The Student Journey

  • Carroll Connection
Carroll Connection, 2019-2020

This article was originally featured in the 2019-2020 edition of Carroll Connection. In this edition we asked our community members to share their journey before, during, and after Carroll School.

Student Contributors

  • Nadline Vitale, Grade 3, 2nd year at Carroll
  • Michael Anderson, Grade 5, 2nd year at Carroll
  • Lia Silva, Grade 6, 3rd year at Carroll
  • Gab Epstein, Grade 7, 3rd year at Carroll
  • Queton Francis, Grade 8, 4th year at Carroll
  • Alex Shapiro, Upper 8, 1st year at Carroll
  • Ellery, Upper 8, 1st year at Carroll
  • Iris Bishins, Upper 9, 6th year at Carroll


Before Carroll School

Iris: It was difficult because my previous school was trying to help me but didn’t know quite how. They tried a lot of different methods but none of them were working.


Gab: I had in-school tutors 2-3 times a week during recess. I’d see all my friends playing out on the field and wish I was there. I remember always saying, “I hate school.”


Lia: I liked school but mostly because I had good friends. Academically, I really didn’t enjoy it and was not really excited to go to school.


Ellery: In 5th grade, I started to notice that there were some problems. I started not wanting to go to school. When I was there, I didn’t try because I didn’t think I had any potential.


Queton: School was pretty difficult before Carroll. It felt like I had to put in twice the effort as other students. It made me feel like I had less of a brain than the other kids.


Getting to Carroll School

Lia: I remember my parents telling me I got accepted into this school called Carroll and asked if I wanted to check it out. I started screaming, “No I can’t go, I can’t leave my friends!”


Iris: I remember visiting Carroll and seeing all these kids being able to write and do what my 3rd grade class was doing, but they could do it even though they had similar differences as me. It made me envy the strategies they had.


Alex: When I visited Carroll, I was surprised how small the classes were. The teacher was going around the room and making sure each kid was on the same spot. If not, the whole class stopped and they’d go over it all again. I called my mom and said, “I think this is a good school to go to.”


First Days at Carroll School

Nadline: The first day I went to Carroll, I was feeling nervous because I thought everyone would not like me. But I felt confident that I could get through it even if it was hard. I made a friend one day and another the next day. Soon, the entire class was my friend.

Ellery: I didn’t really want to leave my old school because 8th grade is a big year - it’s the year that everyone gets closer. Within a few months, I’m already so close to everybody here - closer than even the friends at my old school.


Queton: On the first day at Carroll, everything felt calmer. It seemed like the teachers were there to help each person as an individual. By the end of the day I was excited to learn more about my new school because I felt like I finally had an opportunity to learn.

Lia: After school I remember telling my mom, “It was awesome. I can’t wait to go back.”



During Carroll School

Ellery: At Carroll, teachers actually want you to get your work done and want you to do well. They get that we have struggled in school and that we’re still working on it. They support you.


Nadline: My tutor has changed me a lot. She has showed me how brave I am. When I can’t believe in myself, she tells me “I can do it.” If I get stuck on a word, she tells me to use my skills. And after I do something incredible, she gives me a hug and says “you are amazing.”

Queton: Carroll is a school and community that accepts all types of learners. It’s a place that has many diverse categories of activities in and out of school and many different paths.


Gab: Participating in class is a lot easier at Carroll. I can communicate the way I want to communicate, versus at my old school where I would have to be more clear on what I was trying to say.


Alex: My English teacher has helped me a lot. She’s developed a lot of ways to help me study and get work done. And she has helped me learn how to do it in the correct order so I can stay on track with my work.


Michael: I like doing projects. At Carroll, teachers tell us we can use our hands and whatever supplies we want. This year, for the Legend of Sleepy Hollow project, I got clay, model magic, string, popsicle sticks, cardboard and built a giant set of Sleepy Hollow.

Lia: The Fab Lab is very cool. It’s just an awesome time to be creative and make your ideas into something bigger.



Moving Forward

Iris: I’m going to take everything that I’ve learned at Carroll and apply it at my next school. I’m taking the reading skills, note-taking, and other strategies my teachers taught me. And maybe I’ll integrate that or switch it up to make it work for me.


WE ASKED: How have you changed as a learner or person?

Alex: Carroll gives me what I need. Teachers come to you before you go to them, when they think you’re going to struggle or when you’re in a situation where you are struggling. They make sure you find a time to meet.


Nadline: Now, my mom always smiles when I read to her. I don’t need anyone to read to me or have someone help me to read. I can just read by myself. I feel proud of that.


Iris: Having dyslexia gives me a reason to work 10 times harder, to strive to get that A on a test or to have great comprehension of a book. Seeing the struggles that I’ve gone through, I know that I don’t want to do that again.


Lia: At Carroll, I feel like I found myself.


Queton: Carroll has made me a more efficient learner. Before Carroll it was very hard to write any type of literature. By the end of 5th grade, journals became my favorite part of writing.


Gab: My reading skills. When I’m going to bed I like to pick up a book. Sometimes I’ll get lost in it and read until midnight.


Ellery: Confidence. I’ve only been here for 5 months and already I have much more confidence asking questions in class. At my old school, I never raised my hand. Now, I’m fine talking to teachers or raising my hand. It’s good.


Michael: I would say I changed because I have more strategies now.



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Carroll School - The Student Journey Infographic


  • Carroll Connection 2019-2020

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