500 success stories didn’t fit here.
You’ll have to be content with reading two of our favorites.
“I’m not going to school!”
It was a daily ritual. The yellow school bus deposited nine-year old Rochel in front of her school and the bawling began. She refused to enter the building, let alone her classroom.
Years of frustration left Rochel afraid of learning, trying, and failing. Her school, a well-meaning, but academically demanding and straight-laced institution was exasperated, and frankly, exhausted. Standard classroom methods weren’t helping Rochel understand the material, read on grade level, or perform skill-based tasks. Worst of all, the label ‘dumb’ was sticking to her faster than a shirt on a sweaty back. Fingers pointed, whispers followed her, and her anxiety mounted. No wonder she hated school.
Fourth grade in the Ichud program was different than anything Rochel had ever thought school could be. Suddenly, lessons included pictures and manipulatives. Difficult subjects like math and Chumash were now made fun with games, centers, and activities. And the teacher’s instructions were super clear and easy to follow. She learned how to read with a special program called Wilson, and she loved reaching her reading goals. Her therapist taught her strategies to use when she got that panicky feeling and helped her think of the best way to solve problems and ask for help. And best of all she had lots of friends, girls who would never dream of calling her “dumb.”
Four years later, Rochel is much calmer and happier. She’s mainstreamed for morning classes at her host school and has a great circle of friends. Her notes are so organized, that even her mainstream friends ask to borrow them!
“Schools with classes of 25+ are usually not equipped to handle learning disablities. But Ichud doesn’t give up on anybody. They capitalized on Rochel’s strengths, taught her at her level, and empowered her to feel capable and responsible. They literally recreated her identity.”
Mr. L., Rochel’s father
From a Zero to a Hero
Avigail cared about doing well. She took copious notes, paid attention in class, and always did her homework. But she still didn’t understand a thing her teachers said, and her grades remained dismally low. So did her spirits.
“In elementary school, all I did was study and fail. I would copy girls’ notes for tests and fail. I would study with my father and fail. I would study with tutors and still fail.“
Her parents were at a loss. Their daughter was bright, ambitious, and popular. She loved learning and had high hopes for herself. She wanted to pass exams, get good grades and take Regents like all her friends. But something was stuck. How could they get her to succeed?
Enter Ichud High school.
“When I got accepted into the Ichud program it was the day before I went to summer camp. I remember having mixed emotions. Part of me was devastated that I was going to a high school where I didn’t know any of the girls. But, on the other hand, I was happy that I was finally going to get the help that I needed to succeed in school and later life.”
Avigail loved the small classes at Ichud, the support provided during tests, and the way the teachers previewed and reviewed the content taught in the mainstream classes. The grade-level material was chunked, clarified, and presented with lots of visuals and graphic organizers. She learned strategies that covered note-taking, test-taking, and study skills.
“When I began ninth grade at Ichud, I remember thinking, ’Wow, I’m able to take notes in class now, I understand the things I’m reading, I know how to study for tests, and I’m actually passing!’ I remember my first report card and seeing scores of A’s and B’s. I never saw such grades in my entire life! I felt so proud and accomplished. And I remember my worry about having friends fading because despite my worst fears I did make good friends.”
Her confidence in herself recovered, Avigail wasn’t stopping there. She was ready to take on the world.
“When I was in the 12th grade, I decided that I wanted to be a Registered Nurse. I knew that I had a long road of tedious schooling ahead of me and I doubted myself many times. But I forged ahead and four years after graduating from high school, that goal became a reality. I passed my boards and became an RN. Now, I work in level one adult trauma, level one pediatric trauma, and a level one stroke center right here in one of the biggest and busiest emergency rooms in the state! I’ve been published four times in academic nursing journals as well.”
Today, Avigail is thankful to the incredible Ichud staff, who supported her, believed in her, and celebrated with her when she achieved her milestones.
“I would never have been able to study or write like I do if it weren’t for the training and skills I received in high school. I owe so much to Ichud.”
Transform struggle to success