Honor Floyd has always been an eager learner. Her mother Dennia noticed signs of kindergarten readiness when Honor was four, but her home school district had a firm policy on kindergarten age cut-offs. So when Lakeshore Intergenerational School assessed Honor’s skills and welcomed her into kindergarten early, the family was thrilled.

Sure, Lakeshore was a bit out of the way compared with their district school in Richmond Heights, and the weeklong fall break that October of Honor’s kindergarten year posed a childcare challenge, but Honor thrived in her new school.

“We love the closeness—it felt like a family, like a community,” Dennia said. “One of the things we loved about Lakeshore is they meet the students where they are.”

At the end of the school year, Dennia and her partner spoke with Honor about what to do for her first grade year, beginning Fall 2019. They decided to give their nearby district elementary school a try.

While Honor quickly made friends and was enjoying her new school overall, she progressed quickly through first-grade lessons and was feeling unchallenged. When Dennia approached Honor’s teacher to request enrichment opportunities, she was met with a tepid response. In February, Dennia reached out to Lakeshore to see if there was space to return, but ultimately decided it would be too disruptive for Honor to move back in the middle of the school year.

At the same time, Dennia was receiving email updates from Lakeshore. These updates became a stark point of contrast between the two schools when the coronavirus pandemic shut schools down in mid-March.

“We didn’t get Chromebooks or hotspots. Everything was on paper… We had no interactions with teacher besides receiving assignments and prerecorded videos. There was no actual interaction at all with her teacher or classmates,” Dennia said. “We were really frustrated, and on top of that, getting these emails from Lakeshore, ‘Oh, we have Chromebooks, and everybody gets a hotspot, and the students get to meet with their teachers every day!”

Seeing how the Intergenerational Schools responded to the school shutdown affirmed the Floyd family’s decision to go back to Lakeshore for the next school year.

Once the school year ended, Dennia reached back out to get Honor re-enrolled at Lakeshore. “The attention, the care, the community that overall Lakeshore encompasses and provides to their students and parents, we found that to be unmatched. So we got her signed back up!”

While the end of Honor’s first-grade year was a challenge for the entire family, Dennia is optimistic about the future. “This has been a learning experience for everyone, and we’ve really been able to unite as a family,” she said. “It reunites the unity of community, between school and home, and parents and teachers and students, and really making that work. We’re all in this together,” Dennia said. “Everybody’s experiencing the same thing. We’re making it work, finding a way to push forward in a positive light.”

“We have found a really great place in the Intergenerational Schools. Lakeshore Intergenerational School has really been great to us. Even with us coming back, we felt very welcome. ‘We are so excited to have you back! We really missed Honor.’ It’s hugely important to really be in a place that makes you feel like… home.”

And now that the lines between school and home have blurred, Dennia is glad that Honor and the entire family feel so much at home at Lakeshore.