Friday, December 12, 2008

A Letter from Tavvi and Connor's Teacher

Paul Silveria is Tavvi's home room teacher, and the teacher for a few classes that Connor has chosen to take this year. Paul writes, in his hope to support stability for Tavvi and Connor:

To whom it may concern,

My name is Paul Silveria, and I am a on the staff at the Village Free School in Portland OR, where Tavvi and Connor have been enrolled since September of this year. I want to share my experience of Tavvi and Connor and their community and support network. First, I'd like to say that I enjoy being around them both.

Tavvi is an enthusiastic presence at school - full of smiles and interacting with her many peers both older and younger. Upon enrolling the staff was informed of the behaviors we might expect from Tavvi as a result of her past experiences. In the four months of school so far I have not seen a single incident of any of those behaviors, instead I have seen a socially engaged girl who seems to be very comfortable in her surroundings.

Connor is contemplative, sensitive, and engaged. He is aware of the school's processes and his place in them. He has taken interest in our offered classes, taken part in our school's democratic assembly (All School Meeting), and made friends. He is bright and articulate, I particularly enjoy doing crosswords together.

My perception is that living with Stephanie is a positive and nurturing experience for them both. I see them very much at ease with her and with each other. I also know that they have, and are continuing to form, bonds with their peers at our school that are of great value. I know this both because I can see those bonds at work on a daily basis, and also because of the approach our school takes toward fostering the self awareness of our students and their ability to support and care for each other. (In addition we try to foster the same growth in our staff, volunteers, and families.)

Though I recognize that I am not aware of all of the details in this situation, I have very strong concerns that Tavvi and Connor may be removed from a support network that includes Stephanie, Wes, Michael, their social service providers, the staff and volunteers of the Village Free School, the peers they've bonded with, and even each other. From my experiences with all of these people, and my observations of Tavvi and Connor interacting with each of these people, I believe each one is making a positive contribution to the lives of both children.

I would be happy to answer any questions by phone or e-mail.

Paul Silveria
4417 NE Going
Portland OR 97218
Home Phone (503) 231.5753
Work Phone (503) 788.3935

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