Your Position? I’m the Unconditional Education Coach at Verde Elementary in North Richmond
What led you to your current position? I am a social worker, and I’m really drawn towards more macro level work and issues. I’ve always loved working in education, and I was struggling to find a position that would allow me to focus on macro level issues while staying face to face with clients. I feel like, in this field, you’re either doing counseling or direct behavioral support or you’re doing policy and planning and don’t get to see clients all that often. A role that combines both is rare. When I saw the UE Coach job posting, I jumped at it! It was the perfect opportunity to focus on macro level issues – like school culture and climate – while still getting to see kids every day and be grounded in the community I’m serving.
What does your average day look like? Every day is different! I run social skills groups, I work with teachers to discuss their classroom culture and climate and implement trauma informed practices, I develop PD for my school staff, I work with admin to implement PBIS for the whole school, I run restorative justice circles to solve problems, and I support kids 1:1 when there’s a crisis or they need additional support.
Why do you do this work? I do this work because I feel like education is the best intervention strategy we have to break cycles of poverty and oppression, and I can see how really thoughtfully designed programs can impact a child’s life for the better. I love working in a field that’s goal is to help others succeed, and I’m thankful to work in an organization that does this in a way that’s grounded in community and mindful of looking at these issues through an equity lens.
What hope do you have for the future of our program? I hope we can keep building on the amazing work we’re doing in public schools, partnering with districts and thinking about new and innovative ways to serve students in the ways that they deserve!