A former special education teacher accompanies those who leave alternative schools

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A former special education teacher shares her experience helping those involved in alternative schools and how she continues to help them to this day.

Alternative schools benefit students who need extra emotional support, with regular meetings for students. They are designed for students who have not benefited well from mainstream schools.

Alternative programs give students a specialized education outside of the traditional setting. Dr. Latoya Bosworth was someone who taught special education programs at alternative schools for 15 years.

Most of the time, she worked with students who were either involved in court or students who had social-emotional behavioral disorders or problems. She mainly taught English and history.

For the past three years she was in the district, she worked as a behavioral specialist, where she did assessments on the same types of students she had worked with for 15 years.

Now, Bosworth is creating life skills for those attending or leaving alternative schools.

It’s his story

22News spoke with Bosworth about how far she’s come with her coaching and how she’s become a light for students in alternative schools or who need someone even after graduation.

Bosworth shared her story of a student she helped and connected with, Camry Starks. Camry Starks was a student of his, who was murdered last year.

She first worked with Starks when he was in 9th grade at a transitional school in Springfield connected to an alternative school, which no longer exists. She was the only teacher in this school at the time. Starks spent two tagging periods with Bosworth each day for seven hours. During this period, she built a close relationship with him. When Bosworth moved to an alternative school to work, she would work with 10th grade Starks again when he graduated.

A challenge that would arise would be not being able to help students outside of the classroom and issues they might need help with in their home/community. When Starks finished his state tests and left school, Bosworth kept in touch with him.

Bosworth shared her most favorite memory with Starks and the tactics she used to teach him.

“I always pushed him hard and challenged him.”

Latoya Bosworth

In the video below, you can learn more about how she helped Starks overcome his challenges and be a role model for him as much as she could. Even after graduating from alternative schools.

Starks urges him to do even more for those leaving alternative schools and embarking on new opportunities.

Alternative schools must prepare them for the real world ahead and the systems to conform to. Bosworth tries to do this with students like Starks and other students she has kept in touch with.

“We want to prepare you for what you’re up against that you’re not even aware of.”

Latoya Bosworth

Since Bosworth is no longer teaching, she still offers mentoring to those who come to her from or leave alternative school backgrounds.

To this day, Bosworth remains in contact with most of his former students.

How his coaching works

For those who come out of alternative schools, Bosworth says a majority go into the work field. “I think it’s because they come from places where they were already helping.” These types of jobs are service work or they will learn a trade such as CNA, cooking, etc.

Those interested in college will start with a two-year community college and then progress to a four-year college. Bosworth says students in alternative programs typically don’t go to four-year colleges and after graduation they are destitute and without guidance, which could lead to low-paying jobs, housing limited and at high rates of imprisonment.

Bosworth helps emotionally support those who are working or going to college by providing counseling; that will help them develop further and create a life that suits them best.

Bosworth says, “We need more of a community surrounding and protecting our children, protecting our children, but also letting them go bit by bit. Like yes, you are free to make that choice or that mistake, but when you come back here, I’ll be there and we’ll talk about how we’re going to move on.

Bosworth says that many of those who come to see her for framing will receive lifelong mentorships. She helps connect her students with resources, using her network.

As a coach, Bosworth also donates her services to a Fresh Start Pricing offered to those attending alternative schools. The award is a Camry Starks Memorial Scholarship.

The seven winners of the award will be able to experience their 8 weeks of coaching and prepare for a successful future.

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