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I have had two children who attended Barton from kindergarten to eighth grade,

Both of our children thrived in the open environment, the teachers really met their needs and paid attention to them as a whole person. My children are at the high end of the academic scale, they often needed more and faster opportunities to learn. The open philosophy with its attention to the individual, allowed the teachers to supplement and broaden the curriculum so that there was always something more they could be learning and doing. I am very uncertain that their needs would have been met in a more traditional environment and I don't know if they would have remained in Minneapolis Public Schools for their whole educational experience.

We are very proud of our senior who has gone on to be a National Merit Finalist, has taken upper-level classes at the University of Minnesota and has been accepted at top colleges across the country. Our freshman is taking challenging classes in high school and takes calculus through the UMTYMP program at the University of Minnesota. Barton provided the love of learning and the foundation that has allowed them to achieve at these levels. Gifted learners need more than a traditional classroom can generally offer and a one hour a week program at school will not be enough to keep them engaged in learning. A flexible program like the open program is ideal for those learners and will excite them about learning, help them to more forward and achieve as our children have been able to do.

I have seen Barton meet the needs of learners at all parts of the learning spectrum and serve them well. I am sure other parents can address their experiences at other parts of the spectrum. I think it is essential that MPS maintains programs that allow for the variety of learning needs of its students. There needs to be a place for students who don't fit the traditional curriculum to fit in.