During the week of November 12 -18, 2018, the Therapeutic Day School (TDS) of JCFS celebrated American Education Week, a week focused around promoting the idea that school is a place for each student, no matter the circumstance and everyone is deserving of the support, tools, and time needed to learn! This idea is very connected to what we hold to be true at TDS and decided to take some time to honor and thank our entire TDS staff - educators, support professionals, and administrators - by asking them to share what they love about their work.
- Carrie Patterson
- LeJean Easley
- Antoine Sanders
- Steven Walls
- Alice Hoffman
- Meg Butler
- Kevin Lisi
- Grace Hollander
- Rabbi Brill
- Allison Stevens
Carrie Patterson, Work Development and Employment Specialist, helped her students transform their vision of starting a coffee cart into reality. They wrote a business plan, developed an interest survey for potential customers and came up with a clever name – School Grounds. They even created a logo for t-shirts and coffee cups and kept tabs for loyal customers. “I love this population of kids and this has been an amazing experience for our students. I love that I have the freedom to create jobs for them, that we’re able to be creative and do things that get them excited about the world of work, as well as boost their self-esteem and build their confidence. I love seeing kids want to work and get excited about working. I am very proud of them.”
Carrie Patterson, Work Development and Employment Specialist, helped her students transform their vision of starting a coffee cart into reality. They wrote a business plan, developed an interest survey for potential customers and came up with a clever name – School Grounds. They even created a logo for t-shirts and coffee cups and kept tabs for loyal customers.
“I love this population of kids and this has been an amazing experience for our students. I love that I have the freedom to create jobs for them, that we’re able to be creative and do things that get them excited about the world of work, as well as boost their self-esteem and build their confidence. I love seeing kids want to work and get excited about working. I am very proud of them.”
TDS art teacher LeJean Easley lives and breathes art. Whatever the medium - drawings, paintings, murals, jewelry, glassware, ceramics, sculpture and photography - her creativity expresses itself in many ways. For 15 years, LeJean's love of art has inspired and pushed her students to accomplish things they never thought they could do. "That's why I get out of bed in the morning, to show all the students - especially the ones who don't think they can - that they CAN," says LeJean. "It makes me very excited to share the creative process and say, 'Come on, let's make some art!' and build students' confidence. That's why I keep coming back to TDS." Take a tour of the halls of TDS and you will see several colorful, intricate and uplifting murals that her students have created, thanks to her passion, planning, and love of all things art!
Antoine Sanders has filled many roles in his 15 years at TDS, including Teacher’s Aide and Classroom Support Staff. When asked what he loves about his work and its impact at TDS, Anton’s response was thoughtful and profound, “The fuel that keeps me coming back is the opportunity to establish relationships with students that assist them in their journey. I think that’s important, especially now in our society where a lot of young adults really don’t have positive figures and role models.” One of Anton’s students also had this to say: “This man is a good man. He’s funny and he makes sure his students do their homework!”
Support Staff Steven Walls has been with TDS for 3 years and appreciates “the fact that I can teach kids skills that they can apply in the classroom and in their community. Students are learning skills that they can apply in their everyday lives” that will help guide them when they leave TDS.
Alice Hoffman (not pictured), a Teacher’s Aide who has been with TDS for 18 years, said: “I love seeing the students develop and make positive changes in their lives. I also love the environment. It’s like a family around here and you really get to know students.”
“I love working with our students,” says Meg Butler, a Teacher’s Aide who has been with TDS for 3 years. “They’re so much fun and I really like seeing them grow and develop in the ways they need to be. It’s a testament that we’re making a difference.” (This past September, Meg went to exceptional lengths to help a TDS student who was involved in a sudden traumatic bike accident)
Kevin Lisi who has been a part of the TDS Support Team for almost 5 years tells us, “I love helping students when they are going through some emotional traumas and being the person to get them invested in a plan to change their behavior together and follow through on it.” Kevin also enjoys getting the students involved in basketball. (Go Bulldogs!)
"I love the relationships that we have, especially when the students have trouble with trusting other people and you realize, Oh, I’ve got them and they understand me,” says Grace Hollander who has taught at TDS for 8 years. “We have this positive relationship and it’s super rewarding.”
Rabbi Brill has taught at the Therapeutic Yeshiva of JCFS for 15 years and reflects that “at the end of the school year, one can look back retrospectively and see where each of the students has progressed. Regardless of where they’ve started, they’ve progressed in some area. Their success brings great pride to me and their teachers.” Rabbi Brill has also officiated the pet blessing at our Mazel Paws fundraisers held in October.
Allison Stevens has been a part of the TDS family for 16 years and has served as the school social worker, intake coordinator, and clinical coordinator prior to her current position as Social Work Clinical Director. What does she love about working at TDS? “I like the energy of the school, that there’s continuous learning and constant change,” she replies. "I also love watching students try something new and seeing their progress and growth as a result. I also enjoy hearing from former students and learning about their accomplishments outside of TDS.”
We appreciate and admire of all the educators, support staff and clinicians at TDS! Each school day, they welcome a diverse group of students and support all of them in ways specific to their needs. They encourage, guide and inspire students with their positive attitude, dedication and hard work. Most importantly, they believe in their students and develop practices that allow them to achieve great things. Their dedication to their students’ growth is boundless and we are so grateful they are part of the TDS family at JCFS!
How It All Began
The first observance of American Education Week occurred December 4-10, 1921, with the National Education Association and the American Legion as sponsors. The idea for this observance was born a few years earlier after both organizations convened and subsequently adopted resolutions for a national effort to raise public awareness of the importance of education after discovering that 25 percent of the country’s World War I draftees were illiterate. In 1922 the then U.S. Office of Education joined as a co-sponsor, with the PTA joining as a sponsor in 1938.
Subsequent co-sponsors of American Education Week include the U.S. Department of Education and national organizations including the National PTA, the American Legion Auxiliary, the American Association of School Administrators, the National School Boards Association, the American Federation of Teachers, the American School Counselor Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the National School Public Relations Association, the National Association of State Boards of Education, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.