Letters to the Editor

Feedback: Alternative breaks status quo

I find it really is time to start helping dispel the myth about Bayview Alternative High School, on the south end of our island. As a family in Coupeville, we are more than grateful for the opportunity to send our children there. Our children have experienced school life at Coupeville Elementary, Middle and High School, but because I’d like this to remain a positive letter, I won’t go into details of what our family experienced. There are several excellent and dedicated teachers in the Coupeville school system, and our children were blessed to have them touch their lives. Suffice to say though, that for our family, the bad far outweighed the good here in Coupeville.

Too often, when someone hears that our younger son attends Bayview, the comments we get are appalling. People hear the word “alternative” and seem to immediately think: schools for bad kids, schools for kids who can’t mainstream, schools for kids who can’t fit into a normal school and worse. The truth is much the opposite.

Several years ago, when we found we could no longer tolerate the situation at Coupeville High with our oldest son, we paid a visit to Bayview. What we found was an incredibly joyful, creative, education-filled, brain-challenging and happy place. It made me wish I was back in high school. Since then, we have witnessed first hand just what the environment at Bayview brings forth. The mutual respect between the teachers and students is extraordinary, as is the respect each student shows for their fellow students. Individuality in each student is not only allowed and encouraged, but also celebrated. We rarely saw any of that at the “normal” schools. Bayview truly brings alive the spirit of thinking for one’s self. Far more than just teaching reading, writing and arithmetic, Bayview delves deeply into life-skills, so that these young adults leave school much more prepared to take on the world. There is also a lot to be said for having the same teachers over the course of four years. Teachers and students are really able to get to know one another and form bonds that will assuredly leave lasting impressions on both. Bayview is a gem of a school, and the students that attend there are bright, excited about learning and involved about making decisions about their future.

We feel so strongly about this, that we are homeschooling our 10-year-old daughter, and will do so until she reaches the age she can attend Bayview. We also do appreciate the incredible Cedar Program, in Coupeville for homeschooled kids.

Way too often in our society, “different” is equated with “bad,” and teenagers who attend alternative schools are considered to be “less than.” It really is time to stop this type of closed-minded thinking. I would encourage anyone with a child near high school age to pay a visit to Bayview, to see first hand what it’s all about. Stop making assumptions and take the time to really see for yourself. Children should be encouraged to learn outside the box, to color outside the lines and enjoy their years in school. Bayview clearly gets a four-star rating from us.

Luanne Raavel

Coupeville

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