A Smile as Big as the Moon: A Special Education Teacher, His Class, and Their Inspiring Journey Through U.S. Space Camp
Besides being a football coach at his Michigan High School, Mike Kersjes taught special education classes, dealing with children whose disabilities included Tourette syndrome, Downs Syndrome, dyslexia, eating disorders and a variety of emotional problems.
One autumn Kersjes got the outlandish idea that his students would benefit from going to Space Camp, where, in conjunction with NASA, high school students compete in a variety of activities similar to those experienced by astronauts in training for space shuttle missions. There was only one problem: this program had been specifically designed for gifted and talented students, the best and the brightest from America's most privileged high schools.
Kersjes believed that, given a chance, his kids could do as well as anybody, and with remarkable persistence broke down one barrier after another, from his own principal's office to the inner sanctum of NASA, until Space Camp opened its doors, on an experimental basis, to special ed students. After nine months of rigorous preparation, during which the class molded itself into a working team, they arrived at Space Camp, where they turned in a performance so startling, so surprising, that it will leave the reader breathless. A truly triumphant story of the power of the human spirit.
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A smile as big as the moon: a teacher, his class, and their unforgettable journeyUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
A high school special education teacher in Michigan, Kersjes faced enormous odds when he decided that he wanted his class to attend Space Camp in Huntsville, AL, a program aimed at providing simulated ... Read full review
The only thing authentic about this book was the fact that special needs students from Forest Hills Northern High School did indeed attend Space Camp. The assertion that Mike Kersjes had to battle building level administration, or that faculty and staff opposed what he and his teaching partner Robynn McKinney were trying to do for kids, is an outright fabrication. And truth be told, Robynn McKinney did the bulk of the work to make attendance at the camp a reality. Mike was a velry good front man for the operation.
Mike and his editors must have felt it necessary to make this portrayal to add drama to the story. Nothing could be further from the truth. I, along with the superintendent of schools at the time did everything in our power to help the group get to camp... while still expecting and demanding that Mr. Kersjes maintain his core mission to deliver quality instruction to the students in his charge.
I find it offensive that this book has gone to great lengths to paint a picture that is simply not true.
Other editions - View all
A Smile as Big as the Moon: A Special Education Teacher, His Class, and ...
Limited preview - 2007
A Smile as Big as the Moon: A Teacher, His Class, and Their Unforgettable ...
Michael E. Kersjes,Joe Layden
No preview available - 2002