BLS Guidance and Support Services Team
In addition to our guidance counselors, nurses, school psychologist, Student Support Coordinator and Learning Center teacher, our Support Services team also includes several others who coordinate and staff important programs supporting our students. A complete staff list follows these brief program descriptions.
ALPHA – A Learning Place for Healing Adolescents
ALPHA is a short-term program at Boston Latin School for students returning to school after an extended absence due to illness or hospitalization. ALPHA helps students with their re-entry and re-integration into school by supporting their academic, social and emotional needs. ALPHA is designed as a place to aid students in the transition back to BLS that minimizes stress and anxiety and encourages students’ academic success at school. Students are recommended for the ALPHA program by a guidance counselor. Determining if ALPHA is a suitable fit is decided at the required re-entry meeting when returning from an extended absence. School personnel, including teachers, guidance counselors, nurses, and administrators are made aware of a student’s decision to participate in the ALPHA program. However, details regarding the student’s absence from school are kept confidential. The ALPHA program is staffed by Erik Wagner, Special Education Teacher, and Vanessa Prosper, Ph.D., Clinical Coordinator.
OMEGA – Ongoing Mental health and Emotional Guidance for Adolescents
The OMEGA program is geared toward providing emotional and academic support to students whose emotional difficulties have been severely interfering with their ability to attend school and/or classes regularly and their ability to engage in the classroom and/or produce academic work over a long period of time. The OMEGA program is staffed by Erik Wagner, Special Education Teacher, and Vanessa Prosper, Ph.D., Clinical Coordinator.
The Children's Hospital Neighborhood Partnership
The Children’s Hospital Partnership provides Boston Latin School with a psychologist, Dr. Amy Kaye and Ms. Ginelle Vasquez, MSW, assist in meeting the mental health needs of our students. Dr. Kaye and Ms. Vasquez work with our guidance counselors, school psychologist, clinical coordinator, nurses, and classroom teachers in an effort to meet these needs. In addition to consulting with staff and providing preventative programs for our students, they also work directly with students who have been referred by their counselors. They make referrals to service providers, provide counseling to students, offer support in emergencies, and serve as integral part of the Boston Latin School Support Services Team. If you have questions about these services, please contact William Murray, Student Support Coordinator, or Megan Clougherty, Program Director for Guidance and Support Services.
Saturday Success School and After School Tutoring
Saturday Success School offers help and enrichment to students in classes VI, V and IV from 9 A.M. to noon on Saturday mornings from November through May. Teachers, alumni volunteers and upper level students provide individual instruction to students, who thrive under this personal attention.
The After School Tutoring Program is a drop-in program available to students in Classes VI, V and IV from 2:15 pm until 3:15 pm on Monday through Thursday from October through May. Students with expertise in a variety of academic areas serve as tutors and the program is coordinated by BLS teachers.
Both programs are overseen by Ms. Rose Delorme Metayer, Director of the McCarthy Institute for Transition and Support.
Schawbel College Resource Center
The Schawbel College Resource Center provides resources and opportunities for both students and parents to learn about colleges, the college admissions process, as well as current trends, procedures, and testing requirements. College counseling classes are offered to all juniors and these classes cover all aspects of the college search and application process. The Center also arranges meetings for juniors and seniors with college admissions representatives who visit BLS after school during the fall. The director is Alyssa Frank.
The Boston Private Industry Council (PIC) is a very important partner in our efforts to provide students at Boston Latin School with preparation for both college and careers. Taryn Beatty, our PIC Career Specialist is located in the Schawbel College Resource Center. Boston PIC provides our students with the support and assistance they need in preparing for both job and college interviews. In addition to meeting with students individually to discuss their plans, Boston PIC provides students with mock interviews and helps with presenting our interview skills workshops. Throughout the year, the Boston PIC provides our students with information about many internship and volunteer positions. Our Career Specialist also help coordinate several fellowship programs, including our most successful, the Ward Fellowship. In addition, Boston PIC provides information about and access to summer and part-time employment possibilities.
SOS Signs of Suicide Prevention Program
The teen years are marked by a rollercoaster ride of emotions - difficult for teens, their parents, and educators. It is easy to misread depression as normal adolescent turmoil; however, depression (among the most common of mental illnesses) appears to be occurring at a much earlier age, and the past decade has seen suicide rates double.
In order to proactively address this issue, Boston Latin School offers depression screening and suicide prevention training as part of the SOS Signs of Suicide Prevention program to all students in Classes VI and IV. This program has proven successful at increasing help-seeking by students concerned about themselves or a friend, and is the only school-based suicide prevention program selected by SAMSHA for its National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices that addresses suicide risk and depression, while reducing suicide attempts.
Our goals in participating in this program are straightforward:
· To help our students understand that depression is a treatable illness, and help them assess whether or not they may have symptoms consistent with depression.
· To explain that suicide is a preventable tragedy that often occurs as a result of untreated depression.
· To provide students training in how to identify serious depression and potential suicidality in a friend.
· To impress upon teens that they can help themselves or a friend by taking the simple step of talking to a responsible adult about their concerns.
The depression screening tool that students will complete during the SOS session cannot provide a diagnosis of depression, but does give an indication of whether a young person should be referred for an evaluation by a mental health professional. Guidance counselors and support staff follow-up with students as needed.