Dear Naomi, Niah, Darcy, Aidan, Sarah, Luke, Eric Lawrence, Eric Lind, Elise, Autumn, Adam, Liam, Alex, Gavin, David, Nicolas and Trevor,
I really enjoyed all your letters. I wish all my students in the past wrote as well and as grammerly as you people did. You showed some really good insights into the book and I can tell you had some discussions about it too.
Some of you asked if I would do a prequel about 'life before Kingsville' by members of the George family. I think that's a fine idea, and in fact I asked the Orca editor Sarah Harvey if I could do something like that but she said we should have had a book like that ready to go soon after the first one. You have to catch the wave, so to speak, and if you miss it the readers don't remember the first book and are not as likely to buy the second. Big oops there! Sal even drew me a picture I could use for the cover of the new book titled "Leon's Story" but sadly, the publisher usually has trained artists to design book covers and the author doesn't get much say in the design.
Niah, Alex, Gavin, Luke and Eric Lind liked the part when Brandon was a time-bomb. Yeah, I liked writing that part because I could see myself doing something like that at that age (but didn't).
Aidan and Elise wanted to read more. Thanks for that! (and I assume those of you like David also wanted to read more) Sarah mentioned getting stuck in the pipe. That part actually happened to me right here in Trenton a few Km from where I live now, only I didn't get stuck for very long.
Elise, Autumn, Eric Lawrence and Alex were very insightful about the themes in the book, especially responsibility and friendship. That is why people like me write. We believe in something and want to celebrate people, even fictional people, who demonstrate those values which are important. Thanks Nicolas for appreciating the part about Brandon getting a job. Working for a good cause is very important but not everybody understands that, so thanks. Yes, Nicolas I have written a fantasy book, but it isn't published yet. Trevor mentioned thinking about planes like Brandon was thinking about his dirt-bike. Keep thinking and planning, and you'll be a pilot sooner than you think, Trevor.
Thanks Autumn, Gavin, Adam and others for the invite to return and visit with you all. I'm sure you'd appreciate it most if I dropped in during a math test or something, but you'd better ask your teacher if there is time left in the school year.
Personally I'd be happy to visit.
Darcy and asked me to tell about some another book I am writing. Just last month I was given the go-ahead to write a new version of Canadian Disasters. It will come out in 2013. This one will include seventeen new stories like the Titanic, the Franklin Expedition, several mine disasters, two mysterious plane crashes, the van crash that recently killed eleven Peruvian farm workers, another van crash which killed five members of a high school basketball team, Polio and Tuberculosis, (which were diseases all over the world, but I will talk about how they affected Canadians). I'm doing the reading now for two of the stories: the Franklin Expedition and Polio.
That's all for now.
Dear Linda and the fabulous staff at Goodwin Learning Centre,
I would really like you to know how GLC has changed our lives for ever.
The difference it has made in all of our lives, even in our home!
Dakota and Tristin actually love school! They are learning. They are being inspired, and encouraged in a way that I thought we would never experience. There was so much missing from their academics when we first came. As a mother I felt hopeless.
I will never forget, Linda mentioning that boys needed to fall in love with learning all over again. And not until then will we really get them to work to their full potential.
SHE WAS RIGHT! And she did just that!
Goodwin Learning Centre has turned my boys into readers, Musicians, boys willing to take on the world. I laugh and smile as I write these words.
And I am crying... It makes me so happy... We are right where we should be. I wish we had made the transition sooner.
I know this sounds dramatic, but honestly this has been dramatic for us. Linda and her team have saved us from a system that was swallowing up our spirits.
I can't say enough good things about Linda and all the Teachers there that make a difference everyday for my boys.
So thank you Goodwin Learning Centre!
For anyone who is considering Goodwin Learning Centre,
You should know, I live an hour away from the school. (that's 2 hours a day driving)
And I'm committed to my boys, their education, and their experience at GLC.
We are in our second year now and wouldn't have it any other way!
Sending my sons, Liam and Gabe, to Goodwin Learning Centre, was the best decision we made for their education. Liam had never fit in socially or academically at public school. At GLC he was part of a group for the first time in his life. His small group was his class, and the larger group was the school. He truly belonged, without having to change himself. That acceptance was amazing his confidence. At the end of year perfomance he sang in from of all the parents. I almost fell off my chair I was so shocked. He was very nervous, but he had volunteered to sing because someone was needed. He was Willing to try it because he trusted his friends and teachers. No one would laugh and everyone was proud of each others performances. He is in high school now and the work ethic he learned at Goodwin Learning Centre is serving him well. Most of his problems with school academically came down to not completing his work and not having to take responsibility. At Goodwin Learning Centre he learned the importance of organization and taking your time. He has also learned that it’s important to contribute and belong, and this doesn’t have to mean being the most popular. He joins clubs as a way to socialize and meet new friends, being at GLC gave him this confidence.
