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The Pfingston's Story

The_Pfingston_Success_Story_with_Personalized_Learning_ Card IconThe Pfingston Success Story with Personalized Learning Top of Page

Mother wanted education options for her three children

Michelle Pfingston knew early on that the traditional public school system wouldn’t be the best fit for her daughter. Sarah, 11, has dyslexia and requires a lot of hands-on attention that would be harder to get in a larger classroom. Not wanting her daughter to fall behind, Pfingston started looking into education options in Portola and found Valley's Personalized Learning program. The Personalized Learning model was so effective for Sarah that Pfingston now teaches her two other children, 9-year-old Andrew and 7-year-old Alexander, too.
“When I was first learning about Personalized Learning, I was worried about how I was going to teach Sarah,” Pfingston says. “But as I learned more about the program and started building a relationship with the teachers, I started to feel more confident about it. One of the teachers reached out to me and explained all of the different ways that children could learn. It really was encouraging to me.”

Pfingston relied heavily on the teachers and the curriculum the school supplied at first. But after a couple of years, she felt confident enough to help co-develop her own standards-aligned language arts and science curriculum for her children. Pfingston credits the staff at Long Valley's Portola Resource Center for giving her the support she needed to teach her children at home.

“The teacher we work with has always been so positive and reaffirming,” Pfingston says. “She’s given me the ability to change something if it wasn’t working. I’ve never felt bowled over and I don’t get the sense that I have to do something. That’s boosted my confidence a lot.”

Pfingston enjoys teaching her three children in the Personalized Learning model through home schooling because she enjoys seeing them succeeding and their confidence grow. Pfingston says she saw an immediate difference with her daughter when she started teaching her at home.

“One of the best things about teaching Sarah in Personalized Learning is that she never got a sense of inferiority,” Pfingston says. “She got a sense of confidence because we have been really successful with the charter school. She really thrives there and that’s important to us.”

Though Pfingston knows that Personalized Learning isn’t an option for many parents, she really recommends it for parents who are able. “I just really love it and my kids love it,” Pfingston says. “Everyone has been so supportive. I feel like all the staff at our school really enjoy my kids and like seeing them. That feeling starts with the secretary and goes throughout the whole staff.”