Near the end of her struggle to find the right high school for a son who did not always share her tastes, Tracey Henley was overjoyed to discover that some of her son’s best friends had endorsed her choice, and his resistance had vanished. “So now we don’t have to forge his signature on the form, always a plus,” she said.
Where had this painful sifting of options occurred? Was it some struggling urban district? No, Henley lives in Montgomery County, like much of suburban Washington a mecca for those seeking the best in public education. Her story illustrates that in even the best possible circumstances, parents often have to work very hard to find the place that fits their child. I, like Henley, wonder if there is a better way to do this.
Henley’s son is an eighth grader at Sligo Middle School in Silver Spring. He has attention deficit disorder, but the meds have been effective and through elementary school he performed well above grade level in all subjects. Then he entered middle school and “we were really unprepared for just how much his already-poor executive management functions would collapse in the face of increased expectations,” Henley said.