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."
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.
Job Readiness at COMPASS - outcomes for four students in the Job Readiness program:
Four lives changed!
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.
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.
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.
"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)
"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!"
For over 40 years, COMPASS has provided services to students in the Greater Boston area. Public school districts refer students for the specialized services and resources students need to succeed. We specialize in providing services to students with complex social, emotional and behavioral needs.
Teaches children how to handle potentially violent situations without harming themselves or others.
Develops skills that foster personal independence, job readiness, and emotional and physical well-being.
Prepares students for the 21st century work environment through skill development in the use of technology.
Delivers real-world work experiences and develops the skills necessary to become a successful employee.
Integrated curriculum that teaches food safety, food preparation, time management, customer servie and related skills.
Plan and carry out a building upkeep schedule; make simple repairs; plan and implement projects from start to finish.
School students may participate in woodworking classes at the Eliot School in Jamaica Plain.
The COMPASS School includes a range of support services that include wrap-around mental health, social, medical, legal, and vocational services. With our history of achievement as educational providers, COMPASS has the resources to ensure the appropriate educational, pre-vocational, clinical, and advocacy services for students in need of our services.
COMPASS School programs include: Life Skills Class, Transition Services, computer literacy programming, vocational training including Culinary Arts, Building Maintenance & Repair, Woodworking, and Computer Maintenance & Repair.
Violence Prevention is integrated into the School curriculum year round, culminating in Violence Prevention Day every June.