Where my daughter goes to school isn’t political – it’s personal | GUEST OP

  • Thursday, May 10, 2018 2:30pm
  • Opinion
Kesha Senters and her daughter, Shyla. COURTESY PHOTO

Kesha Senters and her daughter, Shyla. COURTESY PHOTO

By Kesha Senters/For the Kent Reporter

I’ll admit it. I am a very protective – and sometimes over-protective – mama bear. And like all mama or papa bears, I constantly worry about my kids. But on school days, I worry a whole lot less knowing my daughter is attending a school she loves, a school that cares for her just as much as I do, a school where she excels.

Any parent knows that finding the best school for your child isn’t a political decision; it’s a personal one. There are so many important considerations when thinking about what is right for your child’s individual needs. It just so happens that Excel Public Charter School was the perfect fit for my daughter, Shyla.

You see, I know my daughter. I’m proud to say that she has always been a straight-A student, but she needed an environment where she would be challenged to think deeper, work harder, and reach higher while being supported by teachers who would give her the attention and tools she needed to succeed. Of course, I sought a school that would make my daughter feel physically and emotionally safe. I hoped her teachers would understand and care about her as deeply as I do and I wanted to stay as involved in her education and her day-to-day life as I could, knowing that she was going to be OK – in school and in life.

My daughter goes to a school where all of her teachers know her by name. I am a teammate with her teachers, and I always feel welcome in the school. The teachers keep me informed of my daughter’s progress and well-being, and whenever I call, they always answer and spend time addressing my questions. They recognize her strengths and areas for improvement and work hard to make sure she has the resources to succeed academically. They celebrate with her through her milestones and guide her through the challenges – both academic and personal – that inevitably come with middle school. She dreams of becoming a veterinarian, and they are nothing but supportive and find every way to help her cultivate the skills and tools that will carry her forward through high school, college, and beyond in order to achieve that dream.

And that should be the end of this story. My daughter’s happiness with her school and my happiness in seeing my child learn and grow as a successful student is all any parent can ask for when assessing their education options.

Our experience with Excel as a family is special, but it is not unique to us. I know many families at the school who share our enthusiasm and gratitude. And so it pains me that there are people who question the school’s motives or our choice as parents to send our children there.

When we talk about public education, we have to put politics aside as parents. The most important thing is that our kids get the high-quality public education that they deserve and that it best fits their needs. To deny children a chance at success does not make any sense to me.

Like I said, I’m a mama bear and I just want what is best for my child. That is all I think about when I make the choice to send my daughter to one school or the other. I want to thank Excel for all they’ve done for my daughter and my community – and I hope that many other Kent families, today and in the future, get to feel the same way about their children’s education and watch them thrive as mine has.

Kesha Senters is a parent whose daughter attends Excel Public Charter School in Kent.

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