Terisha Young, is the Assistant Director of Student and Family Affairs at Girls Prep Bronx Middle School. Ms. Young's role is to help students identify behavior issues, process conflicts, and to be a point of contact for parents in order to enhance student's academic success.
Making an impact as a middle school leader
At Girls Prep we try to “foster a nurturing, safe environment and build feelings of solidarity and community amongst our students.”
The network provides opportunities for staff members to model classroom management and provides morning and afternoon advisory curriculum. For staff and students, this helps keep school a safe-space, and encourages consistent and healthy rapport student to student, and student to faculty member.
I believe the best part about my role as Assistant Director of Student and Family Affairs at Girls Prep Bronx Middle School is having the chance to impact change on a micro and macro level. For example, I help my students identify issues before they become larger distractions for them. I help them process conflict, make smart choices, and to advocate for themselves appropriately.
On a macro level, I have in the past been able to make a change in our monthly schedule to allow for our core value celebration to occur during a time of day when the students will be more energetic and engaged. I did what we empower not only our faculty to do, but also all members of our community – pay attention to how the students are engaging with each other and with content and meet them where they are in their journey, in order to understand how to better support them. Quite frankly, if I were to describe expectations for middle school to a new parent or staff member, I would say just that –to be aware of the development stage of your student(s) and always try to meet them where they are.
One of my goals is to implement a peer mentoring club. Our students are gritty, persevering, resilient, and self-aware and I would be happy to help guide more of them to gaining the confidence to support one another through conflict resolution. This type of peer to peer connection is invaluable, and in my experience has a positive and long-lasting effect on those who participate.
If I could provide another piece of advice it would be: recognize every student has different developmental needs and they are going through changes at their own pace. Natural changes like puberty can impact their interactions with each other. It’s hard for parents to adjust with elementary to middle and their students come in needing new friend groups or needing to learn better study habits.
I encourage families to attend our monthly parent departmental nights and our workshops with parents and students. For example, our most popular workshop last year happened on PETALs night. It was for electives where scholars were given the opportunity to showcase all their hard work to their family and friends. These are opportunities for our families to gain direct access to their student’s classroom, teachers, and peers, to understand what influences exist in your scholars’ life. You will also have a chance to learn what they are learning.
I look forward to continuing my journey with the scholars at Girls Prep Bronx and contributing to this community.