“We don’t brag about what we can do.” I read this on the classroom wall as I toured the new home of The Liberty School. It is part of a set of ideas labeled, “The Liberty Way,” and it struck me because in all of my interactions with the staff, board and families from Liberty, I have noticed a quiet excellence in all they do.
What does The Liberty School do? It is a nonprofit organization that educates dyslexic and gifted students in grades one through eight. They use research-based methods, combined with a caring approach to help kids who have been struggling in school. The dedicated staff and volunteers help them to overcome the dyslexia challenges and find their skills and passions to do exceptional things. These are very capable students, which was highlighted by the Lego robots and other projects we saw in their new classrooms.
Their new school building is beautiful, cozy and a place where anyone would want to be. It was designed with the particular needs of the students in mind, most notably, the 10 individual tutoring rooms that are used to offer each student at least one hour of one-on-one tutoring every school day. The trust and attachment the students feel toward the staff is obvious and has to be a critical component to the students’ success.
Most people understand that reading is an important skill to be able to survive and thrive in our in our world, but many may not realize how strongly elementary school reading competency is associated in making it to high school graduation, avoiding the criminal justice system and having success in a career. The reason is that by the middle of elementary school, children are expected to be able to read, so education from that point on assumes you are a competent reader (reading to learn vs. learning to read).
This type of education is expensive to offer, but Liberty works hard to raise money to help families through scholarships to reduce the cost barrier for those who will benefit from this excellent program. This fits with one other component of “The Liberty Way”: “We don’t leave people out.” Although there are not yet enough funds to assist every family that needs a scholarship, they would love to make that a reality one day.
The Liberty School has occupied numerous spaces of varying quality over the years. The dream of a functional space designed for the education of these children has become a reality. I have always had a strong belief that the spaces around us show people what we value. When a school is attractive and well cared for, it shows the students that they are valued and their success is important.
Congratulations to the Liberty Family for realizing this dream and serving these students in an outstanding way. You may not want to brag about what you do, but that won’t stop me from bragging about you! United Way is honored to have The Liberty School as one of our funded partners. Thank you for Living United!
Lynn Urban is president and CEO of United Way of Southwest Colorado.