I wanted to send this to thank everyone there for the amazing work you all continue to do on a daily basis at WillowWood. I was thinking a lot about the school recently, as one of the families who I've been singing your praises to (through a work friend) just sent their son to the lower school about a week or two ago after they attended the open house to check it out for themselves.
Over the course of the pandemic, I've had ongoing conversations here at the hospital about the school system and the struggles many parents and kids continue to have. I made strong praises for WillowWood and the topic of "you get what you pay for" came up. Although I understood where this was coming from, I took a step back and thought about that for a long moment,
We've been lucky enough to have the ability to send [my son] to WillowWood since grade 7. I cannot say enough about the school program itself, which is what we "pay for", but the school and staff are beyond what a typical "customer" would expect. I know it's your "job", but you all go above and beyond this role. This is seen in the little things you do and the relationships you build with the students and families of the school.
[My son] comes home regularly to talk about the support he gets from his teachers in the classrooms, but what I find more important, is the connections he's made. This goes beyond his teachers to the school staff as a whole, including the staff in admin, the cafeteria and custodial services. There isn't a staff member who he doesn't seem to know and acknowledge when he sees them. There are stories of chess games with Adam, discussions about his Crocs from Matt and random hallway chats from teachers across the school who aren't even involved in his day-to-day teaching. He has become a friend with everyone there, yet the level of respect for his teachers is ingrained so it facilitates a positive learning experience. It is a hard balance, but I believe this is a skill set that WillowWood has been able to build into their atmosphere. This connection is what sets WillowWood apart from any other teaching facility I have the knowledge of.
So once again, thank you to everyone in the WillowWood family and I wish you all a happy holiday. It is well deserved. I have a huge shout out to give to the admin staff, who I know all too well from some fairly routine morning phone calls about OPN. You are all a true blessing.
With the Warmest Regards,