[NOTE: This article originally appeared in the blog of the Durham Association of Educators. Click HERE to read it and view the photographs.]
Read all the way to the bottom–this post contains a personal challenge to Superintendent Bert L’Homme
If you live in a community long enough, you slowly learn its secrets. There’s the alleyway that connects two major streets and saves you 4 minutes on your drive to work. The magnolias bloom at this time of the year and fill the air with syrupy sweetness. There’s a cool little playground tucked behind these trees at the end of a cul-de-sac. Every place I’ve ever lived has hidden wonders to discover if you’re willing to go out looking.
The more I poke around Durham’s public schools, the more wonders I find. With each new hidden gem, I get more excited to expose all of the amazing things Durham’s educators and students are working on. And today I have the great pleasure of sharing the story of PLC/Holton, the two-schools-in-one secret that serves as one more argument against the inflexibility of democratically-controlled public school systems.
When I first came to the PLC I was said to be a 9th grader (but I was supposed to be a 11th grader), and when I found that out I was sad, mad, and very upset. All the work I had done at my previous school did not count. So Ms. Jones and Mr. Gilfort worked with me and helped me out so that I could get my credits together to graduate. I really love and appreciate them for doing that. The science teacher, Mr. Ristau, put up with a lot from me. Even though we had our problems, he was my favorite teacher. We had a great student/teacher connection. Whenever I had a problem he was there to help me out and he was also a GREAT teacher. All of the teachers at the PLC had a good impact on me and I will never forget them. And I would recommend that school to any student that asked about it. The teachers are really great and they do their best to make sure that each student understands the work and that they are on the right track for graduating.
In 2008, my family was going through a very difficult time (carrying for a parent/grandparent with Alzheimer’s) and as a result, my son was having a difficult time in the school he was attending. DPLC was recommended by one of his teachers. To this day I am very much appreciative of that teacher and especially of the faculty at DPLC. My son and I were welcomed and were give an opportunity for him to achieve his goals with the “understanding and concern” of our family situation.
My son needed an environment that would serve as a more appropriate fit and the traditional schools were not able to do that. I found that in the traditional school setting, the environment was too large and overwhelming and not only was he getting lost in the sauce, but the teachers did not seem to care or care enough to help. It could have been that the schools were just too large with too many students and as a result of this, teachers were focused more on just getting through the day as opposed to really teaching the kids. It was a blessing to have found a school such as Durham Performance Learning Center (DPLC).