A Lot of TLC Offered by the FSSTT
by Silvia Venturino
The FSSTT was created in 1995 to address the needs of students experiencing behavioral and/or social and emotional difficulties.
Dr. Mounir Samy, one of the founders, summarized our mission: “FSSTT is helping the student and their families where they are, physically, emotionally and psychologically”. The team strives to develop trusting relationships between the FSSTT staff, students and their families. The FSSTT’s primary goal is to build capacity in students, families and school teams. Consultation among school professionals and educators, as well as ongoing professional development in mental health and social & emotional learning, are key aspects of the team’s work Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Diagram
The name of the student in this article has been changed to protect the identity of the person.
Recently, a former LBPSB graduate who is now an adult and has children of her own, reached out to Charlene Altimas. In Charlene’s previous role as a Family and School Support And Treatment Team (FSSTT) school tech for more than 10 years, she cared a lot about her students. Charlene may not have known at the time that she was making a difference in one particular student’s life, who we’ll call Tara for the purposes of this article.
Tara had a tough life when she was a young student, overcoming many struggles and today she is trying her hardest to be the best mother she can be to her new baby girl. However small her actions were, Tara remembered Charlene’s kindness and the genuine connection they formed. About a month ago, Tara was grieving her mother’s sudden and unexpected death. Knowing that Charlene cared about her, she reached out, looking for some support. Charlene made an impact on this one student’s life, but this story also highlights that all the dedication and daily work doesn’t go unnoticed.
This was not the first time Tara reached out to Charlene. Generally, it was just to say hi and to catch up. She had reached out once before in the past out of concern for her younger brother when no one knew where he was. The student needed reassurance from Charlene that he was fine. Charlene’s gut instinct was that he had most likely skipped school. In fact, that’s exactly what happened. That day, her younger brother was safe and was just hanging out at the local library rather than being in school.
For most young children, schools are like a second home and sometimes school staff can become parental figures. Charlene continues to work to make positive experiences for students in her current role as a Child and Family Development Consultant for FSSTT.
Charlene sums up the role of an FSSTT school tech as “building a trusting relationship with students and their families. School techs support and guide students through many difficult situations and hardships”
Building trust is not as simple as it sounds and maintaining it is quite an achievement. Knowing that you have made an impact on a student’s life has to be the most rewarding part of your job.