Join GCSA for Charter Chats: Promoting Mental Wellness in the Educational Environment during the 17th annual Georgia Charter Schools Conference on Friday, March 13 from 8:30-10:30 a.m. These short and insightful presentations focused on mental health will be given by Julie Allen, Principal and CEO of the International Community School; Ryan West, a teacher at Georgia Cyber Academy and Jaida Mansour, a fifth-grade student at Amana Academy. Read more about each of the presenters below. Register for the conference here.
Jaida Mansour, Fifth-Grade Student, Amana Academy
Jaida Mansour is a fifth grade student at Amana Academy. She loves to read, play, and learn. Jaida hopes her Charter Chats talk will remind adults of the positive influence they can have on a student. She believes that these positive interactions are vital to supporting students who have been bullied or experience trauma.
Ryan West, Teacher, Georgia Cyber Academy
Ryan M. West and Gen. George S. Patton, AKC registered Boxer and trained service dog for PTSD have been by each other’s side for the past four and a half years. They have taken a new pedagogical approach in the classroom addressing the whole student. This method is taken from published research Ryan did with breast cancer patients in 2012-2014. The research examined the totality of breast cancer patients as they were being treated. Ryan created the Integrative Resource Assessment Program at a regional cancer facility and merged a Symptom Inventory Tool with what was being used at M.D. Anderson. The research showed that when you focus on the patient’s distress, as well as the physical manifestation of the disease, the overall quality of life and level of distress show improvement. This knowledge coupled with his experience working in the Juvenile Service Division as a certified Police Officer in Alabama and his time in the United States Army helped in establishing a new pedagogical method to help spur total student growth in and out of the classroom.
Julie Allen, Principal/CEO, International Community School
Ms. Allen serves as the current Principal/CEO of the International Community School. She has worked her entire career in education, specifically serving low-income and historically oppressed communities, across metro Atlanta. Ms. Allen believes that all students deserve an education that will allow them to live choice-filled lives, and she is committed to leading this charge in her current role. She began her career as a Teach for America teacher where she was a finalist for the national Sue Lehmann Excellence in Teaching award. Since leaving the classroom, Ms. Allen has coached elementary teachers in over 20 metro Atlanta schools, and served as Teach For America’s National Director of Classroom Culture. She has served with other non-profits such as the GSU Young Alumni Council, Centennial Academy Board of Directors, and Decatur Cooperative Ministry Board of Directors. Ms. Allen has presented at national conferences such as the Sources conference and the National Association for Education of Young Children. She earned her master’s degree in early childhood education from GSU and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida.