This month, we are featuring Fairview High School‘s JTG Specialist, Vickie Parsons, in our Specialist Spotlight. Vickie is known for fostering strong connections with her students, and she goes above and beyond to help her students succeed. One of her most notable yearly activities is helping her classes plan and prepare a full Thanksgiving lunch to build camaraderie and expand their confidence beyond the borders of the professional world.
Name: Vickie Parsons
School: Fairview High School
Years in Teaching: 11
Years with JTG: 11
Q: What is your favorite part about working specifically with JTG?
A: I enjoy the camaraderie that JTG shares within its organization. It’s very nice to work with a group of people who share the same passion for helping youth.
Q: What challenges do your specific students face in terms of getting to graduation?
A: Most of my students that are not on track to graduation is due to lack of credits. They have fallen behind in their classes as underclassmen. For other students, it could be due to them having unstable family situations – moving from place-to-place or working long hours to help support their families.
Q: How would you describe your students from the beginning of the year to the end at graduation? What changes do you see in their mindsets?
A: Much more confident self-assured in their abilities. They are not scared of the future.
Q: What special opportunities, units, or activities do you specifically plan for your students throughout the year?
A: We work on creating their own personal portfolios. We create and collect documents that will be helpful for them once they graduate and start looking for work. We spend time on leadership activities where students learn and understand the importance of working as a team.
Q: What has been one of the most rewarding moments with your JTG students?
A: Seeing your students become successful. During the follow-up with JTG students, you get to see and learn about all the things they are doing after high school. It is so rewarding when a former student comes up to me and shares that what they learned in JTG made a difference in their lives. They did not realize what they had learned in JTG was so beneficial until they got into the real world. They tell me “Thank You,” and it makes my job worthwhile.
Q: Why do you feel high school classrooms need programs such as JTG as additional resources to help students toward graduation and beyond?
A: JTG would be beneficial to any high school students. Every standard we teach in JTG is needed by all high school students. In your traditional acadamic classes students and teachers do not have to extra time to build relationships. These relationship are so important in helping our youth to be successful.
Q: If you could improve upon the JTG program/model, what changes would you make?
A: I would recommend having updated curriculum/resources that can be shared and used by everyone. Most of all my materials and lesson plans I had to create it by myself.