's class with him, participate in an activity, hear a lecture and eat lunch with the kids.
The first thing you notice about Midland is that it is situated on a beautiful, secluded, 54-acre property. The grounds include little rolling hills, walking paths (alot of the kids walk everyday in a structured walking program), gardens, basketball courts, a soccer field, and the crowning glory - a brand new pool! There are tons of grassy areas, a picnic grove and a large play-park called "Rainbowland". The physical plant reflects many of the core beliefs of Midland, including a huge emphasis on physical activity, and a holistic, hands-on approach to education.
  The school itself is in immaculate condition with bright, open hallways, a state-of-the-art gym with a rock wall and a stage for the schools many performances. It boasts a brand new professional kitchen used by the younger kids for cooking and the older students for job readiness. It has an 'independant living suite' that has a bedroom, kitchen and sitting area used for all types of independance skills (thanks, now Ethan is trying to do *my* laundry!) as well as sleepovers (Ethan will attend his first is May.) Midland has every type of opportunity for Ethan and his classmates - including a top-notch woodshop. Their sports/physical eduction program and staff is award-winning.

Everything I have mentioned ranked very high when we considered where Ethan would be spending 6 hours of his day. We saw other schools that had very good programs, but were housed in what we considered terrible locations/buildings. Many of the school's teachers have been at Midland for 10, 20 and 30 years! Staff there seems very satisfied and we have experienced teachers who truly understand children with special needs (and their families). The academic program is a very good match for Ethan's needs and our desires for him. There is a 'no-homework' policy! We are grateful. This is the view from the window at Ethan's desk.

His classmates vary in their needs and abilities - I feel that gives Ethan someone to be empathetic/helpful too and someone to look up to. We feel that private special education gives Ethan the chance to rise to the best of his abilities in a setting where he is never "second best". His peers have similar needs and desires and deep, lasting friendships (and marriages!) are formed at Midland.

No one 'sits the bench' at Midland (metaphorically speaking), but each student is encouraged to participate in the capacity the he or she is able. Teaching staff is geared and ready to assist each student in a small class setting with experienced support staff. Now I sound like a commercial! This is Ethan's first year in the high school. His teacher has provided just enough support to help him mature and gain new academic skills, but not so much support that he isn't required to 'rise to the occassion'. You can tell we love it, we can tell Ethan loves it. Is it perfect? For Ethan and our family - it is.


  1. Just perfectly written. Thank you.

  2. We are truly blessed, aren't we? Thank you for writing such a wonderful article.

  3. From my sister - I was only there for a few brief hours but what I saw, and the feelings radiating from all that were there, made me realize what a wonderful environment the school is. I think public schools for main streamed children should learn from them. Very nicely written, please let her know that.