SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A former special education teacher shares her experience with helping those involved in alternative schools and how she continues to help them until this day.
Alternative schools are benefiting those students that need extra emotional support, with regular meetings for students. They are designed for students that did not benefit well in ordinary schools.
The alternative programs give students specialized education outside of the traditional setting. Dr. Latoya Bosworth was someone who taught special education programs in alternative schools for 15 years.
Most of the time she worked with students that were either court involved or students that had social emotional behavioral disability or issues. She taught mostly English and History.
In the last three years, she was in the district, she worked as a behavioral specialist, where she did assessments on the same types of students that she had worked with for 15 years.
Now, Bosworth is creating life skills for those that are attending or leaving alternative schools.
This is her story
22News spoke with Bosworth on how far she has come with her coaching and how she became a light for those students in alternative schools or someone that was there even after graduation.
Bosworth shared her story of one student who she helped and built a connection with, Camry Starks. Camry Starks was a student of hers, that had been murdered last year.
In the video below, you will be able to hear more about how she helped Starks with his challenges and being a role model figure to him as much as she could. Even after he graduated from alternative schools.
She first worked with Starks when he was in 9th grade at a Springfield transition school in connection with an alternative school, that is no longer in existence. She was the only teacher at this school at the time. Starks spent two marking periods with Bosworth every single day for seven hours. During this period, she built a close relationship with him. When Bosworth switched to an alternative school setting to work in, she’d then be working with Starks again from 10th grade to the time he graduated.
A challenge that would rise is not being able to help students outside of the classrooms and what issues they might need help with in their home stetting/community. When Starks completed his state testing and left the school, Bosworth remained in contact with him.
Bosworth shared her most favorite memory with Starks and the tactics she used when teaching him.
“I always pushed him hard and challenged him.”Latoya Bosworth
Starks enlightens her to do even more for those that are leaving alternative school settings and stepping out into new opportunities.
The alternative schools are to prepare them for the real world ahead and what systems to comply with. Bosworth tries to do that with students like Starks and other students that she has remained in touch.
“We want to prepare you for what you are facing that you are not even aware of.”Latoya Bosworth
Since Bosworth is no longer teaching, she still provides coaching to those that come to her from alternative school settings or leaving them.
Until this day, Bosworth remains in touch with most of her former students.
How her coaching works
For those transitioning out of alternative schools, Bosworth says a majority go into the work field. “I think it is because they are coming from places where they were already helping.” These types of jobs are service labor or they will learn a trade such as CNA, cooking, etc.
Those interested in college will start with a two-year community college and then transfer into a four year. Bosworth says that students who attend alternative programs usually do not go on to four-year colleges and after graduation is without resources and guidance, which could lead to low-wage jobs, limited housing, and high imprisonment rates.
Bosworth helps to emotionally support those that are working or going to college by bringing them guidance; that will help them to develop themselves further and create a life that’s best for them.
Bosworth says, “we need more of a community surrounding and shielding our kids, protecting our kids, but also little by little letting them go. Like yes, you are free to make this choice or this mistake, but when you come back here, I’ll be here and we are going to talk about how we are going to move on from that.”
Bosworth indicates that a lot of those who come to her for coaching will receive lifetime mentorships. She helps connect her students with resources, by utilizing her network.
As a coach, Bosworth is also donating her services to a Fresh Start Award provided for those who attend alternative schools. The award is a scholarship in memory of Camry Starks. Those interested in donating to the scholarship are able to until the end of July.
The seven winners of the award will be able to experience their 8 weeks of coaching and prepare for a successful future.