Guidance and Counseling
The one-on-one counseling process at IJLA begins immediately after students complete orientation. Each student is assigned a prevention and intervention counselor. The counselor meets with each student to complete a strength-based assessment that identifies the student's strengths and areas for improvement and then works withe the student to create the Alternative Education Plan (AEP). Students have the same counselor throughout their time at IJLA although all counselors have an open door policy.
The AEP enables students to identify their personal, professional , social, emotional and academic goals for the school year and helps them create an action plan for success. IJLA recognizes that students who are struggling socio-emotionally are also more likely to be struggling in the classroom therefore students will only be taken out of the classroom when referred by a teacher and the teacher has give a counselor permission to use that time or when there is a safety concern identified.
If it is determined that a student would benefit for more intensive counseling students have access to counselors through IJLA's partnership with the Adler School of Psychology. Students also have access to weekly support groups after school or during Familias to address barriers to student achievement such as parenting and pregnancy, violence, and alcohol and substance abuse.
Familia Advisory Program
The primary focus of the Familia is to build strong relationships while developing life skills among student groups. The curriculum is developed in partnership with counselors and teachers and teachers are the primary facilitators. Familia teachers get to know their students best and can help them seek our the career and academic counselors or their prevention and intervention counselors if they are struggling with any issues from attendance, to academics, to problems in their personal lives.
Due to the population served IJLA believes that it is imperative that behavior intervention systems reflect the need to support social-emotional learning and restoring community. The Restorative Justice approach is a process used to involve, to the extent possible, those who have a steak in a specific offense and to collectively identify and address harms, needs, and obligations, in order to heal and put things as right as possible.
IJLA uses the restorative approach to give students the opportunity to reflect on the following guiding questions:
- Who has been hurt?
- What are their needs?
- Whose obligations are they?
- What are the causes?
- Who has a "stake" in this?
The Restorative Justice approach gives staff the structure to work with youth to build positive community bonds and to nurture social competence and self-discipline. The approach is about learning and developing the competencies to prevent future conflict. At IJLA Restorative Justice has led to documented growth in self- and social-awareness that eventually impacts students decision making long-term.