Jeremiah Burke School

Burke School Advocacy Program

For the past nine years, the ISPRC has provided advocacy services to the students at the Jeremiah E. Burke High School, a racially, ethnically, and economically diverse high school in Dorchester, MA. The goal of the relational advocacy program is to provide a voice for students and help them advocate for their needs while connecting them to appropriate resources. Mental Health Counseling graduate students from Boston College volunteer to participate in a Social Justice Lab section during their Principles and Techniques in Counseling course. Throughout the year, the graduate students work as advocates paired with one or two students at the Burke school. The advocates assess for emotional and social barriers to their students' school engagement while collaborating with their students to create goals and problem solving strategies. They also work with Burke faculty and staff to identify resources and collaborate with school and community agencies.

The advocacy program provides the students with training and feedback on interviewing, rapport building, and the provision of culturally competent services. Assessments inform individualized goals and interventions that address individual and systemic barriers and aim to improve students' grades, self-esteem, motivation, and navigation of the educational system. Advocates help students gain access to necessary health and mental health, extracurricular and tutoring services. Finally, Boston College advocates are encouraged to help their students build awareness of how context affects their development, to co-navigate the school system, and to identify opportunities to make systems-level change that supports their students.


Burke Grief and Bereavement Resiliency Model


Recently, Dr. Janet Helms sat with school administrators Lindsa McIntyre and Cheryl Windle to discuss their Grief and Bereavement Resiliency Model following the murder of one of the classmates. We invite you to view this video.