Gabe started at Goodwin Learning Centre with very low self esteem. He compared himself academically and socially to his peers at public school and felt like he was not as good as the others. At GLC he was consistently praised for who he was as a person. His kindness and good heart were valued; he was bursting with pride when he won the peace award. in these gifts has given Gabe confidence in his academics that amazes me. He pushes himself to try and do new things academically. The fear of failure has diminished because he feels good about who he is at school. Both of my son’s have so many good things to say about their experiences at Goodwin Learning Centre. Liam can and does still draw on the advice and instruction he was given. When I ask him what he liked best about being a student there he says ‘The teachers and Mrs. Goodwin really cared about me. They want you to learn so you do well in life.’ When I ask Gabe he says ‘l like it at GLC because that’s where I belong.’ At Goodwin Learning Centre children are praised for their own unique and special gifts while also learning how to be a contributing and respectful member of a community. As a parent it is wonderful to know that the adults your child is spending the day with are instilling good values and good work ethic. It is a relief to not have to be the ‘expert’ all the time. I know that the staff at GLC knows my child really, really well. I can drop him off and do my work that I need to do without worrying all day. He’s where he should be, doing what he should be doing in a safe, comfortable environment. lt’s priceless to have that trust.
After an unsuccessful attempt to have our son's needs met in both the Public and Catholic school systems, my husband and I decided to home school and did so for 4 years. lt was wonderful. He learned at his own pace and no one was calling me from a school asking me how to teach my child. But as he approached his tenth birthday it was apparent that occasional outings with other home schooled kids was not enough. Our son needed to be with his peers in an environment where he would be accepted and would learn to accept others. Fortunately, a friend told me how Goodwin Learning Centre changed her children's school experience and after just one visit, my husband and I knew that the Goodwin Learning Centre environment would be a positive one for our son. With a small teacher student ratio, and respect for the different ways that children learn, our son soared in just one semester. At the end of the school year, not only did his math, reading and penmanship improve, our shy, withdrawn son had given a speech in front of his peers and participated in the end of year school performance without me at his side. And as we sat in the audience and watched him, we also realized that our son also had real friends for the first time in his life. We were SO impressed by what Goodwin Learning Centre had done for him that we enrolled his younger brother the following year and are just as pleased with his results.
When my grandson went to Goodwin Learning Centre, I saw impressive results right away. It was evident the my daughter and son in-law that they had to provide my younger grandson with the same opportunity. He had not been challenged academically and had begun to lose some of the basic skills he'd been taught at home before he entered school. He had also been bullied at just 6 years of age and had gone from being a child that loved school to a child who hated it. The boys are learning to play the piano and guitar, practice public speaking and do community work right at school and I am so proud of them. I told my daughter that private education is a sacrifice but with careful budgeting it can be done and I also told her that she was making the right decision putting the boys in Goodwin Learning Centre because it was an investment in their future. If they have a good grasp of the basics, love learning, are accepting of others and are confident, they will be successful in high school, university and beyond.
We have struggled with finding a school for our oldest son for his entire life. We WERE struggling until we found Goodwin Learning Centre. You always hear about how important it is to have great teachers, a great system, and mostly you hear about having a LOW student to teacher ratio. You hear about that, then you hear about how other schools numbers keep going up... 30-35 kids in a class with one teacher.
So when we saw Goodwin Learning Centre with their ratio that's more like 4 or 5 kids per teacher (if THAT!) per teacher, believe me when I say it makes a HUGE difference. We decided to take our other son, who was able to go to school in the public system, and put him in Goodwin Learning Centre too.
The difference is incredible.
Linda and Staff:
There‘s no such word as "can't"... Thanks to the Goodwin Learning Centre. My son receives the help, encouragement and challenges he needs to succeed, things the public school system was unable to provide. This positive learning environment has allowed my son to gain confidence in his abilities and be proud of his accomplishments. This small school has made a HUGE difference in my son‘s education!
Sincerely, Sue H.
Dear Mrs. Goodwin,
What do I say to make you understand how grateful I am for all you do for your students and teachers? I thank God every day that Cade and Zach can attend your school and I should also thank you every day. I did not think I would find a school like yours that makes it top priority to focus on what is best for the children in terms of literacy, creativity, honesty, high teacher to low student ratio and pure love and respect for everyone.
I am very proud of my boys and I know they are in good hands in your care. Thanks again for working hard to make this great environment at Goodwin Learning Centre part of my boys' lives.
Love Chandy & Rick
Cade & Zach Cartwright
Goodwin Learning Centre has provided my daughter with an exceptional opportunity to learn in a highly creative, well disciplined and nurturing environment. The quality of academic teaching has exceeded my expectations. My daughter is engaged, interested and motivated to succeed in her studies. The Goodwin Learning Centre strengthens a child's understanding of themself, while fostering a cooperative and compassionate approach in their conduct towards fellow classmates. We should all have been so fortunate to attend such an incredible school.