Support and Flexibility

Scott's son Jackson wanted to find a school where he would be supported for the unique learner he was, while also being able to make true friends. Read below what he found at Fusion.

By Scott M

Fusion Princeton

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Why Fusion

Jackson's family wanted to find a place where they would work with him on academics in a way that he understood, and also provide a safe environment where he could make friends. They found that and more at Fusion.

Anxiety and Fear

My son, Jackson, came to Fusion Princeton in September 2016. The two years prior he had been homeschooled by my wife and several different tutors with minimal success. At that point, we were just happy to have him home rather than continuing the nightmare of exclusion, misplacement, and disappointment at public school that he had been living since kindergarten. Although he was ok with homeschooling, he wanted to be around people and have an opportunity to make friends. We didn’t know where to go.

We applied to several private schools that his Psychologist had recommended, but they weren’t interested in a kid that hadn’t been in a real school for two years. We were beside ourselves, here he wanted to go to school and we couldn’t find a place that wanted to take him. The last place that had been recommended was Fusion, simply because it was an hour plus away from us, but we went and looked anyway. We met Christine Drucker (Head of School) and Brendan Cartlidge (Director of Admissions and Outreach) and a few other people and walked around the building. We were so impressed and it felt right from the beginning.

Jackson declared on the way home in the car that he wanted to go there! Things are usually pretty black and white with Jackson and he knew what he wanted. We knew the logistics would be tough, but we didn’t care and we thought that Fusion might give him a chance. Jackson has a diagnosis of Asperger's and has suffered from extreme, disabling anxiety his entire life. He is also a sweet, handsome young man, who desperately wants to be a regular kid. When he arrived at Fusion, he was broken, he didn't have any real friends. He was scared to death of social interaction and had almost no self-confidence. He was excited but extremely scared at the same time.

First Fusion Day and Beyond

My wife will never forget the 1st day when he refused to get out of the car. Christine Drucker came out to the car and sat with him talking for at least half an hour about how so many kids were scared when they started and that she understood and that they would take things slowly and go at a pace that he was comfortable. Eventually, Jackson got out of the car and followed her in and since that day he has never looked back! He still suffers from anxiety, but he knows that he can trust his teachers and the administration and that they care about him.

The flexibility that Fusion provides has been invaluable. When Jackson arrived at Fusion he could also barely write. He has a dysgraphia diagnosis and over the years he would do just about anything he could to avoid writing anything, despite having tremendous creativity and great ideas. We were once told by a public school psychologist that his IQ dropped 20 points just by putting a pencil in his hand (wrap your head around that comment if you can?). His language arts and English teacher at Fusion changed all of that. Less than two years later, you would hardly know he has dysgraphia at all. Jackson loves to read the books that she assigns and writes much like a regular 15-year-old. She is also a trusted support for Jackson whenever he is having a tough day. She is the kind of teacher and person who can change a child’s life, she certainly changed Jackson’s.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention two other teachers that Jackson has had since day one. Kyle Fennimore is Jackson’s Math Teacher. Jackson has come so far in math with Kyle it is amazing. Kyle challenges Jackson the way any great teacher does, but he does it in ways that are achievable and he gives him the positive reinforcement that makes him want to work harder and harder. He is also a friend and support for Jackson. Finally, Lauren Randall is Jackson’s Science Teacher. Lauren is blessed with the kind of personality that makes kids want to be around her. She is so much fun and great at incorporating everyday life into her science projects. Science has always been Jackson’s favorite subject and it always will be while Lauren is his teacher.

I could go on and on, I really could. Bobby, his music teacher who went out tour with his band over Christmas break, is teaching him to play drums and Jackson and I downloaded his music from iTunes! Donald Van Antwerpen is Jackson’s Japanese Teacher. We never dreamed that Jackson would want to learn Japanese, but Donald subbed one day last year for another teacher and Jackson liked him so much that he wanted to try. Even Brandon, his gym teacher last year was wonderful and happily granted Jackson request to teach him boxing. He has not had a teacher that we didn’t love! Typically, great teachers come from a great administration and that is what Fusion has in Christine, Lisa, Brendan, and Erin for sure.

We still would like Jackson to be more social, but that is something that the school is always working in with him! He now has two very close friends that he hangs out with and texts on a daily basis. They share many of the same anxiety issues and difficulties that he has and they all joke about it with a wisdom beyond their years. All three know what rejection and loneliness feels like from their past school experiences and all three love their school.

85 %

of parents report that their child is more successful academically since attending Fusion.

90 %

of parents say their child feels emotionally safe at Fusion.

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