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Knott, Rota – AHS8200 - Week 15 Journal

Tuesday, May 1, 2018 (1-4 p.m.)


This week, I am attending the BOOST conference in Palm Springs, Cal. The conference
focuses on out-of-school time programs for youths through high school and the transition into higher
education.
I signed up for a pre-conference session today on bullying. The session shared methods of
youth empowerment used in HEAR (Helping Everyone Achieve Respect). HEAR is a student
workshop for middle school-aged youths that address their thinking about bullying and respect. I’m
not generally someone who likes to participate in “interactive” sessions but this one was actually a
lot of fun and very informative. The presenter used examples of youth-appropriate role playing
activities. Sometimes it’s good to act like a middle schooler again!
Another session was presented by Gallup on maximizing strengths. It was very appropriate
and a great follow-up to the Strengths Finder assessment that we took as part of this course. The
session discussed ways to help youths figure out what they do best, how they can tap into those
strengths, learn to appreciate those characteristics in themselves, and use them to serve both their
interests and their communities. Having found the Strengths Finder assessment incredibly accurate
for myself, I am wondering if this is something we could incorporate into the intake process for first-
generation and justice-involved youths as part of the SCLMB’s college and career access program.
I’m planning to follow the upper-level administration class track throughout the conference
to learn more about how we at the SCLMB can effectively manage and expand our existing
programs. Personally, I think this will be a nice complement to the courses for my administration of
human services degree.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018 (9 a.m. – 4 p.m.)


Today was the first full day of the BOOST conference. I found the luncheon guest speaker to
be very interesting. She gave a presentation about her experience as someone from a different culture
who moved to the United States when she was age 3. Because of a lack of cultural competence on
the part of school officials in her new community in Oklahoma, her culture played a role in her
placement in special education classes. Teachers assumed because she pronounced words differently
that she was pronouncing them incorrectly and that she couldn’t count, and, therefore, she belonged
in a special education class. This held her back academically and shrouded her in a stigma that it
took decades to overcome. She talked about how was embarrassed and traumatized by literally being
yanked out of a class full of her friends and a teacher she loved, and plopped into a class full of the
“bad kids” and “retards.” As an adult, she reflected on the experience for those of us operating
afterschool programs and talked about how she could have been treated differently by school system
officials.
Another conference session I attended today focused on supporting through education
individuals who are incarcerated or otherwise impacted by the justice system. The presenter
discussed the collateral consequences of incarceration for families and communities and reducing
the school to prison pipeline. The Wyoming Afterschool Alliance has an interesting approach to
prevention and early intervention for at-risk youth through school, law enforcement, juvenile justice,
and judicial system partnerships. The initiative advocates for afterschool programs as the first phase
of intervention. It focuses on understanding the juvenile justice climate in the jurisdiction,
developing outreach based on input from criminal and justice system partners, and professional
development around youth development.
I think an effort like that in place in Wyoming could work well in Somerset County where
the SCLMB already had strong partnerships with our law enforcement and justice system partners.
It would provide a natural transition for local youth from our afterschool programs into the college
and career access program.