Alexander's success at Monticello

Seventh grader, Alexander Buffington, on the ice.

I am writing to express my appreciation for everything that Monticello has done for my son, Alexander Buffington, a seventh grader at Monticello, who has been on the honor roll all year. He has autism and was in Amber Hawes' classroom last year and is with her again this year.

Amber Hawes is an amazing teacher who discovered that Alexander has ability in math. She worked very hard with him in sixth grade, and moved him into the transmath class with Genevieve McDougal, who made sure he was welcome in the class. Thanks to everyone's efforts, and Alexander's hard work, he was doing A work. In the seventh grade transmath class, another amazing thing happened: Alexander was ahead of the class. His teacher, Stacey Friedman, set a new goal for him and Alexander transitioned to regular seventh-grade math during the second quarter. Sarah Cusick, Alexander's current math teacher, and Hawes tutored him twice a week, after school, to help him catch up to the seventh-grade math curriculum. It's working well so far, with Alexander maintaining an A- grade.

At one point, we met with Amber Hawes, Brian Sharosky (principal of Monticello), and others to discuss Alexander's reading comprehension skills. Sharosky had some good ideas to help Alexander’s reading comprehension. Pleased with Alexander’s achievements, Sharosky has given him more mainstream possibilities. As a result, his placement next year will be very different. Alexander will be in mainstream math, science and social studies, with some extra supports. He will also continue to receive help in reading and writing to help him reach grade level.

One last thing, at the beginning of the year, Alexander was the victim of a bullying incident. Thanks to the prompt actions of Jennifer Colvin, guidance counselor, and Amber Hawes, there have been no recurrences.

Something else about Alexander: he is an active participant in Special Olympics roller skating and ice skating. He does freestyle in both and has won gold medals in both events at the state level. To see video clips of Alexander skating, go to and look for the "gailbuf" channel.

Gail Buffington

Cleveland Heights

Gail Buffington

Gail Buffington is Alexander's mom.

Read More on Letters To The Editor
Volume 5, Issue 6, Posted 1:04 PM, 05.30.2012