ACS is a savior | AspenTimes.com

ACS is a savior

I wanted to tell all the people in this valley about a wonderful place that I have always known existed, but have only just discovered. The Aspen Community School. I won’t go into details about the school itself because it is irrelevant without all the amazing people involved in it.

I was having some very serious problems with my six year old’s school in September. It was first grade and there was a lot of unsavory behavior (again no details) and a huge lack of supervision on the playground and cafeteria. It got so bad in the first three weeks of school that my son was having panic attacks, stomachaches, and was starting to fight back against some bullies. He found no support in the adults around him and hated going to school. In first grade!

Finally, I pulled him out. I did not know what we would do, but after talking to my friend Jim Stokes (who, by the way is wonderful and knows how much I thank him.) we took our son out of school without having any where else to put him. He sobbed for about 30 minutes after we told him he wouldn’t be going back, because he was so relieved!

So, I called other schools. Aspen Public was very standoffish, and gave no real help. Basalt did not even return my calls. I called ACS. Thank God, they had room. Not only that, but after spending a day there my son asked if he could go to school there. It was not an easy adjustment. But, with the help of Missy Prudden, Chris Faisen, Jim Gilchrist and all of us working together, gradually, my son started to overcome his anger and panic at any conflict. Without these two incredible, amazing, loving but steady teachers I don’t know what we would be doing now. They have shown him ways to communicate and ways to resolve conflict that have turned him back into my happy, excited, affectionate boy.

I feel so blessed to have found this place. Granted, it is not perfect, but for us it has been a savior for a boy who was becoming lost and angry with school.

To me, elementary school should not only be about reading, writing and arithmetic, but about giving a young boy a voice and encouraging him to be himself. I feel like ACS does a tremendous job of shaping the whole person. Every child is given an equal voice and is ensured that he or she will be listened to.

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Anyway, I would like to thank these people and the countless others who support the Aspen Community School. Thank you also to George Stranahan for having the vision to create such a great place for kids to grow up. Because I don’t just want my child’s brain nurtured, but I want his soul cherished and nurtured too. That is one of the many things that is happening in this school.

Thank you to Missy and Chris. You are a blessing to our family, the community and your profession.

JoJo Rafferty

Carbondale