LaShawnda Moore is an IDEA parent and first-generation college graduate who truly believes that College is for All. Years ago, while the mother of four was working on her alternative teaching certificate and was homeschooling her children, she saw a commercial for IDEA Public Schools on TV, which immediately piqued her interest.
“College for all really struck me because of my own education as a child,” she says. “Here was this school that says regardless of capabilities or where you come from, all children are going to get to college.”
Moore laughs and admits that she decided to do her own investigating at IDEA to see if all of the claims really did hold up and served as a substitute teacher at IDEA Eastside in several instances.
“I saw something in that classroom that just blew my mind,” she recalls. “There was a special education student who was in a regular classroom, and it was completely inclusive, and I saw him read a whole passage! I had to check myself for thinking he couldn’t do it because at IDEA, he was doing what other people wouldn’t think was possible. That’s when I decided my kids needed to be in this school no matter what.”
Moore applied to the student lottery for her twins’ third grade year, but they were not chosen. She tried again for their fourth-grade year with the same result. She was undeterred and as her son Marquis readied to begin kindergarten, she was able to secure a spot for him at IDEA Walzem in 2015, with the twins joining Walzem in 2016 as fifth graders.
Moore says her daughter Areyanna also hit a milestone achievement at Walzem with the help of Special Education RISE teacher Tina Kazak.
“The first time my daughter came home and read to me, I cried tears of joy because Ms. Kazak got my daughter to read,” she says gratefully. “She was reading at a first grade level in the 5th grade before she attended IDEA; so, Ms. Kazak put together a plan and worked with my daughter and got her to read, count, and to pass the STAAR test for the first time in the fifth grade.”
Moore believes that an education is possible no matter the learning ability of a child, as long as the student is willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.
“IDEA blew my mind with how they helped my daughter with an Individualized Education Plan,” says Moore. “They really do support all students, which is why I send my children there.”