Not even a year after the start of a new program at Le Roy high school focused on student success, Jen Bertrand reported to the board of directors on Tuesday evening that several students are already showing great improvement both socially than academic.
Bertrand, the Grade 9-12 Intervention Specialist for the district, works with 52 students at the Student Success Center. Six are seniors, 10 juniors, 22 sophomores and 14 freshmen.
Achievements look like this:
- A student who felt he had no friends and made a goal this year to make at least one friend. He joined an on-campus club of kids with a similar interest in the game and made friends.
- There is another student who felt inhibited but is now part of a music program at school.
- There’s a student who’s motivated to improve his grades because Bertrand has arranged for him to meet a favorite rock star via Zoom if he produces a favorable report card.
- And there is the student who at the beginning of the year was too embarrassed to ask for help, too embarrassed to participate in peer tutoring. Now he’s a campus advocate for peer tutoring.
All students in the program suffer from anxiety or depression and many have had traumatic experiences.
Bertrand said the success center essentially provides a “life coach” for struggling students, offering support with homework, helping to develop good work habits, organization, time management, painting health social and mental, ensuring that these skills are transferable to other classes and situations.
“We try to capture those magical moments by really showing students that they’re not alone,” Bertrand said.
Bertrand shared, without revealing names, the comments she received from fellow teachers for the board to read. For example:
- “The work Jen has done with our students in her program is truly monumental. I have seen a significant correlation between the students she works with and an increase in work done, communication, improved classroom behavior and overall work ethic. For example, one student in particular worked incredibly hard. He is focused in class, participates in discussions, and completes his work thoroughly. Although he still has a few days off, I am convinced that the work he is doing with Jen has had a huge impact.”
- “I have noticed several positive changes in the behaviors and attitudes of students enrolled in the 9-12 Learning Center with Ms. Bertrand. In particular, the students interact more with me, ask questions and defend themselves. In general, their attitude towards school is much more positive, as if they are beginning to believe in themselves. Ms. Bertrand was made for this position and she works very hard to support our students academically, but with socio-emotional health problems.
- “As a teacher who has regular clients, I have seen significant academic improvement in the students I had last year who are now in the learning center. Not only has work completion improved, but the quality of work has also improved. When a student gives an assignment for which one of the things they are grateful for is Mrs. B, you can tell they see and are proud of the improvement as well.
She also shared anonymous quotes from students:
Before taking on this new role at school, Bertrand was a technical coach in high school. At a board meeting in June, she overheard high school principal Tim McArdle discussing her desire to create an intervention program. The idea resonated with her.
“I was like, ‘I want to do this,’ she said. There was just a light in me to help these students.”