The fall semester is in full swing at Chrysalis. There’s a slight chill in the crisp fall air that has many of us feeling nostalgic. But that’s not the case for many of our students. The smell of new paper, freshly sharpened pencils, and eraser dust can send some of our students into a panic. Most of our students struggle with anxiety in some way, which often presented itself as school refusal at home.
The teachers at Chrysalis have always had a unique understanding of the battle our students go through at school. And this year, for the first time ever, we have a Special Education Coordinator! Krysten has taught English at Chrysalis for 5 years, and after completing a Master’s degree in Special Education, she’s eager to be in this new position that offers a new level of support to our students.
Here’s what she has to say about it:
“I’m really hoping that I can use my years of experience in my teaching role to help inform me of how to be most effective in my new role, to help the students and help the teachers help the students. All of our students have struggled with anxiety and/or depression, most of them coupled with other diagnoses, such as ADD, ADHD, Nonverbal Learning Disorder, learning disabilities in math or reading, or simply low scores in Executive Functioning, working memory, or processing speeds, so it’s really great that we can help these students feel success in academics.
We’ve really set the school schedule and structure up to help these students get into healthy patterns for their long-term success, and then we work in specific interventions and accommodations to tweak this system for each student using our CAP (Chrysalis Academic Plan – which is like an IEP or 504 that we do for every student who comes to us). Our ultimate goal is to make ourselves obsolete, of course; that’s not to say that all of our students will get to a point where they never need help, but we want them to get to a point where they can do most of it on their own and they know where to ask for help when they do still need it.
In this first month of the school year, I’m really enjoying my new position and the freedom I have to help students in a more direct and acute way than many public schools would allow me time for. I spend a lot of time not only with the students but also with teachers and members of all the other departments so we can really provide wraparound support for the girls who need it… and I can spend time with the students who would otherwise fly “under the radar” to make sure their needs are also being met.”