Distance Learning Success!

Over the last year, when people have asked me, “How are the ‘kids’?” my heart has warmed. For the first time ever, they were all thriving. They were all happy. Then, 2020 rolled around. We were met with tragedy. Then our nation was met with something unknown to all of us. In a few days, Coronavirus morphed from something half a world away and took over our daily lives. We were not really prepared. 

Digital, or distance learning, was never something I had considered for my two students who have found a home at Brookwood Christian Language School. It had been a “happy place” for my eldest but my younger two students have been happy or successful but not both and at the same time. There has always been a struggle somewhere. What would this mean for them? 

I am watching friends with students in a number of settings really suffer with the “new normal” but while my two would much rather be physically at school, they are still learning. They are still ENGAGED in learning and they are as happy as it is possible to be at this time. I credit their teachers and the staff at Brookwood. 

Please let me walk you through the day of a lower building student and an upper building student who are both new to Brookwood this school year. 

My middle child is in the upper building. He is in the 10th grade. He has Biology, Algebra, Latin, Writing, British Literature, and U.S. History. He has a dashboard for each of his classes. His teachers all have their classes set up to meet the needs of the particular section each student is in. I can only attest to my son’s classes but they use Google Classroom and Google Meetings for “live lessons” at regularly scheduled times. It means that even in this flexible and fluid time he still has a routine. This is great for him because he is able to keep on target and up to date. 

He gets a daily status report and so do I. He gets real feedback via a live lesson or in an email depending on the class. Especially for a writing class that uses peer review and a Latin class, the ability to have spoken real time communication is key. The opportunity to discuss material in literature is also very important. Each student, guided by the teacher, brings valuable insight and personal experience and ideas to the discussion. He is still drawing and doing hands on activities for Biology. He is still getting instant feedback in mathematics. He is still going on virtual field trips that so many of  us have now experienced. 

Even though this is not the sophomore year he or I had anticipated, his world is still being enriched. He is growing and I would say meeting the situation better prepared because of the way the teachers have worked to structure this new journey to resemble the classroom as closely as possible. That is not to say that they are not flexible. We all know now how challenging “work at home” can be especially when everyone is home and trying to “work” at the same time. Although we are eager for the return to the physical classroom, this time will not have been wasted.

My youngest child is in the lower building. She is in the 6th grade and loves her school. She loves the closeness of the community of the lower building and has never been as comfortable in school as she is now. She has also never worked as hard. She likes the idea of school and she has always done the work but now she is engaged. The distance learning has not dampened her enthusiasm. The teachers are in regular communication. They send emails, make videos that are class specific, set up her dashboard in her learning system, add videos to supplement and are flexible in the way material is completed. She gets up and without being prompted is ready to learn. She still completes all of her assignments. She may do two assignments one day for a particular class and no assignments for that same class the next day but she is in charge of what she does and when as long as she gets it done. She is GROWING. I was so concerned she would not in this time. 

I have to admit, based on our experience pre Covid-19, I anticipated a good system would be in place in short order. What I never anticipated though was that she would have grown so much, in ways that I had not seen, in the classroom and that she would have become self-motivated. This is “hard” even if it is a “hardship”. She is still creating art. Some days she asks to do a different activity even though she will come back and do what has been assigned. Her teacher always embraces her creativity. Her math teacher gently redirects her efforts because she (my daughter) wants to do it by herself. She does not want me to look it over before it is sent because I do not look it over while she is in the classroom. She is writing, in cursive, happily and daily. She has always been writing resistant. She is engaged. Her Wilson Reading teacher has worked tirelessly to make something that should be in person successful. I am so proud of ALL of them.

We were not prepared for this (hopefully very temporary) “new normal” but through the diligence and grace of a team truly committed to the education of their students, the growth will be so much greater than the expected milestones this year. For this, and everything else, we are truly grateful for Brookwood. Even more, we are looking forward to the 2020-2021 school year!

Brookwood Mom, K.F.

Thank you so much for your kind words! It means so much to our staff who have worked so hard to make the unexpected a little more bearable. 🙂

#StopStruggling #StartPerforming #WeCanHelp

“I’m Not Sure Where We Would Be Without This School.”

