We recently introduced you to our Silverton Elementary resource coordinator, Cheri, and were delighted to see how excited our community was to read more about these silent superheroes walking in our midst!
As we mentioned, Cheri is just one of 10+ Resource Coordinators (RC’s) employed by Activities Beyond the Classroom but placed in public schools. Our RC’s shoulder the responsibility of serving “the whole student,” which means something different for every community and school they work with. It can mean assisting students with learning disabilities, or ensuring that diversity is being embraced in their schools.
But wait: we’re called Activities Beyond the Classroom. What does a RC, who supports students and families during the school day, have to do with that?
The answer: everything.
Our RC’s are making sure that students are well equipped for their day, whether that includes just getting through class or if it means getting through class and chess club and soccer practice. These pros identify what’s keeping students from succeeding and work to eliminate those barriers. That makes students more successful beyond the classroom AND in the classroom. Win/win, right?
To learn more about what ABC Resource Coordinators do, please visit our website.
We’d like to introduce you to Roselawn Condon School’s resource coordinator, Darcus Anderson. Darcus previously worked for Talbert House as a Mental Health Provider, where she coordinated resources and facilitated individual, group, and classroom presentations to help increase students social skills. Darcus has a M.Ed in Counseling and a Bachelors in Psychology. She is incredibly passionate about her school and community and focuses her time on getting to know each one of her students and their needs.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Being able to help parents and students. That’s the simple answer, but that’s the best way to describe my passion for my work: I love helping my families. My background is in mental health and, nowadays more than ever, we’re finding ourselves struggling. Kids and adults are dealing with mental health issues, all of us are. We want to go back to “normal,” but we need to process what is still happening around us. I think my background in counseling and psychology has come in handy a lot. Even though it’s not in my job description, I love being a resource to kids and families in crisis.
What is something particularly unique/special about the Roselawn Condon community?
We have a number of students at our school with special needs and I love bonding with these children. Our school is uniquely equipped to support these students with support staff that most schools don’t have. Being around these children makes me feel so blessed. Some of these students can’t even talk, but they have joy in their days and that joy is infectious.
Better yet, the neurodiversity and diversity of ability at our school really teaches students about equity in a beautiful way. Just because a student looks or learns or seems different from you doesn’t mean you treat them like they are any different from yourself. We honor the platinum rule in our school (“treat others the way they want to be treated”) and feel like one big family.
But this is just one special part of our community! Our community is also fantastic and often throws support behind our students in the form of holiday gifts and spring barbeques. We have STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) Fridays where we get the kids involved in wonderful activities that range from ballet and music therapy to droning and coding. And we have an excellent English-Language Learner (ELL) unit that engages a fantastic, international refugee population; we have students here from the Congo, Morocco, Afghanistan, and all over.
It takes a very special school to be able to do all these things, to be equipped for students from all over the world and for students with a variety of special needs. Accessibility and inclusion are in our blood here. It’s a very special place.
If you had $1,000 today to make a difference at your school, what would you do with it?
Something we used to do that has been harder to do recently is support students around the holiday season. If I had $1000 right now, I would get some gift cards to give out to families in need so they could have a turkey on Thanksgiving, or make sure each child had a present for them, or have a really good meal on a meaningful day.
We have something like 436 kids that we think about around the holidays, and that’s a lot of families! Additionally, as I previously mentioned, we have a lot of refugee students who often live in very crowded or multifamily households. Oftentimes, our families are food insecure and they can’t always count on three solid meals plus snacks at home. Even just a $25 gift card per household could make such a difference. If I had $1000 to help families right now, this is the good work I’d spend it on.
What is something you are excited about this school year?
The engagement of our community! During the peak of COVID-19, when students were learning virtually, we struggled just like everyone else. Some lucky students have had few learning interruptions, but they’re the exceptions. Everyone else has really struggled with the last year and a half and there’s been a lot of learning loss, and that can be very frustrating. Overcoming that frustration to make up for lost time is difficult, but the community coming together makes it easier.
I’ve met with community council members and parents and all sorts of community members that are excited about getting our kids back on track academically. It is awesome that our community wants to get involved and engaged. They are really working to rally around our students.
One more question, because these are indeed stressful days we live in: how do you relieve stress? Any tips for our families?
Well, we all have healthy stress relievers and less healthy ones, right? I confess, my less healthy stress relief comes from the home shopping network! I’ve spent a bit more money than I probably needed to, but at least all my holiday shopping is done early!
But really, I stay positive. I listen to this influencer who always says to “go out and have the best day you can” and even if I can’t have a good day, “don’t you dare go ruining someone else’s.” And I love that. I get so much joy from other people having a good day. So I read my bible, I spend time with friends and family, I exercise every day, and I send people kind notes because I do believe that every drop of light you can put into this world adds up.
Learn more about Roselawn Condon School:
To learn more about Darcus Anderson or Roselawn Condon School, we recommend you check out Roselawn Condon’s website.