A Son Transformed by the Safe Schools
As told by Bill Stewart, parent of a West40 Safe School student

“Before my son Michael went to a West40 Safe School, he went to a middle school in Chicago. When he moved to the suburbs to live with his mother, it was a hard transition. Suddenly, he hated going to school. He had anxiety. He tried to get kicked out. He had issues in just about every way you can imagine.

So when he was given the chance to go to the West40 Safe School middle school, he went through a pre-screening process with the principal, Mr. Giosa, and it seemed like a good fit. The process and the people made all the difference in the world. The teachers talked to him directly as part of the interview process to find out what he wanted to do. It wasn’t just about the parents. They offered personal counseling sessions, provided individual attention and spoke to him on his level.

Once Michael started at the Safe School, everything improved. Even his classmates treated him differently. They weren’t just his friends, they were his partners and teammates. If you see him and his friends interacting, you’d never know they were once ‘troubled kids.’ They’re just kids. Michael immediately got the sense that what he thought and how he felt actually mattered to the people around him.

I would describe Michael’s experience with West40 as a transformation. He went from being an anxious kid getting Ds and Fs on his report card to a motivated student getting As and Bs. The West40 Safe Schools are amazing in so many ways. When it looked like Michael might need to leave the school over some red tape, they made exceptions to keep him. When he needed transportation, they awarded him a scholarship so he could get to school. Mr. Giosa truly stepped up to help Michael. I can honestly say that this West40 Safe School is the best school that Michael has ever attended.”

"The process and the people made all the difference in the world."
- Bill Stewart
See all the ways that West40 is helping to transform the lives of students, families, teachers and administrators in West Suburban Cook County.