Catholic Education, especially a Lasallian education, has always been focused on caring for the whole child. Providing students support outside of the classroom—helping them spiritually, socially, and emotionally— has been an integral component of a West Catholic education, and even more so today. When Principal Kelly Lanza thinks about students excelling in math or reading, she recognizes that many of them have obstacles that affect their academic journey.
“We recognize students come to us with a lot of things they are dealing with,” says Principal Lanza. “Before we as educators can begin to think about a student excelling in the classroom, we have to understand the things they are dealing with and provide them tools and strategies to overcome them.”
In 2016, the school administration began to see a trend: students at West Catholic Prep were dealing with more social and emotional issues than ever before. Knowing that those issues impacted a student’s ability to learn, the school set out to create a social work position focused on academic support and trauma-based intervention, titled Burr Academy Coordinator.
Daryl Blodgett became the school’s Burr Academy Coordinator during the summer of 2018, arriving at West Catholic with 20 years of experience in education spanning multiple roles. According to Daryl, a lot of his work is helping students “fill in the gaps.”
His role includes everything from helping students who feel overwhelmed to coping with a sick family member. Once those gaps are identified, Daryl and other school staff can create a plan for a student and work with the family and other staff to ensure the student has the kind of support they need to find success both inside and outside the classroom.
To read more about West Catholic’s holistic approach to schooling and mentorship, check out West Notes Spring 2019 edition.