“Brookwood Christian school is absolutely amazing. This is my daughters 3rd year. She came from Public 2 years ago as a 6th grader when she was 12. Even with her IEP, she was still really struggling in public school. Not that there was anything wrong with the school she attended before but they just simply didn’t know how to teach her.

“She was diagnosed with a language barrier when she was in 3rd grade. School made her anxious and she was spending hours at night on homework. She had trouble concentrating, she was drowning in the work overload and getting discouraged with poor grades. We were recommended Brookwood by someone when I was looking into homeschooling and I’m so thankful to have found them. She still gets to go to school and have her friends.

“I’m not sure where we would be without this school. The teachers are great and they really make learning fun. She has learned and retained more since being at Brookwood than all the years she was in public school. They offer a safe and nurturing learning environment for children. It feels more like a big family.

“My daughter loves the small classroom sizes and hands on learning. She always looks forward to the farmers market in downtown Acworth or walking to the lake. For the first time she really enjoys going to school and to me that is priceless. My whole family is so very grateful that a school like Brookwood exists for those that learn and process information in different ways. This school is such a blessing!!” 

~Ashley Malone, Kaylee’s Mom

Thank you so much for your kind words! And we are delighted to help students like Kaylee achieve their full reading potential. 🙂

#StopStruggling #StartPerforming #WeCanHelp

“Georgia’s Special Needs Scholarship saved my oldest daughter’s life.”

Yet another compelling story about how the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship impacted a family, and why it’s awesome SB 386 passed the house, and now we need it to pass the Senate.

We have so many similar stories with our families that we completely understand their plights and advocate for these types of scholarships.

“Vivian was diagnosed with ADHD and a deficit in working memory in fourth grade. We obtained a 504 plan in fifth grade. This is a blueprint for supporting students with disabilities that allows them to continue learning alongside their peers, but our local public schools lacked the resources to provide that support when she entered middle school… 

“…Our once extroverted, tenderhearted child who was endlessly optimistic became angry, sullen and withdrawn. What she admitted to us later was alarming and heartbreaking: She had begun to have suicidal thoughts…

“…We decided we could not wait any longer and paid out of pocket for a private evaluation with a psychologist to help speed up the process. 

“Once her results were evaluated, the psychologist found several learning differences that would require an IEP. Unfortunately, it would be five months before an IEP would be written and by that time, Vivian had already failed sixth grade…

“…With the aid of the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship, Vivian began private school at the beginning of seventh grade.

“The difference was seen within the first three days of attendance. She began to thrive in an environment that taught subjects in multiple formats and gave individualized attention to her needs. They not only met the requirements of her evaluation but, in many ways, exceeded them.

“…But not all families have those resources. Senate Bill 386, which passed the Senate today, would strengthen the scholarship and break down barriers that families of special needs students face.”

Julia Mitchell Rohan

Read more about Vivian’s Story HERE. We have so many similar stories at Brookwood. You can read Mellie’s Story (our 2019 Valedictorian) in our 2018-2019 Annual Report, as well as HERE, and Blake’s Story in our 2017-2018 Annual Report, both are compelling, and the statistics for students who do not get appropriate reading instruction are grim, and outlined in the Progress Reports in both stories. You can also see the statistics regarding the success of our programs HERE.

Please CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE and ask them to support SB 386 so that all Georgia students with special needs have access to a school where they can thrive, and tell them your story if it applies! 

Get to Know Families Impacted by Georgia’s Special Needs Scholarship.

#SayDyslexia #UntilEveryoneCanRead #1in5

“My only regret is not finding y’all sooner”

One of our Georgia Tax Credit Scholarship donors, who has continued to donate after his son graduated, had these words to say:

“You guys were so good for our son and we went through so many schools trying to find some place he would flourish.

“My only regret is not finding y’all sooner.

“I cannot say enough good things the school/teachers and especially Mr. Kevin.  He made a real impression on my son John.

“As long as the program is active you can expect me to participate.”


David Pereira

Thank you for your kind words and your continued support! Your generosity, along with our other donors, helped raise $42,750 for scholarships to aid our families!

