Eva Scott was no stranger to the Peace School of Hope when she began her career as a teacher there. Her parents, Jim and Mary Kenneway, were dorm parents at the Barrydale Dorm, which was the residence for students at the school. Through them, Eva had become involved in school functions and had developed a respect and rapport with the people who were a part of the innovative school.
The Kenneways were live-in parents at the dorm after their own children had grown up and moved away from home. They had a small suite at the front of the building on the west side. The suite was so tiny that they barely had room for their chairs, but it didn’t matter to them, they just really enjoyed the experience, as far as Eva recalls.
There was always a lot going on at Barrydale Dorm and the Kenneways tried to create a very special place for the kids. Under their care, the dorm was a happy environment despite the difficult problems that some of the residents were dealing with. Eva took her young children to visit their grandparents at the dorm and they came to know the children who lived there as well. She says they looked forward to those visits. The Kenneways often brought children from the dorm to visit with Eva and her children.
Eva says she learned so much while teaching at the Peace School of Hope. Her first impression was that the staff was very positive and welcoming. Iris Pollock was the Principal of the school. “Iris was wonderful with the kids. She set a tone of acceptance and learning.” Eva remembers a very nurturing environment, with the children as the focus.
Iris ensured that activities and programs were centered on the particular needs of the children who were attending the school in each year. There was a “depth of dignity” that was a part of the culture of the school. The students were not considered “sick” but were regarded as “there to get the very best education they could.”
Eva says that Iris Pollock was one of the most significant influences on her in terms of pursuing a career in teaching. “She made a real impression on me. The natural ability and the natural instincts that she had were just marvelous.”
The difficulty Eva encountered in the work came when she was dealing with the complex needs of the children involved. Part of the challenge was to find meaningful activities and programs that addressed the living reality of the kids and yet still was appropriate for the students and had an element of fun. “The gains are minute and the struggles the kids go through to make those gains is sometimes very touching because they try so hard.”
Teaching at the Peace School Wing of Montrose Junior High School was a very special experience for Eva. The staff at Montrose had done a great job in promoting the arrival of the Peace School and making them a part of Montrose. “They received us well.”
Junior High students were offered an option to spend a couple of periods a week helping out in the Peace School Wing and Eva is happy to see that some of those students have gone on to become teachers in the district since then.
Integration took the form as “acceptance rather than inclusion.” Eva has reservations regarding integration of handicapped children into the public school system. They stem from her experience with the Peace School, which was segregated for the better part of the time she was involved there. “We lost something precious and really important.”
I know what we did as a discrete program and I know the enrichment that the kids got out of it. That just can’t happen in an inclusion model.
Comparing the experiences she had as an inclusion teacher, Eva finds that there was no way that there was equality in programming and attention to the kids when they were integrated into the public system. “Maybe they made progress socially, but the gaps and the differences cannot be changed by putting handicapped children in the public school system.” In Eva’s opinion, inclusion is really important for some kids, but the price is high.