Supporting our Students with Alysia Williams and Patrick Burbine

Brooke Newsletter

Our student support staff strive to build strong relationships with students in order to push them to be their best selves both academically and personally. Our staff collaborate with colleagues and families in order to meet the needs of every student by ensuring accommodations are met and developing intervention plans. 

We sat down with Brooke East Boston and Brooke High School Speech Language Pathologist, Alysia Williams, and Brooke East Boston Student Support Coordinator, Patrick Burbine to hear about their experiences and how they collaborate with others to ensure they meet the needs of every student. 

Can you describe your positions?

Patrick: It is a lot of making sure that our scholars know that we see them as whole people with a lot of strengths that they bring to the table. It’s about leveraging those strengths in order to help them meet their academic goals. 

Alysia: Yes! It’s helping them to understand how their brain works, how to advocate for themselves and understand what accommodations they need. 

What does your typical day look like at Brooke?

Alysia: Haha, there is no such thing as a typical day!

Patrick: A typical day for me is a lot of various types of support. I’m either supporting students within the classroom or working with small groups out of the classroom. 

Alysia: As a Speech Language Pathologist, I work with a few small groups of students on different skills such as articulation, language skills, social skills. I also have moments where I do student observations in the classroom and meet with teachers and families about students.

What does student support mean to you?

Patrick: In my head, I link it to the idea that every scholar has a strength. So, the question is how can we leverage that in the moment we are in right now academically? 

Alysia:  I love what you said, Patrick – it’s about supporting the strengths. Sometimes we think of it as drawbacks but there’s also that every student has their own individual strengths that we should build off of in the classroom. 

What drew you to Brooke? 

Patrick:  The part of teaching that I liked the most was getting in the weeds with one child at a time, and figuring out exactly what that scholar needs. 

Alysia: I was drawn to Brooke after I read the74 article, which talked about how well students are performing here! 

Patrick:  Yes, I read that same one! Another emphasis that Brooke showcased was not only student coaching, but also staff coaching. That is something that was, and still is important to me.  

How is it working on the student support team? 

Alysia:  Five stars! It’s great working on the student support team, everyone is so passionate and cares so much about our kids. Brooke has one of the most collaborative environments I have worked in where we are all able to share resources. 

I know I can always go to our Chief of Student Support, Cristie, for anything. I would say the same for our Brooke East Boston Assistant Principal, Kaitlyn Ellis, who is an amazing resource and is always finding ways to make things more efficient or organized. 

Patrick: The whole team is supportive, and it’s helpful that we have Kaitlyn, who meets with us weekly!

How do you partner with and support families?

Alysia: Communicating with the parents consistently is important. Additionally, recognizing that parents are also experts on their kids. We are both bringing our expertise to the table to find the best way to meet their needs!

Patrick: We support them by striking a balance between asking questions, and knowing that families expect us to be the experts as well. 

What do you love about your role?

Alysia: I love that no day is the same! At Brooke, you are able to see our kids’ progress in real time. You can be creative in your approach, and see the skill being directly applied in the classroom. 

Patrick:  The human connections! As Alysia was saying, seeing the growth from day to day is such a rewarding cycle. 

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned being in your role?

Patrick:  The most important lesson I have learned is to always look for the strengths in each student. You need to be good at getting to know them and focusing your energy on each scholar in order to transfer those skills for them to succeed. 

Alysia: I learned how important the investment in building relationships with students is and how that carries through in everything you do. It is the foundation of everything!