As the Lead Advocate in the Remote School, it is important to ensure that all advocates (including myself) are creative on a daily basis and deliver intentional content to engage our students. We all run a similar daily advisory that is safe and predictable with content to spark conversation. Every afternoon we end the day with small groups and deliver lessons that comply with the IL SEL Standards. This is an opportunity for students to form peer connections while also learning important information. Advocates also act as the liaison between the homeschool and the families as well.
I value the importance of building relationships. Getting to know each individual student that you work with is something that will connect you with them on a different level. I truly take time to learn about my students. Where do they come from? What is their background? Do they get along with their peers? Are they struggling academically/socially-emotionally, mentally, etc? Individualization is hard but important work. Working with an ‘at-risk’ population is all about building relationships and connections. When you take a genuine interest in your students, I believe they will thrive.
I think beginning our ALOP Tapestry services for students/families in elementary and middle schools makes such an impactful difference.
An experience worth sharing is how I met one student at the start of his 6th grade year. He was barely coming to school and had a very challenging home life. We set an attendance goal for him that year and if he achieved it, he would get a pizza party 🙂 Well, he hit it! That year was long and hard, but that child came to school more than he had before because he had a safe space in the school with no judgment, he had me and the other advocate in my program giving him unconditional TLC and he was excited to have that pizza party! If it were not for early intervention and Tapestry, I don’t think that student would have gotten through middle school. Now, he is a senior in the Remote School setting and our paths have crossed again!
West40 is unlike any other organization! The work we do, the services we provide, the community resources we share, the support (both emotionally and physically) we are able to give truly changes lives for the better. Despite the emotional fatigue one can experience in this role, I come back every day because if I can make one small difference in the life of a child (or family) I work with…change their path in even the slightest way for the better…it gives me a total sense of fulfillment and joy. West40 enables me to change their paths.