As we enter the 2023-2024 school year, it’s an exciting time with all kinds of questions that our kids are asking as they enter the year. For most students, there are questions about who my teachers are, will I have all the supplies I need, what subjects will I be taking, which of my friends will still be there for me, what will my new subjects be like and other related questions.
However, for students who have been placed in programs like Lakeside offers, the questions are significantly different and deeper in their potential impact.
- Will this be my last chance to find success?
- How will this school be different?
- Will they accept me for who I am?
- Will this be like prison?
- How will they help me with my problems?
- Will I finally be able to overcome some of my issues?
- What kind of relationships will I have with the staff?
- What type of students go to this school?
- Will my subjects be the same?
- Will I be more exposed in a therapeutic school?
- Am I safe here?
- How long will I be here?
- Who can I trust?
Lakeside begins its school programs this coming week. We recognize that our students who are new to us will have a lot of questions. Their school experiences have usually not been all that positive. They often have been labelled and/or judged for their previous behavior or learning differences and have been identified by the school district as needing special placement. The purpose in placing them was to get the help they need and find a way to meet their personal and academic goals in another environment that specializes in providing therapeutic interventions for students.
Just like their questions are different than they might ask in a public school, the staff responses to those insecurities need to be mindful, compassionate and open. It takes a positive relationship over time in order to build trust. They need to see they can express themselves and not be judged. They need exceptional role models who genuinely care and who will step into their lives without judgement while helping them overcome their life obstacles in ways that are understood and contextual to their need.
So knowing some of these significant back-to-school questions that our students will ask, we train our staff to make our environment safe, relational, emotionally healthy and yet accountable for their academic work and personal growth. For so many of our students it can be the turnaround point for their lives to matter, to grow and to achieve success.
We trust that our approach in caring for our students will provide the answers to their fears, doubts and questions. In so doing, we will be able to offer hope and help to our students where they can prove that they are capable to overcome the issues that have led to their placement with us when they are better understood. This makes the new school year at Lakeside exciting but also full of challenges as we attempt to help students find trust, hope and the help they need.