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Program Provides Way To Connect With Kids

In his office on the second floor of Brookfield Central School, Dakota Nelson wrote four questions on the whiteboard.


1. How am I feeling?

2. What is making me feel this way?

3. What is my goal for tomorrow?

4. Who/what can help me with my goal?


“We all need reminders that we, not anyone else, control what we feel,’’ Nelson said. “When kids learn how to change within themselves, they are better able to handle problems throughout the day.’’


Nelson is a Youth Case Manager with Safe Schools Mohawk Valley; BCS joined in a partnership with the agency earlier this year and has budgeted for a full year with Safe Schools for 2023-24.


Nelson was assigned to Brookfield, a move the New Hartford native called a great fit. “In a small district you can cater to what each student needs. Teachers know the kids so well they can give referrals and say where the support is needed.’’


BCS Guidance Counselor Jennifer Phillips said Nelson’s impact on students can be seen just weeks into his assignment. “Kids come to find him, to check in, or talk about something,’’ she said. “He’s been a great addition.’’


Safe Schools offers a variety of services and provides a connection to other sources for help as needed. “It’s how to reduce the barrier to education,’’ Nelson said. “At any level there’s support to give a child.’’


Post-pandemic, BCS, like other districts, works to find ways to close the…



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