Emotional Support Teacher to retire

Mrs. DeHaven ends teaching career after 32 years

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When they hear the name Mrs. Carol Dehaven, some students have no idea who she is. To others, she is one of the most important people they have contact with at school all day.

Mrs. Dehaven is BASH’s Emotional Support Teacher and founder of the school’s Emotional Support program, which helps students whose academics are affected by emotional issues. They receive support and counseling, and they work on skills such as self regulation, stress management, communication, and good behavior.

“I work on a different level with my colleagues,” Mrs. Dehaven said. “In the end this job has made me more compassionate and understanding as a person.”

This spring, Mrs. Dehaven will retire after 32 years of teaching.

“It’s definitely time for me to retire,” she said, ”but I truly will miss all my students and my colleagues that I have come to know.”

Mrs. Dehaven’s journey as an emotional support teacher began 11 years ago when she was working as a learning support teacher, mainly helping Life Skills students. One day, she walked into the Office of Special Ed and was asked to start an emotional support program, something the district had been talking about for years.

At first, she declined because she thought it would be too time consuming.

“Hear me out,” the head of the department said. “You have ten minutes.”

She stayed to listen, and the following week she committed to the job.

Once she did, she visited other school districts of similar size, such as Spring Ford and Reading who had established programs, in order to get ideas. After this she created a wishlist of about 30 different items that she would like to see in the new program. Twenty were granted, such as a separate budget for the program, flexibility with students and schedules, and creative health.

“The school was great working with me for the program,” Dehaven said. “I got almost all of my wishes, which was awesome.”

Today, in addition to the support they receive, students in the program get rewarded for good grades and behavior.

“We love to take field trips to all different places,” Mrs. Dehaven said.

The BASH graduate said she never planned to return to the high school, let alone work here for 32 years. Her career began a long-term substitute at BASH. Then, she was offered a contract as a learning-support teacher.

At first she did not love it, but a good mentor taught her that she could use her own teaching style, as long as she covered the needed materials.

Mrs. