Athens, Ga. – Students in a service-learning class in the University of Georgia College of Education’s school counseling program are trying to raise awareness of the challenges children with emotional/behavioral disorders face in public schools. Along with several local organizations, they will host a screening of the documentary, “Who Cares About Kelsey?” on Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. at Ciné.
The event is sponsored by the Cottage/Child Advocacy Center, Rutland Academy, Nuçi’s Space, Georgia State University’s Center for Leadership in Disability, the UGA Office of Service-Learning and the UGA College of Education’s School Counseling and Empowered Youth programs.
Director Dan Habib’s film follows the life of Kelsey Carroll, a high school student diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder who also has been homeless and abused. Her school introduces reforms to improve the school’s culture and reduce the dropout rate and the film focuses on Carroll’s success and her school’s role in that success.
The idea to host a community screening of the film arose during a service-learning class held at the Rutland Academy, one of 24 Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support schools, said Jolie Daigle, an associate professor and coordinator of UGA’s school counseling program.
“UGA’s College of Education has a Professional Development School District partnership with Clarke County public schools, part of which involves placing professors-in-residence in schools to supervise student internships, provide professional development trainings and consultation, and to serve in leadership roles,” said Daigle, who is serving as the professor-in-residence at Rutland Academy.
“Students with emotional and behavioral disabilities receive full instruction, positive behavior and intervention supports at Rutland Academy,” said Daigle.
In addition, 14 UGA counseling students were placed at Rutland Academy this year as part of the service-learning course, which is a requirement in the UGA school counseling program.
Daigle’s counseling class watched the documentary as part of a tool kit to learn about best practices for working with students with emotional/behavioral disorders.
“After watching the documentary, I was amazed at how well counselors and school counselors fit into this work through our beliefs, training and expertise,” said Daigle.
The counseling students jumped at the opportunity to schedule one of the community screenings the documentary promotes.
“We spoke with local agencies and community organizations and asked for their involvement,” said Daigle.
Believing it important to hold the screening in the community, the class, with financial assistance from the Cottage/Child Advocacy Center, reserved a room in Ciné, a local independent non-profit theater in downtown Athens.
Daigle has been impressed with the way her counseling students have used their service-learning course to identify a need in local schools and communities.
“Through the Rutland Academy partnership, the students have gained skills in clinical work, classroom management and consultation. They also have honed advocacy skills in building partnerships locally and are using their voices to help improve the lives of youth and families in our community,” said Daigle. “I hope the screening recommits us to helping youth succeed through the use of evidence-based practices such as PBIS. I also hope to discuss next steps and identify training needs and resources for our local educators and school counselors.”
Ciné is located at 234 Hancock Ave. in downtown Athens.