The Scolari Family, Delaware Valley Friends School
Christine Scolari found the right fit, and a new passion, at this Paoli school for students in grades 3 through 12.
As Christine Scolari neared the end of elementary school, she was struggling to keep up with the speed of her classes. She felt discouraged and socially isolated.
Her parents, Lisa and Steve, knew they needed another option. They had Christine tested for learning differences, and discovered that she had some issues, mostly around processing information.
Delaware Valley Friends School, a Quaker school for students in grades 3 through 12, was right in their backyard — and was the perfect fit. Other schools were focused on Christine’s test results, but DVFS administrators wanted to know her as a person, Lisa said.
Christine, now a 17-year-old senior, felt the difference from her first open house visit.
“The first minute I was there, I was like, ‘I want to go to this school,’’’ she said. “It kind of felt like home, even the first week of school.”
She attended DVFS’ summer program, then joined the school in seventh grade. When she got her school-issued MacBook laptop, the first thing she did was start exploring GarageBand, a music recording and editing application.
Within minutes, Christine had written her first song — and awakened a brand-new passion.
Now, with the help of DVFS’ stellar music program, she’s headed toward a career in music, ideally as a singer, writer, and producer. She’s learned several instruments and won an online song contest last summer. Christine just finished recording an album, wrote the music for a new video about the school, and is planning to apply to music schools this fall.
Her academics have blossomed along with her musical talents. Because of Christine’s learning differences, it’s easier for her to absorb material if she hears it, Lisa said. DVFS gives students a number of software tools, and many of those have greatly helped Christine.
“She learned to enjoy learning more,” Lisa said.
DVFS has smaller class sizes, too, and that helps students develop tight-knit relationships with teachers, all of whom are specialists in working with learning differences. They work incredibly hard to meet the needs of students, Lisa said. For example, some teachers record their lectures, then post them online, so students can revisit the material whenever they need it.
“The teachers in my other school, I felt like they didn’t really understand me,” Christine said. “I’ve never felt as close to the teachers as I have here.”
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Photograph by Casey Kallen.