Empowered Family: Williams - Families Empowered

Empowered Family: Williams

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“You want your children to do better than you, to have opportunities,” she said. “It’s a journey. Keep fighting.”

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Rosezina Williams’ journey to finding the right school for her two children was a big challenge for a single mother.

Williams has raised two very different children, with very different needs: daughter Ashley, and son Sayvion.

Sayvion is a sweet, emotional and sensitive kid, who is passionate about art. He also happens to have a learning disability.

In elementary school, Sayvion was bullied by his classmates.  He became withdrawn and afraid to go to school. Some days, his fear of what might happen kept him home. On those days, he was charged with truancy.

“I felt like I was being punished for trying to protect my child,” said Williams. “As a parent, I felt defeated.”

Sayvion’s struggle with bullying impacted his mental health. He was diagnosed him with depression. He would need to miss more class in order to get treatment from his doctors. Williams worried the school’s staff was not addressing her son’s special education needs.

“I had to come to the school and observe class and make sure they were following his treatment plan,” Williams said. “Some days, I was at the school more than work. I lost a job over this.”

Williams’ older daughter Ashley faced conflict with a middle school teacher. Despite attempts to work with the teacher and the administration, they were met with resistance. “Ashley and the teacher just weren’t a good fit for each other, and it was creating a bad environment. It was a struggle to get her moved. I think they took it personally, and I feared they were taking it out on my family,” she said.

The stress on the family reached a breaking point, and Williams knew she needed to find another option.  “I wanted to move,” she said. “But sometimes you can’t.” 

Williams explored private school options, and toured local Catholic schools. She applied to several public charter schools, and was placed on multiple waiting lists.

She received a phone call from Families Empowered, a non-profit organization who’s mission is to empower parents to navigate the marketplace of schools. Families Empowered gave her the help she needed, to find new schools for both children.

Williams was connected to two opportunities at public charter schools: KIPP Houston Public Schools and Houston A Plus Unlimited Potential.

“If I knew about Families Empowered then, it would have been different. I wouldn’t have felt so alone,” Williams said.

Sayvion started his 7th grade year at Houston’s A Plus Unlimited Potential, a micro-campus school offering a personalized, technology-driven approach to education. He’s no longer afraid of going to school and facing bullies – instead, he’s drawn to the technology and access to art and museums that his public charter school offers. 

Since finding two schools that are the right fit for her children, Williams has worked to help other parents in her community become active in education and aware of their school choice opportunities. She spends weekends helping other understand the problems facing parents looking for school choices, and the importance of speaking up on behalf of all students in the community.

“You want your children to do better than you, to have opportunities,” she said. “It’s a journey. Keep fighting.”