Mitchell Imholt hated school.
The sitting. The reading. The writing. He hated all of it.
Mead Education Alternative Division teacher Teri Inman said, “Mitchell was pretty miserable when he came here. But now, he comes to school even when there is no school! He’s really happy and thriving.”
For one thing, his previously undetected learning disabilities enabled him to qualify for the Individualized Education Program, or IEP. The program is tailored to each student’s needs and allowed Imholt to get the help he needed with reading and writing.
Another big change was the one-on-one contact he received at the alternative high school, which stresses project-based, experiential learning. “I had the same teacher all day, every day,” he said. “She got to know me and my style of learning. I like the staff a lot. They’re like my friends.
“I found my spot at M.E.A.D.,” he said. “It was the place for me.”
Indeed, Imholt’s natural leadership skills led the staff to refer to him as “the other staff member.”
Teacher Carole Allen said, “What feeds Mitch is being around other people and working on a team.”
He found the social interaction he craved at the school and that made the learning process more enjoyable for him. That’s not to say it was easy. “Reading is still hard for him,” said Allen. “He works at it and doesn’t give up.”
Inman agreed. But whereas reading aloud was once torturous for him, he said, “The extra work I put in at the beginning paid off. I can read things out loud now.”
That hard work has paid off in other ways, too. Inman said, “I’ve always been told I’d never graduate on time, but I’m going to finish a bit early.”
He said his time at M.E.A.D. has had a profound effect on his long-term goals; he plans to attend Spokane Falls Community College next year.
Said Imholt, “I’d like to be a high school counselor because of how much my teachers have helped me.”