This letter was written by a parent of a student at Minors Lane Elementary and sent to board member Steph Horne on 1/15/16.
My name is Kim Quintela and I have a 7 year old son with Down Syndrome. He is in 2nd grade @ Minors Lane Elementary School.
When our little guy was born in 2008, the news of his diagnosis almost paralyzed me – I could not imagine what his future was going to be like. We were quickly put in contact with Down Syndrome of Louisville and this fabulous foundation showed us just how “normal” (if there is such a thing) our child’s life COULD be. Cole went through First Steps the first 3 years of his life – and then we quickly received the Michelle P. Waiver when Cole turned 3 and his therapies (Speech, Physical, Occupational & Behavioral) continued.
The thought of school was quite intimidating. Our older children are now ages 21, 22, 23 and 24. The two that lived in Louisville were in private schools: Mercy Academy and Trinity. We initially reached out to the private school system – St. Rita was willing to see how Cole did in their school – but we eventually decided there would be more available in the public school system (particularly as far as funding) to assist in Cole’s needs.
We began the task of researching schools online – we saw opportunities for Special Ed classes, Functional Mental Disability classrooms, Collaborative classrooms. We chose 5 schools to shadow so we could be exposed to each of these teaching environments.
Minors Lane Elementary was actually the last school that we shadowed. When we pulled up to the school, it was not overly impressive and I actually made the remark to Mark (my husband) that “this is probably not going to happen”. THEN we walked inside – it was like something on the Andy Griffith show (Mayberry RFD). The kids were all adorable and the instructors/staff were all smiling. The counselor (Ashley Fleming) was one of the most charming individuals I ever met. Such an INVITING environment – I KNEW my child was going to attend this school. THEN – there were a group of children walking down the hall – in the middle of them was a sweet little boy with a rather severe facial disfigurement – the group of children were all laughing & talking and no one seemed to notice anything different about this little boy. I WAS HOOKED.
I had to file a Hardship Transfer because Minors Lane Elementary was outside my district – it was approved. My little guy is actually being included in the typical classroom with an aid. It is so wonderful for him to be exposed to neuro-typical children – and it is good for the other students to be exposed to Cole. When they are exposed to other individuals with Down Syndrome they will already understand the disability. The kids in Cole’s class LOVE him.
My family has truly been blessed by Minors Lane Elementary School. When I received the news that a school board member suggested closing this school, I was heart broken. This board member has probably never visited and experienced this wonderful little school. It would be a travesty to take this education center away from Louisville.
I would like to know what I can do to prevent this from happening.
Thank you for your time and attention.