"A compass is a tool that helps you find your direction. Well, COMPASS School is the same way. The people at COMPASS... help you find your right direction in life. The reason I'm here is because I used to get into so many fights that I was kicked out of school. If I didn't get into COMPASS I would have been hanging out on the corners all hours of the night. When I got settled in... they got me a job at a college that I've had over a year... Without COMPASS I would not have made it this far."
(youth served by COMPASS program)
Born in Kenya, M.'s first experience in a U.S. public high school was challenging. Within two weeks, he had a number of conduct violations and poor attendance; a pending felony charge became a conviction. M. was subsequently expelled from his public high school; the Special Education Department made referrals to alternative schools.
At COMPASS, M. stated that he wanted to be in school and to graduate, but continued to struggle with attendance and challenging behavior. Gradually, as his attendance improved, he began to build relationships with staff, while working with his clinician and caseworker to learn skills to help him improve his behaviors and engage in his classes.
M. chose to participate in the school's Building Maintenance and Repair (BMR) program, taking great pride in the work that he did. M. joined COMPASS' basketball team and was a role model for other students with his positive, team-oriented attitude. He began to work at an auto body shop, accompanied by COMPASS staff. In 2012, M. received several awards at COMPASS' annual Violence Prevention Ceremony, recognizing his work on the basketball team, in the BMR program, and for community service. Both he and staff were proud of his accomplishments.
M.'s family moved to a new city; a school review indicated how far he had come. He decided that he would like his last year of high school to be at a public one. He remained at COMPASS through the summer of 2012 and started at his district's public high school in the fall. COMPASS staff remain in touch with M. He has had a successful start to the school year.
At the end of each conversation, he always thanks the staff member for helping him to succeed. M. promises to stay in touch and to come back and visit.
Ascer was at the COMPASS School in October, 1995 when he learned of his brother's death, the result of a violent encounter in Mattapan. This incident and the
circumstances under which Ascer learned of his brothers death, reading of it in The Boston Herald, put all our theories about violence
prevention to the test.
At COMPASS he focused on a newfound exceptional talent: art. Throughout the year, COMPASS staff worked with him, individually, as a team, and in the classroom, providing him opportunities to vent, to create, and to pursue what had once seemed a far-fetched dream - a college education. Some seven months after his brother's death, Ascer himself was on the front page of the Herald, pictured next to this headline: "Through fear and tears he rises up"
In the article, Peter Gelzinis, the Herald reporter, recounted the story that had shaken and inspired staff and students alike. He wrote: "That he is neither dead nor incarcerated is a testament to the sheer force of his smoldering determination and the heroic contributions from the staff of the COMPASS School in Jamaica Plain!"
Ascer received a full-tuition scholarship from Boston College and completed his degree.
"They care so much they saw past what I saw. They saw my potential even when I didn't. They're good at helping kids build a strong foundation for themselves."
"My best experience since I came to COMPASS... was in the kitchen, working for the COMPASS Café. I learned a lot about all the steps to prepare and serve food and I got paid for it. We had to take turns at all the different positions. I liked to cook but I didn't like being a waiter. Chris helped a lot. He knew how to explain things, from how to chop vegetables to where the ingredients came from and how to measure things. There was a whole system..."
(student at the COMPASS School)
Job Readiness at COMPASS - outcomes for four students in the Job Readiness program:
Four lives changed!
"As an attorney working with court-involved children and families for more than twenty years... this is the first time I have ever felt the urge to write the overseeing organization about a particular caseworker’s involvement.
I am so grateful that Ms. 'Beltran' is working with my client. I believe [she] has gone above and beyond to... support my client in ways that are essential, but are often unavailable. Her Spanish skills, her willingness to advocate [for] services, her willingness to drive Ms. 'Davis' when transportation is a problem... her responsiveness to my requests for assistance, and her positive attitude... make Ms. Beltran such an asset! I truly believe Ms. Davis' case would be turning out... much less successfully, if Ms. Beltran was not involved."
(message from an attorney working with a CSS client)
Anastasia has been a longtime COMPASS student.
Like most of our students Staya comes from a troubled background. But now upon graduation she looks forward to a bright future, thanks
to her own hard work and perseverance and our staff's insistence that everyone can overcome their circumstances, along with
our wrap-around services philosophy.
Her recent accomplishments include being awarded the John P.Santry Sportsmanship Award in June of 2008 for her skill and leadership on the basketball court. In June of 2009 she was awarded the Dr. Tom Frank Personal Growth award for her improvement in maturity and focus.
Staya has been awarded a full residential scholarship to study automotive mechanics at Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology.
Z. was referred to COMPASS' Intensive Support Program at English High School soon after arriving from the Dominican Republic. T., an ISP staff member, began working with Z. and started to understand some of his learning challenges. An evaluation, done with the support of his parents, indicated that Z. was cognitively low in content areas, and performing several levels below his 9th grade placement. Z. was shy, respectful of others, and had limited English language skills.
T. worked to ensure that Z. received bilingual special educations services in all content areas and worked with him unceasingly to ensure he understood and completed classroom assignments. Z. began to demonstrate a quiet pride in his accomplishments, and his self confidence increased. This year Z. got a job at Stop & Shop, a dream come true for him, as he was able to financially assist his family; he was a great employee. Z. took and passed the MCAS - when his administrator informed him, along with ISP staff, that he had passed the MCAS, there was not a dry eye in the room. Z. graduated from English High School in June of 2012. T. continues to support Z.'s vocational training with the Mass. Rehab Commission. He dreams of becoming a policeman one day...
