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Webinar: Supporting Students Transitioning from Alternative School Settings

Region 9 Comprehensive Center hosted a free webinar with the National Center for Safe and Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE) on supporting students in effective transitions on Tuesday, April 25, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. CT. 

Archived Webinar Resources: 

The event highlighted recommendations and insights from an infographic developed from focus groups conducted by the Region 9 Advisory Board with students at West40, an intermediate district serving 41 school districts and three co-ops in Illinois.

The webinar featured a panel discussion with students and staff from West40, R9CC advisory board members, and experts on how youth-serving adults can best support students transitioning from non-traditional settings, such as alternative schools, to traditional school settings. Students and panelists discussed how teachers and school staff can create a more welcoming, and positive learning environment, how schools can pair students with a significant adult in their school, and how staff can communicate more transparently to support students in their transition. Students and panelists also discussed how schools can better address disciplinary issues and what that looks like in practice.

Panelist Information:

  • Students from West 40- The webinar featured students speaking on their experience in alternative school settings and on their relationships with adults in the building.  
  • Sophia Arredondo, Technical Assistance Consultant, AIR- Sophia Arredondo works in the Youth, Family, and Community Development program at American Institutes for Research (AIR) where she is responsible for providing specialized direct assistance and training to U.S. Department of Education funded grantees for the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and Office of Safe and Supportive Schools (OSSS) National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE). Sophia has been in the education and education-adjacent space for over 15 years as a university lecturer, violence prevention advocate and program manager, school district administrator, and national education organization director establishing, implementing, and advancing programs in school and community settings. 
  • Greta Colombi, Principal TA Consultant- Greta Columbi works in the Youth, Family and Community Development program area at American Institutes for Research (AIR). Colombi currently serves as the director of the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments funded by the U.S. Department of Education. She oversees technical assistance and product development and dissemination, including online and face-to-face training, website design, evaluation, report writing and editing, site visits, quality assurance and monitoring, training and facilitation, and technical assistance. Colombi has nearly 25 years of experience in program monitoring and reporting, technical assistance, and research in both the education and the health and human services fields.
  • Lindsey Jensen, Early Career Development Director, Illinois Education Association- Dr. Lindsey Jensen is the 2018 Illinois Teacher of the Year, the 2020 NEA Foundation for Teaching Excellence Illinois Awardee, and Vice-President of the Illinois State Teachers of the Year. She has delivered over 100 keynotes across the country, and her work has been featured in IL-ASCD, Teach Plus, NEA Today, Education Post, and Flip the System US: How Teachers Can Transform Education and Save Democracy. Her career in education spans 18 years, and she currently serves as the Executive Director for Educators Rising Illinois & the Early Career Development Director for the Illinois Education Association. 
  • Nancy Mohlman, School Social Worker, West 40 Regional Safe School- Nancy Mohlman is a School Social Worker with West 40 Regional Safe School and primarily works with the high school students.  She has five years of experience with alternative education.  Nancy believes that change and growth happen when kids are given the support they need to draw on their own strengths, realize their own potential and when given a safe space for validation.