Jamilah Vogel, School Counselor, St. Albans City School


– When I was in high
school, I was struggling. I’d had a loss, my father
died when I was 15, freshman in high school. It really threw me for a loop. I didn’t have a fantastic
connection to school at that time. I imagine that part of what
drew me to school counseling was the desire to be a
support to kids like myself who struggled the way
that I did in school. (bouncy music) UVM graduate and counseling
program is a program that prides itself in
excellence in preparing people for counseling work – We have very accomplished faculty, faculty that are recognized
nationally and internationally for their scholarship, for their teaching, and our accomplished faculty work directly with our master’s students. – The most valuable thing
for me about that program was the experience together as a cohort in a rather intimate kind of relationship with a handful of professors. They really make an effort to get to know the individual students, to know what you’re struggling with, to know what your strengths
are, to play to those, to give you a lot of very
concrete, direct critical feedback Lance Smith’s Diversity Course
was transformative for me. – [Lance] And what struck me
about Jamilah was her energy. She had a passion for
social justice work as well. She had a passion for… For anti-racism work. – [Jamilah] My first year
here at St Albans City School, I had realized that this community is a really difficult place for
people of color in particular, it’s really difficult for
people in the LGBTQA spectrum, and so those have been the two
areas of focus for me here, and my work here. I think my favorite part
of my job related to this is my work with peer leaders. Every year, they start
the school year having weekly meetings and
they meet for many weeks to become informed enough
to lead conversations on what are really challenging topics. And then they are able
to go in and work with their same age peers and
they lead their peers in interactive activities and discussions. We did work this year at the
7/8 level on implicit bias, microaggressions and privilege. It was my second year here at City School and Lance reached out to me
to say that he was forming this team of folks through
UVM and creating a partnership with Vermont school
districts to do some work around bringing restorative
practices to schools and that he was really
interested in looking at how restorative practice and the field of school counseling work together. – So she’s been a valued
member of that team for the past three years. She’s participated in
numerous research studies and she’s been there from the very start. She’s now presenting at
conferences with regards to restorative practices
and school counseling and racial disparities within schools. – [Jamilah] When you can sit with a kid, in a moment when they’re
struggling and see them, see their light bulb, see
them have an a-ha moment, see them have a breakthrough,
to bear witness to that, to be part of that is such a blessing. And those moments come out
of the blue all of the time.

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