"I wanna thank you for helping me and my family. Thank you for being there when we needed you. Also helping us know that we can love and care for each other and not be afraid. And for helping me to take compliments and for being proud for my self. ... thanks a lot for everything you done. And making me laugh and making everyone else happy. I will keep your advice in my head and use it more often."
(from a mother receiving services through the Comprehensive Support and Stabilization Program)
"My family has been involved with COMPASS for a few months now. Since we've been involved this program has taught us how to effectively communicate with respect for each other, [to] understand that everyone has boundaries, [that] planning things out makes a much happier household, [and] bridging the gap between the school and the children leads to a successful outcome. It is my plan to stay with them for as long as we can."
(from a quote about us on Guidestar)
Both Pedro and his older brother graduated with us, and his family has
been very active with the school by cooking for various events, reaching out to
parents and attending all of our functions. Pedro graduated in June 2009.
In June 2007 Pedro was awarded a scholarship to travel to England as part of a youth ambassador group called "People to People." He has continued find ways to help fund his own education, as the recipient of a full scholarship to Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Boston. He won a significant portion of that money in a statewide cooking contest.
Juan attended the COMPASS school and graduated in June 2009, where he impressed with his engaging, warm personality. In his senior year, Juan showed an uncommon enthusiasm for Culinary Arts, and it was in the kitchen that Juan proved to himself and others that his dream to have a career in the food industry was a dream no more. Juan expects to start in the Culinary Arts program at Bunker Hill Community College this fall.
Comprehensive Support & Stabilization Case Worker Steve B. was recently honored with a commendation letter from Massachusetts Senator John Kerry. The commendation came as a result of a letter sent to Governor Deval Patrick by a grateful mother, Gale F., whose family Steve had worked with. In addition to her kind letter, Gale created and dedicated a painting to Steve, shown here along with Senator Kerry's commendation. Her letter to Governor Patrick follows:
Dear Governor Deval Patrick,
I know you are working hard on the concerns and the future of the Massachusetts residents. I know that balancing the budget has to be done. I have faith that you will keep in mind that the future is with our children.
... my request will not cost much. I would like to request 3 state employees to be recognized for their excellent professional family support over the past 18+ months. Their support has made it possible for me to keep myself together through an extremely difficult period in my life. Their jobs are rarely recognized when they are done right but often noticed when something goes wrong. My story starts with my 15 yr. old son's poor attendance at school. The F. High School and... myself had a CHINS placed on my son. He... was found to be a good kid that was headed in the wrong direction.
In the past 15 months, I have injured both shoulders and badly torn rotator cuffs while at work. I came down with a blood infection, for which I had to have therapy to stand and walk again. I have just had the 2nd operation on my shoulders. My mother expired from bladder cancer and 10 days later my sister-in-law expired from a chronic pancreas problem. I have guardianship of my 3 grandchildren, a girl 12 yrs. old and twin boys 11 yrs. old. The twins are developmentally behind with autism. Their parents are going through a divorce plus other problems. My husband has been out of work for 3+ years. Any one of these problems can be hard on a family. The following 3 employees have helped my children with counseling, school support, rides to work for my son, a 2+ months hospital stay, getting through 2 funerals and the past holidays. They have been always available to me and have been called upon throughout this time...
One of these workers, Steve B., a family clinician at COMPASS' Community Stabilization & Support Program, supported my son through school problems, rides to work, counseling, etc. He has mentored my son. He has been a much needed positive [role] model to my son. Steve has been helpful through all the previous named problems. On top of that, Steve arranged time for my granddaughter to be with a female COMPASS employee. He helped get the twins into an Autism program to help with school vacation days.
I truthfully believe if [this] person was not part of my life over the past 18+ months, my children would have paid a price for the problems around them. I have a great need to thank these people. I hope you can see it fit to honor this request for a letter of recognition to these invaluable employees. God bless you all...
"... thank you for the COMPASS Afterschool Program... my children have benefited greatly. This program has taught them more self-discipline and improved their studying and learning to respect authority as well as their peers. But most importantly their grades have improved substantially..."
(parent of an After School Action Program student)
"... I have attended the parents meetings (from) which I have learned a great deal about the program. Programs like COMPASS' mean higher quality students which will become successful adults; COMPASS means inner city children will have a greater chance to learn and have a choice in getting a good education... "
(parent of an After School Action Program student)
"When my son... was having emotional difficulties in his early school years, COMPASS and its faculty were the only ones to really care about a child's education. They were devoted to giving these children an education by helping them overcome their problems. They are caring and loving people whom really came across to me as being there to truly help and not just for a paycheck. Thanks to COMPASS, my son has gone to college and become an outstanding young man. They even influenced him to follow a career path in helping other youths that may be headed down the wrong roads of life. They are amazing!"
Our school and Comprehensive Support and Stabilization program provide special education services and skill building that fosters resiliency and stabilization for future success.
School Fax: 617-506-8106
CSS/Admin Fax: 617-506-7695
© 2017 Community Providers of Adolescent Services
294 Bowdoin St. Dorchester, MA 02122