In September, we introduced you to the Springbrook Scholars program, here. The Springbrook Scholars program supports current employees at Springbrook in their pursuit of higher education and attainment of credentials for high-demand fields such as nursing, special education, occupational, speech, and physical therapy, and other disciplines. In addition to advancing the careers of these dedicated Springbrook employees, it also provides an opportunity for them to engage with other practitioners and expand on the knowledge they’ve acquired in the field. The latest graduates of the Springbrook scholars program include Jessica Jester, Shannon Carreras, Jessica Laveile, and Jessica Weston. Recently, we caught up with Jessica Jester and Shannon Carreras, who attained degrees through the Springbrook Scholars program. We asked them to share their experience with the program and some of the things that they wish to achieve beyond their degrees.
Jessica Jester, Behavior Specialist
Jessica is a behavior specialist who has worked with Springbrook for eight years and currently works in the School at Springbrook. She recently received her bachelor’s degree in applied psychology through the scholar’s program and hopes to continue her education in the near future by working toward a master’s degree to gain credentials as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). As a behavior specialist, Jessica works alongside the students and their teachers, as well as DSPs to effectively create life plans based on the student’s individual needs. By gathering and interpreting data, Jessica can provide advice to teachers and staff on how to provide the best options to students so that they can attain their goals and achieve independence. Jessica also has the opportunity to partake in some of the fun by assisting with activities like going on outings to the playgrounds, gym, and pool. Most of all, Jessica is there to support the staff and students and often finds herself listening: “My door is always open. [Staff and students] know where they can find me and when they pop into my office they know they can talk to me about anything.”
“My favorite part of working at Springbrook is working with the students. They make my heart happy and seeing them succeed and doing great things fills it with joy”.
Like Jessica, Shannon Carreras also works at the School at Springbrook. Shannon works as a special education teacher and manages a class of six students, with three staff members. She assists and trains staff in creating individualized education programs (IEPs) for students so that they can reach their best possible outcomes for school and academics. She also works on activity building for the students to help them grow and foster their independence. Shannon has worked with Springbrook for twelve years in many different capacities, but has always been drawn to education, which helped her to take the steps to further her education and seek assistance through the Springbrook Scholars program. Shannon doesn’t plan to stop at her master’s degree, however, and has plans to pursue a doctorate. For now, Shannon is happy to come into work every day where, she says, she gets to “see the smiles on the kid’s faces and the excitement that they have for learning and continue to build relationships with the staff and students.”
Shannon Carreras, Special Education Teacher
It took dedication and hard work for Jessica and Shannon to attain their respective degrees. Both of them worked full time while raising their families and mentioned that they could not have done all of it had they not had the support from family, friends, fellow students, and Springbrook. Maintaining a balance between their home and work lives, however, did not stop either of them from taking the time that they needed for themselves. Shannon put it honestly by saying, “it was a lot of work, it was a lot of pressure, it was a lot of stress. But I also made sure to take the time for myself to just decompress and remind myself that the outcome of what I was doing was well worth what I was going through at that moment.”
“My new credentials will help me better support the people that I work with by implementing programs and strategies that will help them become more independent and learn at their own pace. An example of that would be learning how to do proper modifications and accommodations that allow them to be as independent as possible with their academics as well as vocational skills and transitional skills.”
Jessica and Shannon were able to take advantage of the flexibility that their individual programs provided, as well as the flexibility of the Springbrook Scholars program, which now consists of two tracks; Springbrook Scholarships (Tuition-free Programs) and Springbrook Tuition Reimbursement. Each track offers unique advantages and allows one to tailor their higher education experience to their personal circumstances.
If you’re interested in becoming a Springbrook Scholar be sure to check out the webpage below:
Congratulations to Jessica Jester, Shannon Carreras, Jessica Laveile, and Jessica Weston on their personal accomplishments!