Your Position: Student Support Assistant @ Rosemary Elementary School in Campbell/San Jose, CA
What led you to your current position: I interned at a non-profit community based organization working in the community with children, youth and families during my final year of undergrad in San Luis Obispo. During this time, I really deepened my passion for working with this population by seeing them in their homes and communities and developing my understanding of the expansive and varying needs of each individual. Upon graduating and returning to the bay area, I knew that I wanted to find a similar organization to work for in order to gain more experience in this field before going back to school to get my Masters. When I found Seneca, I knew immediately that I wanted to work with them because of their emphasis on Unconditional Care--which is also what led me into the Unconditional Education realm rather than continuing in community based work.
Fun Fact/Quote: I went to both elementary and middle school in the same school district that I am now working in--Campbell Union School District!
What does your average day look like: Everyday is SO different. But on the most typical day I arrive to campus, respond to emails, figure out scheduling for the day, and prepare our student's behavior trackers for "Check in Check out". From here, I check in with 2-3 students and push into the classroom with the student that seemed like they might need the most support. I then provide targeted supervision during Kindergarten recess and lunch time for a student who is working on increasing safety. Throughout the remainder of the school day I push into various classrooms to provide behavioral support on a scheduled and as needed basis (again, this changes everyday). I check out with 2-3 students and reflect on where they were successful and where they may have needed more help and also provide whatever incentive they might have earned--this could be a break with a preferred peer or adult, something from our Seneca prize box or simply a walk around the school with a preferred adult. I finish my day with teacher meetings, emails, and mental health notes.
Why do you do this work: I am extremely passionate about providing support to children, youth and families in order for them to access their right to education, regardless of what might be happening at home or behaviors that may come out at school. The earlier we can intervene and provide support to these children and families, the better their chances are of feeling successful in the school environment which is something I believe everyone should experience. I also really want to see a change in our education system where we can have integrated mental and behavioral health services in conjunction with academics in order to provide support to the students who need it to help them access their learning. The more we expand this work and the Unconditional Education model into various school districts and show them that it's both effective and efficient, the more we can make an impact on the larger level.