We don’t get many parent testimonials so this one is special in many ways so we would like to share it with everyone. Thank you to the mother who wrote such sweet words! We are thrilled to see our programs creating/supporting those in our communities!
April 14, 2023
To: DCPS Board
Re: The positive impact of the AHS JAG program
Ladies & Gentleman,
I’m the mother of three students either currently or formerly educated by DCPS. My experience with each child as they progressed & continue to progress in their education has been unique for each child; with the most challenging experience being the education of my son. He is currently a junior at AHS & a participant in the JAG program.
Since 2009, it has been a hard-fought battle for him. He had 504’s, IEPs, truancy letters, was homebound, home schooled, hospitalized, withdrawn, transferred to OPS, then Montessori & ultimately back to DCPS his freshman year. For 14 years we fought daily, nearly every semester I received threats of truancy… despite his educators & I trying everything humanly possible to get him there & keep him at school.
Magically, year 14 arrives, now an 18-year-old junior in the JAG program at AHS, my son is thriving, engaged, present, learning & committed to graduate in 2024. No negotiating, no major anxiety or panic attacks, no physically trying to get a 250-pound boy to go to school. My son is now ready to learn, more organized, more responsible & participating actively in his education for the first time ever. He has gained a new purpose as an officer in the JAG program & he is committed to group projects he would never attempt before. The difference you ask? The JAG program & its leadership.
Once suicidal over the thought of going to school, he is now chairing events such as the JAG Blood Drive & Bone Marrow Registry. In addition, he helped organize a benefit for an AHS teacher recovering from a bone marrow transplant. My autistic, twice exceptional, zero executive function, anxiety ridden, extremely intelligent son with a writing disability & a processing disorder is now a leader.
At some point this board will be tasked to evaluate the effectiveness of the JAG Program. When that time comes I pray you will remember my son. The opportunity to thrive & experience successes that he never had before were made available to him through this program. As a mother you never give up on your children, instead you pray every day for your child to reach their full potential. Watching your child struggle to attend, much less succeed in school, is heartbreaking because every day is a battle. I wish I had a dollar for every time I told him, “I love you, I am on your side even when it doesn’t feel like I am, never forget this,” as I shoved him out of my car! The JAG Program changed our lives. He is visiting colleges, has big dreams, & a will to succeed. I attribute this to JAG & its specialist. As you evaluate, please remember the most powerful impacts are immeasurable. I am forever grateful.
~ His mother