My son, Preston, has found a safe place in the chaos of school-the noise, hallways, navigating friendships, staying organized, and turning in assignments. This safe place lies within the classroom of Nicole Belschner. In addition to everything she does for Pres, she keeps me in the loop of all that is going on. She works, what I can only guess is tirelessly, to ensure that he is not just receiving accommodations, but that he is learning to make good decisions, accept responsibility, and become more organized. She pushes him to reach the next level, to be a leader, and to keep growing. She wants to see him succeed and she wants to give him the tools to do so. Preston feels comfortable with her and this is a substantial obstacle to overcome. She finds his sarcastic humor enlightening and is not offended when he speaks his truth.
From the beginning of the year, she has exhibited openness and approachability. I know that I can discuss ideas for accommodations, discipline issues, and the variety of behaviors that we can sometimes encounter. We have maintained a positive relationship and have fostered a strong school-to-home connection; she always responds to my emails during the evenings or weekends, checks in with him when I ask, and is on top of everything. I get updates on missing assignments, upcoming tests, struggles he is having, and what is coming up months ahead of time. When something is forgotten she takes care of it. She works alongside me, not against me. When working with her, I do not feel that I have to put on my momma bear cloak and roar to the occasion. I know that she is going to work as hard, if not harder, than I am to figure out the next best step. She seeks solutions that he can understand and will hopefully be able to recall in the future, should he face a similar situation. She is truly a blessing in our lives. I don't worry about how his day will be because I know someone in the school is looking out for him; guiding him, teaching him, accepting him, and really, loving him. It takes a village to raise our children, and I am beyond blessed that Nicole has been part of our tribe.'
"Nikki is one of the most accepting, non-judgement individuals I know. Students in eighth grade at times make some big mistakes. Nikki encourages them continue to move forward, and helps the recover from those sometimes big mistakes both academically and socially. She has a terrific sense of humor, and can teach any subject to any kid. Students like her and more importantly, respect her. Nikki shares her own shortcomings with humor and in an effort to show students that no one is perfect and we all just have to do our best, every day. She is professional and supportive with parents, helping them navigate through the often complex world of special education services. I really don’t know what I would do without Nikki on the staff at Northridge Middle School." - Rachel Vallance, Principal