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Ashlei has always considered education the most important thing in her children’s lives, but for Aspen it was the “weakest link.” Because she has a disability, many public school classrooms don’t meet her needs -- they have too many students and not enough accommodations.

“She was just slipping through the cracks,” Ashlei said.

Even before public schools went virtual for the pandemic, Ashlei knew in her heart that the traditional setting wasn’t the right fit for Aspen. However, finding a private option is easier said than done, considering finances, admissions and the classrooms themselves. Ashlei describes the process as tedious, but virtual school with zero accommodations for months was the final straw.


Luckily, she soon discovered ECC’s Heart of Hope Academy. The process was fast and efficient, and in January 2021 Aspen started in the eight-student Heart of Hope Academy classroom.


“It was a relief,” Ashlei said. Already, she has noticed Aspen is more confident and independent in her learning. She does her homework without help, and she even tries to teach Ashlei about things she learns at school. Aspen also works harder to sound out words when before she wouldn’t even try. Ashlei hopes Aspen is well on her way to reading, which will make her even more excited about learning. Most importantly, Aspen is happier attending school and learning.


“The Aspen at home is always happy, and I always dreamed for how she is at home to be how she is at school, but learning.”

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