When it comes down to it, all parents want the same thing: the best for our kids. And when given the option, we will choose to send our kids to a good school that will partner with us and help them succeed.
My family fell in love with Destiny Middle School in Tacoma’s Eastside neighborhood when we first visited. All my co-workers and friends had been excitedly talking about the new local school that had been reaching out to the community and getting to know local families. I got one of their flyers at the Boys & Girls Club where my son spends a lot of time, and I just had to go see what all of the buzz was about.
At the open house, we spent our time talking to teachers and staff who engaged us in lively conversations about our son, what his interests are, and where we as parents hoped he’d end up in college and in life. I learned about the school’s rigorous academic programs and its strong emphasis on college prep. I was also thrilled to hear that they provide transportation. I was convinced. I enrolled my son at Destiny and we haven’t looked back since.
No kid is the same, and as parents we are always thinking about what’s going to be best for our kids and what we expect for them to be happy and healthy. But it’s all fairly straightforward. We’re looking for what is going to serve our kids and help them grow into the best versions of themselves. School is no different.
My son is passionate and kind, intelligent and hardworking. My son is a good friend to his peers and loves to be social. Sometimes, he needs a little help focusing on his academics, and so it was important to me for him to be in a nurturing environment where he could learn and grow with teachers who understand him and care about him as deeply as I do. Ultimately, this was my only criterion when choosing where to send him to school, and we found the perfect fit in Destiny Middle School.
I’ve gotten to watch my baby grow there. I am comforted to know that he is in a place with a college preparatory learning environment that provides him with the structure, discipline, and encouragement he needs to perform well academically. His teachers know him by name and support him through the highs and lows that come with middle school. He is already thinking about his long-term career path and I know that no matter what path he chooses, he’ll have every opportunity to get there. At Destiny, he is surrounded by good role models who will unconditionally support him in anything he decides to pursue. I am heartened to know that more than 20 Destiny eighth graders have been accepted to selective public schools in Tacoma and that my son is one of them.
As a parent, I am nothing but grateful for the ways Destiny has kept me involved in my son’s education. Whenever I call with questions, they always answer. My son’s teachers consistently keep me informed on his progress, and we work as a team to ensure that he has the support he needs to do well in school. It’s not just me – I know many parents at Destiny who share my gratitude. The school does so much to open themselves up and bring together parents through everything from local clean-ups to school events. They invest in our families as much as they invest in our children.
Trust me, I know there is some hostility around charter schools. But I hope we can see past politics and instead focus on what this school means to people like me and my son and my family. At the end of the day, it’s a good school that has helped local kids grow and learn. My son is happy, healthy and heading to high school next year prepared to work hard. He has the most wonderful community at Destiny cheering him on and that’s all any of us could ever ask for.
Imelda Santana is a parent at Destiny Middle School, a Green Dot Public School.