My time working under Nancy Kueffer within the Exceptional Children (EC) Division of Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools (CHCCS) has so far been nothing short of an exceptional experience. Mrs. Kueffer’s position as the District Coordinator of Behavioral Support Programs has allowed me the opportunity to not only observe students with increased behavioral support needs, but to also assist in designing personalized intervention plans according to each individual’s unique experiences. Though I have already visited a number of elementary, middle, and high schools in the district, I have spent the majority of my time in the first month of my internship at Frank Porter Graham Elementary (FPG). At FPG I have been able to meet and problem solve with various staff members that include EC teachers, classroom teachers, guidance counselors, and social workers. I have been amazed by how welcoming these individuals have been to both my presence at meetings as well as to all of the contributions I offer up during them.
Though my experience has so far proven to be extremely positive, before I started my internship with CHCCS I was concerned that I would not be able to find ways to add useful insights to the discussions I took part in. I had never even seen a behavioral intervention plan before, and now I was going to help create them. However, I have thankfully found my initial fear to not be the case at all. The classroom knowledge that I have accumulated throughout my years of undergrad at Carolina has transferred over to this applied setting much more directly than I ever expected it to. I often think of and draw from studies I have previously read and lectures I have attended in order to make suggestions that my colleagues seem to find valuable to the process. The realization of my education’s pertinence to applied work has both solidified my appreciation for the academic rigor of this university as well as reinvigorated my drive to continue to gain more knowledge in this dynamic field. I am particularly excited to expand my understanding of what motivates and precludes youth from behaving in context-appropriate ways through the Gil Internship at CHCCS.
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