My name is... Susan Davis

Counselor, teacher, director of student success at Early College of Arvada

Posted 2/7/19

Counseling and taekwondo I think that student success means so many different things. My background is in counseling and taekwondo. I was the first P.E. teacher at Early College of Arvada — the …

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My name is... Susan Davis

Counselor, teacher, director of student success at Early College of Arvada

Posted

Counseling and taekwondo

I think that student success means so many different things. My background is in counseling and taekwondo. I was the first P.E. teacher at Early College of Arvada — the only P.E. teacher for the first eight years. To me, student success is anything that helps a kid do great things here at Early College and after. Being such a unique school, we get to do things little different. The kids make my job. The kids and the staff — the staff is truly amazing. They are motivated to make a difference in the lives of these kids. It’s a really great group of people.

Joining Early College

When I graduated with my master’s in counseling, I was just getting back into the workforce after raising my daughter. I bought my own embroidery company because I still wanted to be home a little. I went to sell some products to a group of people and talked to them about the school they were opening. I asked if they needed a part-time counselor and they did, so we chatted. And we chatted some more about taekwondo — they didn’t have a P.E. teacher. So, I started at Early College as a part-time counselor and taught taekwondo. I was destined to be here. Eleven years later, here I am and it’s been an interesting journey. But it’s been such a blessing.

Guiding student success

I think there’s been a shift in what kids need now and the change of when we opened the school. It was a straight shot to four years of college. It was cookie-cutter and easy. But I don’t think it’s that simple and easy anymore. It’s really getting to know who these kids are and the cost of education. There’s so many things that these kids can do. And community college is the affordable thing for most of the kids. We really want kids to seek post-secondary education and I think we all have to shift in how we think about what makes a kid successful. And that really motivates me. I love working with the individual kids, learning who they are and getting to help them see what the possibilities are.

Outside academics

We’ve done some violence prevention with students and worked with the senior young ladies leaving for college. We were able to do some empowerment and prepare them to be safe. Alongside of that, we had a staff member talk to the boys about what it means to be safe and for all of them to make good choices, both boys and girls, and not put themselves in harms way. We’ve worked really well together as a team. Right now, our senior advisers are teaching students cooking and sewing. They will teach them how to change a tire and basic automotive skills. And the kids are so enthusiastic about it.

If you have a suggestion for My Name Is, contact Shanna Fortier at sfortier@coloradocommunitymedia.com.

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