When Shelley Moses-Reed sensed that her first grade son, Matthew, was struggling to understand basic math facts, her mom senses switched to high gear. Her worry led to countless sleepless nights and hours of internet research. Late one night she stumbled on to the Woodin Math website, brimming with theory and strategies designed by Landmark’s Elementary•Middle School (EMS) Math Department head, Chris Woodin. There she learned a hands-on, kinesthetic method of teaching number sense and she started using these techniques, and some of her own, with Matthew. He was learning and more engaged, but by third grade he was falling behind again, and Shelley and her husband, Steve, knew that they had to find another solution. Enter Landmark’s Summer Program.
She booked a flight from their homebase outside of Denver, Colorado, to attend one of Landmark’s monthly informational visits. “I knew immediately that this was what Matthew needed to learn important skills that he was missing and to rebuild his confidence,” she said. The family made the decision for Shelley and Matt to take up temporary residence in Manchester while he attended the EMS Summer Program as a rising fourth grade student.
“When we walked in the door on that first day we knew we were in the right place. Everyone was so friendly, Matthew felt accepted, all the students had a similar learning profile, and the curriculum and tutorial were designed for his specific needs,” said Shelley. “We even met five Colorado families we didn’t know and were surprised to learn that people come from all over the world to attend Landmark School.”
They formed fast friendships with families whose children were also in the program. Carpools materialized and evenings and weekends were filled with group dinners, trips to the beach, and playdates.
While Matthew was in school, Shelley worked remotely, maintaining her corporate job and even found time to take classes through the Landmark Outreach Program’s Summer Institute. “Coming to Landmark was so eye opening and affirming. We knew Matthew just needed another approach,” she said.
The Reeds returned to Landmark the following summer and reconnected with friends, and Matt continued to build on skills, understand his learning needs, and become more empowered to take on challenges inside and outside of the classroom.
“The EMS Summer Program was perfect for me. I was really having a hard time in school and couldn’t understand why I wasn’t learning the same way that the other kids were,” said Matthew. “I’m so glad my parents took the chance on Landmark School. It was a game changer for me.”
A Worthwhile Decision
The next year, Shelley and Steve made another challenging decision, to enroll Matthew in Landmark’s middle school program during the academic year where he spent sixth, seventh, and eighth grade. “I appreciate how Landmark helped to fill my gaps so that I’d be able to try a rigorous, college prep high school. Sometimes I think I should have stayed at Landmark for my freshman year, but I can reach out to any of my former teachers for help, especially Mr. Woodin. Just hearing his voice on his YouTube videos calms me.” Matthew continued, “To students thinking about attending any of Landmark’s programs, I would tell them that you’re going to learn skills, not curriculum, and you’ll learn to ask for help and be accountable. It’s well worth it!”