Editor’s note: This article was written by Therese Stockdale, a resident of northeast Denver and the parent of an infant and fifth-grader at Rocky Mountain Prep Creekside public charter school.
Not every school is able or willing to go out of its way to meet the needs of families, but Rocky Mountain Prep (RMP) Creekside, where my son Contrelle has attended for six years, regularly goes above and beyond.
What RMP has done for my family over the years just goes to show how a small school community can be responsive in ways larger schools or districts can’t be.
Contrelle is in fifth grade now. He has been at RMP Creekside since kindergarten. In all those years, I honestly cannot remember one thing the school has done that I would criticize. And four months ago, when I had my second child, the school went way above and beyond to help ensure that Contrelle could get to school each day.
My husband goes to work very early in the morning, so I’m the one who gets Contrelle to the bus stop every day. But with a newborn and the cold December weather, this was challenging. Schools do not normally provide a door-to-door car service for their families, and it’s not their responsibility to do that. It’s unheard of. Still, that is exactly what RMP did. I am so grateful.
For a couple of weeks after my baby was born, the school had a car from the company Hop Skip Drive pick up Contrelle at our home and take him to the school about 20 minutes away. And after school they brought him home. They didn’t ask me to pay for the service.
Once things settled down, I was able to drive Contrelle to the bus and pick him up. But those two weeks made a huge difference, and my son did not have to miss any school.
RMP also made sure Contrelle missed no school last fall, just before the baby was born, when our entire family came down with Covid. RMP Creekside was back to in-person school, so they could just have said that he would have to make up missed work when he recovered.
That’s not what the school did. Instead, they set up a camera in his classroom and got him a computer and he did not have to miss out at all.
I’m also grateful that RMP provides daily bus service through Denver Public Schools. But this year, because of driver shortages, the bus has sometimes run late. I work for a charter school in Far Northeast Denver. To get to work on schedule, I just barely have time to take Contrelle to the bus in the morning.
But when the bus is late, it means I will be late to work. This is another way RMP has gone out of its way to be flexible and help out. When I told Contrelle’s teacher, Mari Peterson, about this problem, she told me that on days when there were bus issues, I could just bring him to school early and he could hang out with her in the classroom.
She didn’t have to do that. She’s his teacher, not his caretaker or babysitter. She could have told me that I had to enroll him in the before-school program, which costs money and would stretch our family budget. Instead, she found a solution.
That’s why I love RMP. The people there always work with families to find solutions to challenges. They are highly organized and on top of things. I don’t think you can say that about every school, or even most schools.