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David's Story

Special_Needs_Student_Excels_at_Long_Valley's_Thompson_Peak Card IconSpecial Needs Student Excels at Long Valley's Thompson PeakTop of Page

A Nurturing Environment for Optimal Learning

When David Scarbrough was born, he weighed only 1 pound, 2 ounces. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and his mother, Ronette Scarbrough, was told by doctors that he might never be able to walk without assistance. By age 3, he had been in and out of hospitals for most of his life. Despite these challenges, David was a happy and determined child.

From kindergarten to fifth grade, David was enrolled in a traditional public school. He learned how to walk with a single leg brace, but used a wheelchair most of the time. Though his school had a special needs program, Scarbrough, a single parent, says she felt it was not a good fit for David. 

“I wanted my son to have a calm, nurturing environment that he could learn in, and he wasn’t getting that there,” Scarbrough says. “David began to show signs of having seizures. He wasn’t doing very well and was getting worse, so I decided to put him in home hospital care for a while.”

Scarbrough began looking for another school for David online and came across Long Valley Charter's Thompson Peak Personalized Learning program in Susanville. When she called the school, she learned it did not have a special day class. A month later, she received a phone call from the resource center.

“They were a very small school at the time, but they called to tell me they had worked on a program and that they thought they could meet David’s needs,” Scarbrough says. “As soon as I heard that, I was ready to sign him up. The fact that they had worked so hard to put a program together meant a lot.”

In 2013, David underwent a complex surgery on his legs, which placed him in a double cast from the hip down for several months. It took him more than a year to recover. Scarbrough says Thompson Peak staff went out of their way to help, including stopping by her home to pick up homework if she couldn’t drop it off at the school.

Today, David is able to walk without using a walker. He’s also continuing to meet his academic goals each year. Scarbrough says the support they received from Thompson Peak has been vital to David’s success.

“It’s really a wonderful place, whether you have a special needs student or not,” Scarbrough says. “Thompson Peak's staff treat David like a person and give him a place he can learn and feel safe. He deserves that.”