By Michael Coughlin Jr.
In addition to restructuring its student support system, Revere High School (RHS) is slated to offer several programs to help support its students, who might be struggling academically, socially, emotionally, or behaviorally.
â€œOne of the goals that weâ€™re working toward is to review existing and to create new student support practices to ensure alignment with the student needs that we see and to make changes where necessary,â€ said Christopher Bowen, Principal of RHS.
As mentioned, RHS is restructuring its student support team model, which will enable RHS to better support students who might be struggling. As part of the restructuring, groups of about 450 students in grades 9-12 will be separated into five houses, each with its own dedicated support team.
These support teams are comprised of one assistant principal who leads a team of two school counselors (guidance counselors), one social worker, and two new positions, a student support specialist and a student engagement coordinator.
However, as Bowen pointed out, the support team restructuring is only one piece of the puzzle. Essentially, RHS is prioritizing creating a Multi-Tiered System of Student Supports, which not only identifies the needs of students but also provides things like programming to satisfy those needs.
With the idea of offering a Multi-Tiered System of Student Supports, Bowen identified that a group of about 25 educators came together and met to help design the programs provided by RHS that will help its students.
â€œIt doesnâ€™t do us a lot of good if we get all of the adults working together and we get the support teams functioning and running well and engaging with kids and families if we donâ€™t have interventions to refer the kids to,â€ said Bowen.
One of these programs RHS will be launching this year is the Bridge For Resilient Youth In Transition (BRYT). As part of this, RHS will work with BRYT, a program from The Brookline Center for Community Mental Health, to bring it to RHS.
Specifically, the BRYT program at RHS will support students who have experienced lengthy absences because of hospitalizations and will be headed by Sara Heller, a Social Worker, who will be the programâ€™s Clinical Care Coordinator.
Although BRYT will primarily support students hospitalized due to mental health crises, it will also help students who might have been out of school for a while with a physical injury.
In her role, Heller will work with families, physicians, and counselors to begin planning for a studentâ€™s transition back to school.
While Heller will provide support for both the student and their family, in addition to that, members of the newly restructured support teams will begin the academic planning for the studentâ€™s re-entry so they can catch up on any work they might have missed.
Moreover, BRYT will have a dedicated space at RHS for students transitioning who might need to have partial class time, where they can have some time in class and then go to the BRYT Center to do work and get other support.
â€œThe idea is that weâ€™re able to be very flexible. Weâ€™re able to be very supportive, making that transition back and helping the family navigate what is often a very challenging and scary situation for them,â€ said Bowen.
Another program that will be coming to RHS is its Career Development Program, which is being deployed to provide support for students in the community who are in school but in the position that they need to work.
â€œWe have a need for supporting students who need to work both stay on track with their studies and work in whatever job they have to make money, and there is an opportunity to turn that into a learning experience for them,â€ said Bowen.
As part of this program, Tara Mitchell, the Career Development Program Coordinator, will work with the entire RHS community and act as a liaison to two organizations, MassHire, and Connecting Activities.
These aforementioned organizations support schools and partner with local regional workforce development boards to sometimes hire students but also develop learning experiences that align with â€œwork-based learning competenciesâ€ for things like motivation and initiative, communication, teamwork and collaboration, and more.
In her work as a liaison, Mitchell will be able to ensure that all students will have the opportunity to learn the work-based learning competencies through things like career fairs and more.
Additionally, Mitchell will work with a specific group of students, mostly rising seniors, who have struggled to balance the need to work and attend school. The particular group of students will enroll in what is being called the Career Development Seminar, which is similar to an internship program.
â€œThat program will allow students to continue working at their job, engage in a series of projects aligned to the work-based learning competencies where they, over the course of a semester, are doing different projects on resume writing and interview skills and dealing with management and navigating communication struggles and collaboration struggles,â€ said Bowen.
â€œItâ€™s kind of a course that digs into each of these things, but itâ€™s done in a way that allows those students to basically leave school early or come to school late so they get the credit for the work theyâ€™re doing in the Career Development program and theyâ€™re able to continue working,â€ he added.
Additionally, Mitchell will be able to support the programâ€™s students to ensure they are caught up on all their work and will act almost like an extra layer of support.
The programming does not stop at the last two mentioned, as RHS is also partnering with Big Brothers Big Sisters and was selected out of 100 high schools in the state to launch the organizationâ€™s Big Futures Mentoring Program at RHS.
As part of the program, between 80 and 100 freshmen will be paired with a community-based mentor who will be with the student throughout their high school career to help with college and career planning.
Also, Justin Wilson, the Senior Program Coordinator for the program at RHS, will support students and help them stay on track. For example, Wilson can reach out to students, their mentors, and families when it is time to register for classes.
While RHS is offering some new programming for its students, it is also expanding on some of its existing programming, like its Gateway to College Program at North Shore Community College.
This program is designed for students who either dropped out and would like to finish their high school education or for older students who are behind in their graduation progress.
Those in the program are enrolled at North Shore Community College but remain as RHS students and take classes to earn credit toward a high school diploma and, in some cases, college credits that could be used for a degree at North Shore or a different four-year college.
As part of this program expansion, the number of seats in the program has been increased, enabling more rising juniors and seniors to join.
Finally, RHS is also in the process of developing another program called the Revere High Personalized Learning Academy.
With this program, RHS is partnering with an organization called Redesign, which helps schools conceptualize, design, and operationalize new school models.
Essentially, this program would create a school within RHS as an alternative for students needing a personalized graduation path.
Bowen gave examples of students who could go into this program, like someone who had a hospitalization or someone who is coming to RHS from another country and has not been to school in a while.
As aforementioned, this program is in development, and during the school year, a team of students, families, and teachers, along with Redesign, will be involved in the design process of the program.
â€œWe are in the initial phases of this partnership, and we will be working throughout the school year to design this program, and thatâ€™s something that people can expect to hear more about over the course of the school year,â€ said Bowen.
Overall, it is clear that RHS is doing its best to enhance the experience at the school and provide students with all the support they need through its Multi-Tiered System of Student Supports, both through its student support team restructuring and the handful of programs rolling out this year.