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Scholar Success Stories

Amia Can Show You!

Amia and her father Shawn were proudly featured as the Scholar Success Story in North Side Community School's 2019 Year-End Appeal. We are grateful to them for being a vibrant part of the North Side community.

Amia’s two older sisters did well at the private school they attended, so of course, that’s where her dad Shawn sent his youngest daughter Amia for kindergarten. By the time Amia was in first grade, Shawn saw that she wasn’t flourishing like her older sisters.

“We have this routine where they come home and do homework before they do anything else, and I help them. With Amia, I had to keep reiterating everything. A lot. She wasn’t getting it, those simple first-grade things. I knew something had to change. Her school administrators kept saying she was fine, but I knew she wasn’t.” 

When Shawn found North Side and had Amia enrolled, the news after her initial evaluation was hard to hear. Amia would need to repeat first grade. Her academic knowledge and skills were at the level of a new kindergartner. “It was hard having her start behind, but she had a lot of catching up to do even at that.”

“Amia was placed in Ms. Clark’s class, and man, how I love that lady," said Shawn. "She has finesse. She wouldn’t let Amia sit there and be invisible. She would encourage her and have her be a part of what the class was doing."

We had Amia tested for learning disabilities, but found none. So Ms. Clark, she just dove in deeper. “You can do this,” said Ms. Clark. “You are going to work hard, and you will learn.” She tutored Amia on Tuesdays after school every week. Amia began to spell better, to read better. “Ms. Clark communicated with me all the time time. I would take the class curriculum home so that Ms. Clark and I would be using the same vocabulary when we worked with Amia. It was little things like we both would say “take away” instead of “subtract” so there was no confusion for Amia.”

It hasn’t just been about learning how to read and do basic math. “Amia has learned how to speak up for herself, how to have a voice,” said Shawn. “She still struggles with this to a point, but we’ve come a long way. I knew we’d turned a corner when I overheard Amia talking to my oldest daughter who was frustrated about something.

"Amia told her, 'You have to have a growth mindset.' I asked her what she meant, and she explained it to me and said, 'You can always find another way to try, another way to learn. You don’t want to have a fixed mindset.' I was blown away. She knew exactly what she was talking about and had no problem sharing her knowledge.”

By the end of first grade, Amia was testing at grade level in math and reading. Essentially, she had worked so hard with her dad and her teachers here at North Side, she learned two years of material in a single year. No one is prouder than Ms. Clark and Shawn, except maybe Amia herself.

Amia still attends speech therapy at North Side for a slight language impairment, but aside from that time away from the classroom, she is taking all the same course work and meeting all the expectations of a typical second-grader at North Side where she is now in Ms. Woods’ class.

“Ms. Woods just called me and said that Amia still needs encouragement to raise her hand. She is still shy, but we’ve come a long way,” says Shawn. “She has the best spirit, and she knows how much she has accomplished through her own hard work. I’m so proud of her.”


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