This is the Schneider-Farris Family's Blog. Keep up with what we are doing by logging into this site regularly! (The reason this site is called "Tragedy and Triumph" is that when I first founded this site, my husband, Dan, had been in a horrible accident, and he recovered. His recovery was a miracle! Go back to the 2005 archives to read our story.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

My Thoughts and Opinion About the Colorado Springs Conservatory's Partnership With Harrison School District 2 and Mountain Vista Homeschool Academy

Colorado Springs Harrison School District 2 and The Colorado Springs Conservatory have a "partnership" which means that Colorado Springs public school kids go to the Colorado Springs Conservatory once a week during the school year and the school district pays for each student to attend the Conservatory's program.

My daughter, Rebekah, and my two other children, Joel and Annabelle, and some of their other friends from Mountain Vista Homeschool Academy were introduced to the Colorado Springs Conservatory and Linda Weise because of that partnership.  

After my family's recent unpleasant experience with the Colorado Springs Conservatory and Linda Weise, I'm concerned that former Colorado Springs Harrison School District 2 students and future and current ones, have been or will be subject to unfair or traumatic circumstances due to interaction with the Colorado Springs Conservatory and Linda Weise.

My daughter, Rebekah, and our family have certainly been devasted and our experience with the Colorado Springs Conservatory is causing us to consider moving away from Colorado Springs altogther since we no longer feel welcome in the city we've called "home" for almost 25 years.

When my kids were in the school Colorado Springs Conservatory Mountain Vista Homeschool Academy partnership day program, all three of them told me about one of the teachers "not understanding" one of the home school academy student's learning disabilities.

In 2011, all three of my chldren told me that they observed a child being belittled several times in front of other students and teachers when they attended the Colorado Springs Conservatory's Harrision School District 2 partnership program. 

That kind of treatment cannot be part of public education in my opinion.

During the home school academy's Colorado Springs Conservatory Parent Observation Day and Open House, I myself observed one of the music teachers being very strict with the Mountain Vista Homeschool Academy students, but I thought it was because that music teacher just didn't understand homeschool kids. 

Afterwards, I told my children in response, when I observed that teacher's behavior, that the Conservatory program was "so good" and such high quality to try to just "deal" with that strict teacher.

I do know that in the past that some of the Mountain Vista Homeschool Academy parents removed their children from the Colorado Springs Conservatory partnership program after their children told them they were scared or traumatized or made to feel bad. I know some of these families well.

In addition, my children told me that they felt that the Colorado Springs Conservatory's "school program" was no where as high quality as the "real" Colorado Springs Cconservatory program. 

After they were in the Conservatory's Fiddler on the Roof ensemble during the summer of 2012, they decided not to attend the Colorado Springs Conservatory's school program partnership for that reason.  They felt they'd learned all they could from the school partnership and saw no reason to continue.

I had hoped Mountain Vista Homeschool Academy would perhaps pay for my children to instead be part of the "real" Colorado Springs Conservatory afterschool weekly program since after experiencing Fiddler on the Roof, they felt they had reached a new "level," but the director of Mountain Vista Homeschool Academy told me that she didn't think Linda Weise and the Colorado Springs Conservatory's board would agree to that option.

After the Mountain Vista Homeschool Academy director asked Linda Weise the above question at my request, we were told that was NOT an option that Linda Weise would even discuss due to the fact that the money paid to the Colorado Springs Conservatory by the school district was less than what the regular Conservatory students paid.

What bothers me is that the homeschool and other Colorado Springs Harrison School District 2 families were told by Linda Weise and the Colorado Springs Conservatory that the programs were identical, so I was disappointed when we found out that we were getting something that was "not as good," but accepted that a public school program may include "cutbacks."

In addition, I learned early that the school district Conservatory students were also not treated as "real" Colorado Springs Conservatory students.

We were told that we were not eligible to audition for the Colorado Springs Conservatory musicals or plays or programs. That was disappointing, but we accepted it and that is the reason we asked my father to help pay for Rebekah to be in the Colorado Springs Conservatory's Senior Company during the 2014-15 school year. We wanted Rebekah to have an opportunity that was closed to us because Rebekah was "just a Colorado Springs Harrison District 2 public school student."

I am now wondering if the partnership the Colorado Springs Conservatory and Linda Weise has with Colorado Springs Harrison School District 2 should perhaps come to an end?  That partnership certainly desvastated my family and my daughter and I've heard that other children and families who have been part of this school district partnership have also been affected.

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Jo Ann Schneider Farris has participated in skating for most of her life as a competitor, coach, and author.