Bushwick Leaders High School for Academic Excellence

The involvement of Good Shepherd Services now as lead CBO in the Community Schools model has had a tremendous impact on health/wellness supports and attendance improvement strategies. In particular, their robust counseling services and after-school programming have impacted student success. One male student in particular exemplifies how meaningful these supports can be. Having recently experienced the death of his father as well as struggle with academics and attendance, he has shown a significant change in behavior and attitude while at Bushwick Leaders. He attends after-school programs and Good Shepherd's counseling services every single day. Participating in after-school gave him the opportunity to build relationships with both his peers and surrounding staff so that now he has begun to feel accepted into his school community.

Outstanding Staff: Leo Coodin, Senior Social Worker

Leo stands out as having a significant impact on the culture at Bushwick Leaders. This being his 6th year at the school, he is strongly familiar with the school community and known for adopting multiple roles to support school staff. He sees the needs that exist and has raised the standard for programming at the school as well as the "day to day" to a higher level. He assists with music programming and co-facilitates a service learning program through PM School, part of the Extended Learning Time initiative. Leo is a true "stress alleviator" with his dedication to every staff member at the school as well as every student.

As a full-time social worker, the bulk of his responsibility aligns with health/wellness supports. His clinical supervision during the day puts him in a special position to understand students at a one-on-one level as well as the reality of families of Bushwick Leaders. This individualized attention then affects student attendance and family engagement as they feel Leo is a consistent and sincere pillar of support at the community school. He also works closely with guidance counselors so that they too feel supported in their efforts to improve student attendance and academic success.

Outstanding Program: AVID, led by Brittani Kanhai, Bushwick Leaders, English Teacher; Good Shepherd Tutors

AVID (Advancement Through Individual Determination) is one program in particular that has had a significant impact on student's academic success and college readiness. Good Shepherd tutors push into AVID classes & are the same who participate in advisories & provide counseling.

AVID presents an opportunity for teachers and Good Shepherd staff to collaborate on well-rounded student support that addresses academic as well as social-emotional learning. This format of having consistent staff in AVID & then in counseling (both individual & group) as well as advisories has helped as an attendance improvement strategy. The underlying motivation is to address the "whole child" bolstered by the involvement of a CBO who can bring a multi-dimensional piece to mental health.

Outstanding Student: C.S. female student, 16, Junior

C. S. began at Bushwick Leaders her freshman year in 2014. She has had exceptional attendance in light of having lost her mother. She is a high utilizer of Good Shepherd Services and the school as a whole has been very involved in supporting her and her father through their loss. C. S. is also a talented dancer and developed a dance piece dedicated to her mother with the dance instructor at Bushwick Leaders. During the Good Shepherd counseling sessions, C. S. was able to work through her experience of transforming her grief and sense of loss into an art form. C. S. shared her dance piece at the Holiday Showcase in front of the school community as well as her father and brother. There was a moment where C. S. thought she would leave Bushwick Leaders, but she and her father realized that there was no better school that would offer both active community support and academic rigor.