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In choosing a school for our children, we approached our options like most parents.

Barton’s diversity as a magnet school and its commitment to the educational value of the arts was also important to us.  We were lucky, we got into Barton and we live within walking distance.

My husband & I considered our own educational experiences too.  I struggled with paying attention in school and was very shy; so was my husband.  He suffered with learning problems for a long time until he discovered he was very good in the sciences.  I attended a variety of different schools in different cities, and where there was a lack of economic and cultural diversity, I discovered an atmosphere of intolerance that dismays me to this day.  We both worked hard to overcome our issues and hold college degrees, but many of our needs were not met in the traditional education model.

Open education has worked well for all three of our unique children.  Two of them attended a modified-Montessori preschool because I wanted their individual development to be taken into consideration & fostered.  This fell in line with what our oldest child was experiencing at Barton.  Our children are thriving in multiple ways; they are artistic, tolerant, and respectful.  They have a diverse set of friends from many parts of the city, and are amazingly responsible about their schoolwork.  One is mildly dyslexic, but often gets straight As.  As parents, we cannot take all the credit for their success, much as we’d like to.  The Open philosophy has impressed us enough for our daughter to start at the South Open program next year. 

Obviously, there are many reasons why children succeed in school, but when a school succeeds consistently and has as many culturally mixed, dedicated families as there is at Barton, don’t we need to look at the educational ideas behind it?  Shouldn’t we look at incorporating these approaches to learning into all public schools so that all children can benefit?