Building up the house: in-school student oversight with Gabriella Carbone
Student Success Podcast No. 20, Sept 4, 2014 (recorded July 11, 2014)
Today’s Guest: Gabriella Carbone.
In this interview, Gabriella discusses her Academic Coaching work with high school student athletes during the 2013/14 school year. Focusing on athletes, Gabriella helped them track work, build executive function and interpersonal skills. She served as their counselor, mentor, advocate and friend.
Gabriella highlights key contributing pieces of student success, including:
- building student ownership
- parental involvement
- teacher and counselor inputs
- what success looks like
Gabriella is currently Librarian and Religion teacher at Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, DC. Her student coaching program was part of her graduate studies with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. She graduated from Providence College, Rhode Island with a degree in Public and Community Service.
- How to mentoring students
- Building academic accountability
- How to approach teachers
- Working with teachers and counselors
- Advice for parents
- Advice for teachers
See below for detailed Show Notes.
Host: Michael L. Bromley
Original Music by Christopher Bromley (copyright 2011-2014) Background snoring by Stella.
Best Dogs Ever: by Puck, Stella, & Artemis
Just a little snore from Stella in this episode, otherwise she, Puck and Artemis listened in happily!
Here for Puck & Stella slideshow
The A+ Club from School4Schools.com LLC, based in Arlington, VA, is dedicated to helping students across the U.S.A. meet their goals and find the academic success the want and deserve. Contact us here or call now to (703) 271-5334 to see how we can help.
- worked as mentor and ran community service while in college
- job last year was to hold athletes accountable for their academic success
- prior work was with middle school students
- organized volunteer tutors, had someone every day… work on h/w and have some fun, spend time w/ them and talk about why school important
- how to establish a relationship as a mentor not as authority figure
- our A+ Club program works w/ students as agents on their behalf, their advocates for their own goals, which we want them to express
- agree: get on their level and get them to reach out to their potential
- what is academic accountability?
- we checked their grades every two weeks
- focused on failures and why
- tried to develop a partnership w/ teachers, counselors and students for holding them accountable
- accountability = ” to speak”
- (my Stella snoring now… 🙂 )
- have kids “account” for themselves
- then scaffold processes for improvement
- students improved and teachers responded well
- athletes were coming to them a lot more
- one teacher asked her to work w/ all students b/c only athletes were coming for help!
- could go through hallways after school and see them w/ their teachers
- reminded the kids that they were improving
- so important to communicate success
- most athletic academic oversight is proforma, coaches don’t have time, they don’t understand… great to have a person focused on it
- What did not work, what struggles?
- GPA were still below new NCAA standards
- and kids who improved fell back on that improvement and didn’t continue to improve
- brining up from Fs, they relaxes
- hard to get them not to settle for less
- still trying to figure that piece out
- tried different accountability measures: could have been more consistent
- difficult to bring all parties on board, coaches, teachers, parents, students
- so many snow days were difficult as well:
- snow days >> interrupt cycles and processes
- sorry, I was in California all winter… missed all the fun out east
- seems essence of your program was to raise awareness
- was that not the primary benefit? simply raising awareness yields results, especially on workflow and on what teachers are saying and why
- were your beneifts from the awareness or on academic ownership?
- our program experienced a bit of this… lead horse to water, but how to make it drink?
- takes lots of resources, can be difficult…
- students account for themselves: speak their goals,
- then process it, do it?
- how do you build that?
- did the kids increase their independence, start doing work on their own
- we had a study hall >> tried to make that work
- did try to follow up on work done at home
- if you believe in them, encourage them, they are better able to listen to advice
- don’t study for hours, study in a better way
- pay attention in class, write it down, read it over, then study it = 4x w/ same info
- that’s what it takes … , more engagement leads to fewer behavioral problems
- but how did it change their home behaviors?
- had some kids emailing her for help, was great
- some complained she didn’t get back to her w/ an 11pm email!
- good to see them follow up w/ her
- they were excited about their improvements
- she got them speaking about the things they had learned, they were paying attention in class
- tried to show them that learning can be part of their lives
- used “stop drop and roll” to help their reading >> make better sense of it.
- tried to reinforce that in study hall, getting them to explain their thought process
- how did relationship work as both agent of school and on their side?
- was a little confusing to them
- they knew she worked w/ other teachers / counselors, but it was mysterious to them
- laughed w/ them but got down to business
- worked w/ them on relationships w/ teachers … how to approach a teacher, professionalism
- one student said he never liked asking for help… but learned to reach out and found how it works for him, never needed help w/ that again
- worked w/ them on relevancy > why is this important? like practice in sports… same thing
- tried to speak to their realities and was honest with them
- joke around, but don’t play
- when they encounter an obstacle, kids like to defer blame
- so you created a situation where they can’ t blame you so it forces them to engage the process she created for them
- they knew I had their back
- followed up with teachers
- sometimes teachers make mistakes, so kids knew they could come to me
- watched all the teachers in the classroom to learn how they operate
- problem w/ pedagogy is that kids are party to what’s going on
- teachers don’t explain why they do the things they do
- why warmups? tell them : it’s to keep you busy so I can do roll
- Really neat what you have done
- raised awareness
- developed self-advocacy
- how to approach teachers:
- had one who worked on how to walk into the room to greet a teacher in a positive way instead of sulking
- that’s salesmanship
- but mostly understanding where you stand in a relationship with a teacher
- So, what advice would you give to parents?
- getting parents involved important
- asked kids what their parents think about things
- parents didn’t know, except only when progress reports mailed home
- parents can check up on kids, shows grades and missing work
- use these tools!
- ran tutorials for them
- parents who got involved led to incredible student improvement
- even when the oversight was from a friend of the parent, it was effective
- parent night important
- wants to have it before the first grades come out
- parents can act in advance of grades
- grades are instrument of judgment: feedback needs to happen in advance
- parent nights usually involve the parents we don’t need to see, so great to involve other parents who wouldn’t normally attend
- What would you tell teachers?
- reach out for help, you can’t fix 20 kids at once
- go to the counselors
- they’ll let the parents know and the coaches
- use your resources
- break things down, don’t just define
- Big idea, break it down, then bring it back up
- show them the process, guide it and then ask them to give it back to you in their own words
- what do you think — not the book, what do you think? Now the students are involved
- teachers are often islands, great advice to reach out to other resources
- my lesson plans always started w/ reminder: “Never assume prior knowledge”
- always amazing to watch other adults who don’t work with kids speak to them, and they don’t speak a language the kids understand, assumes they know things they don’t
- never assume they know any word you use
- and yes, constantly break it down!