Dominic, a 9th grader and former TDS student made a special visit to speak to a group of students hoping to follow in his footsteps of returning to a public school. The reintegration process can be overwhelming and challenging, so all TDS students in this phase receive support and guidance through biweekly group meetings lead by TDS Reintegration Specialist, Stephen Jones and TDS Clinical Director, Allison Stevens. Adds Dominic's mother: "Our family will forever be grateful for everyone that was instrumental in helping Dominic get where he is today. I hope that all of your students continue to benefit from the work done at JCFS and achieve the same successes and victories that you have helped my son achieve."
Q & A with Dominic
What made you decide to make the changes to fully reintegrate?
I decided it wasn’t worth [not changing] it anymore when I knew what I had to do to reintegrate fully.
What were the challenges you faced while reintegrating to a public school while also being a TDS student?
At first, it was kind of hard to balance the different classwork. The amount of work from both schools and staying on-top of both responsibilities was hard.
At TDS, students have a lot of support when they’re feeling upset. What supports do you have in a public school?
You can’t take any walks with staff and there aren’t really time away rooms to decompress. Some of the classrooms had a couch, and teachers sometimes let us chill there when we need a break. Also, I had certain accommodations that carried over from TDS to my public school which were helpful. When things weren’t working well, I was able to rearrange my schedule to help make the work load expectations a bit lighter.
At TDS, the classrooms sizes are smaller, but in public school it can be a lot larger. How did you handle that?
It took a little patience–here when you raise your hand a teacher can come right away, and at a public school you could raise your hand along with many other students, so you had to wait.
What kind of role did your TDS teachers play in your reintegration experience?
They were very supportive. If I was having a bad day, they would provide me what I needed to help me get through it.
What’s the best part of being at your current school?
Being able to meet lots of people. There are 4,500 kids at my school, it’s a big school.
What activities are you participating in?
RTO, a military program and football.
What do you miss most about TDS?
The friends; there were more situations to work through and therefore, a lot more opportunities to get closer to people.