Caila finished second grade in Israel this week. School has always been challenging for us. Integrating a child in a regular class is hard work. From fighting our way into schools, convincing the schools that Caila has a right to be there, teaching the schools about inclusion and finding the right support staff and professionals. That’s just the beginning you then need to deal with curriculum modification, behavior strategies, social integration strategies and educating the administration, parents and kids about inclusion. Its a job for Mama Grissly with boxing gloves.
This was additionally hard moving to a new country where we went from our NY private school with just 18 kids in a class and 3 teachers plus 20 hours of support from a special educator teacher with a masters degree and a shadow. In Israel there are 32 kids in the class with 2 teachers and just 2 hours a week of special education support. Now imagine from my side fighting for all this when you don’t speak the language? Her teacher was an immigrant herself and did not speak one word of English. When you have a child on inclusion you need to speak to the teacher daily. Thank the almighty for google translate and whatsapp.
Caila’s teacher asked to meet with us to have a summary of the year. She presented me with a beautiful heartfelt, laminated letter that I want to share.
The true hero of all this is Caila. A 9 year old little girl who has adjusted to a new country, learnt a foreign and proven to the skeptics that she can succeed beyond all doubts. She is completely fluent in 2 languages, reads and writes both English and Hebrew at grade level, keeps up with school while working so hard and maintaining a happy disposition.
The letter from her teacher generously translated by Karen Prieskel
Two years have passed, full of experiences, in which you performed magnificently after you gave your all with love and dedication that knew no bounds.
To sweet Caila, more precious to me than anything, a sceptre is concealed in your pure heart.
I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your cooperation during the last two years and for your care of and investment in sweet Caila.
For the understanding, the offer of help and the desire to do everything in the best way possible in order that Caila can reach every target in the most fitting and correct way.
You believed that she could integrate into society, to understand, to achieve and to know like everyone else in her class.
You encouraged her and demanded of her and never scrimped in giving of yourself.
Jodi, you are a really special and wonderful mother who does everything for her daughter.
And now, at the end of two blessed years, I can say with all my heart and with great feeling, it was an honour to teach such a smiley, happy pupil, of pure heart and clever, who knows exactly what she wants.
A pupil who integrated, made a great effort in her studies and on many occasions overcame difficulties and also succeeded.
I really enjoyed the time with Caila and it is hard for me to say goodbye now.
I wish you both much luck in the future and that you may derive great pleasure from your daughter.
With lots of love and appreciation,
Originally published: June 28, 2017
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