While a new school year presents challenges for all students, Daeja faced a tougher than usual transition upon entering 6th grade at Slade Middle School.
School was already difficult enough for someone with ADHD. Daeja had difficulty staying seated and paying attention in class, and she seemed to be getting in trouble every single day. Life at home was stressful. She struggled academically, physically, and emotionally.
By the time 7th grade came around, Daeja was placed in a special education classroom.
Daeja then began attending YWCA New Britain’s STRIVE (which stands for Strength, Teamwork, Respect, Individuality, Vision, and Excellence) afterschool program for middle school girls.
When STRIVE staff member Erika saw how much Daeja was struggling, she began to shadow her and sit in with her at school during some of her classes. Daeja was very bright and intelligent, but she lacked the proper guidance and direction to stay on task. She was easily influenced and distracted by her classmates, and constantly interrupted the class by pulling the teacher off topic to deal with her negative behaviors. The environment was not a good fit for her.
Erika approached the school’s administration and advocated for a change for Daeja. They all worked together and put a plan in place to transfer Daeja into an honors classroom.
Moving to a new classroom with new teachers, new classmates, and a totally new atmosphere in the middle of the school year was a huge adjustment for Daeja. Although she was nervous, Erika helped ease her fears, supported her, and showed her that she was capable of being successful. She was by her side and in her corner every step of the way.
It turned out that being in higher level classes was exactly what Daeja needed. Now with hardly any disruption and some extra guidance, her academic and social improvements have been remarkable.
Erika says, “Since Daeja first came to us at STRIVE, the changes in her are incredible. She went from a special education class to an honors class. Her attitude is much more positive, she is more confident, and she is more motivated in her academic work. She is more empathetic and respectful to others, and has become generally more kind. She has developed close relationships with me and other STRIVE staff who she knows she can trust and count on.”
Daeja just started her last year at Slade and she is acting as a mentor and leader for the new 6th grade students. Her goal is to make the honor roll this year.
We look forward to watching Daeja grow into a successful high school student, and hopefully steer her into the House of Teens Program after completing STRIVE.