John Pereira, class of 2019

#StopStruggling #StartPerforming #WeCanHelp

Ms. Noelle Tells Her Story to the Georgia Senate

On Wednesday, February 26, the day after Dyslexia Day at the Capitol, Ms. Noelle spoke before the Senate Education & Youth Committee regarding Senate Bill 386 and its possible impact on the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship (SB10). Her story, along with so many others, is so compelling that we wanted to share it. Below is her speech. If you would like your story featured, please EMAIL it, along with a picture.

“Thank you for taking the time to listen to me and my story.


“Let me introduce myself. I am Noelle Smith. I have a BA in Architectural Studies and a Master of Library and Information Science degree. I am a divorced mother of 3 young women, and we live in Acworth. My oldest daughter, Cheyenne, is studying to be a commercial pilot and graduated in 2011 from Harrison High School in Cobb County. My middle child, Charlotte, is a senior at Kennesaw State University and is studying Electrical Engineering and Mechatronics. She graduated in 2015 as valedictorian from Brookwood Christian School in Cobb County. My youngest, Collette, is a junior studying Neuroscience/pre-med at the Georgia Institute of Technology and graduated in 2018 as 4th in her class from Harrison High School. We were a military family for 22 years and stayed in Georgia after my ex retired from the Marine Corps.


“My daughter Charlotte and all the other children with learning disabilities are who I am here to represent today. Let me tell you Charlotte’s story. We had known since she was 5 that there was something going on with her ability to learn letters. They just did not make sense to her. I tried to have her tested at the schools we were at; however, this was immediately after 9/11 so we were transferred to Florida, Virginia, and Louisiana in quick succession. Charlotte received her first IEP in 2004 and a diagnosis of dyslexia.


“In 2006, we moved to Atlanta. Charlotte was in 4th grade. I immediately began the process of having a new IEP issued. At this point, she attended Vaughan Elementary in Powder Springs. She loved school but struggled because she was different and could not read more than simple words at this point. I knew unless she received intensive, one-on-one specialized instruction, she was going to be lost in the public school system and maybe never be able to read. I began to look for a school that specialized in helping students with learning disabilities. I found Brookwood Christian School in Acworth.


“Luckily, Charlotte had an IEP in place and the state of Georgia had just begun the SB10 program. This scholarship enabled me to place my child in a small school with specialized instruction and small classroom sizes. Best of all, all the students had a learning disability of some kind, so everyone was on a level playing field. She thrived.


“When Charlotte was in the 9th grade, my husband and I divorced. He was unwilling to help with her private education, so the SB10 scholarship literally saved my child. I am a teacher and my income was not enough to keep her in a private school. She was able to stay at Brookwood Christian School only because of the SB10 Scholarship. I knew fighting to keep her at Brookwood was worth all the hardships when she began reading books for pleasure. Now she is excelling at Kennesaw State University and has a 3.52 GPA.


“I fell into teaching because my child needed me, and as a teacher of students with learning disabilities, I have seen how the SB10 has changed lives. There are many success stories to hear. There could be many more. I have seen students that want to attend Brookwood Christian be unable to because their families were unable to pay the tuition. Many of these students had a 504. Many returned to the public school system in an attempt to obtain an IEP.  Some were successful at gaining an IEP and were able to enter Brookwood Christian. I have seen several who were unable to obtain an IEP. I remember one such student who dropped out of school. I fear for him. He has fallen between the cracks.


“I ask that you please expand this program to include all children with disabilities; be a part of the success stories. 


“I appreciate your time. Thank you.”

~Noelle Pearson

And THANK YOU Ms. Noelle, for taking the time to advocate for our students and other special needs students!

You can also read Mellie’s Story in our 2018-2019 Annual Report, and Blake’s Story in our 2017-2018 Annual Report, both are compelling, and the statistics for students who do not get appropriate reading instruction are grim, and outlined in the Progress Reports in both stories. You can also see the statistics regarding the success of our programs HERE.

Get to Know Families Impacted by Georgia’s Special Needs Scholarship.

Noelle Smith, Teacher, Brookwood Christian School.

#SayDyslexia #UntilEveryoneCanRead #1in5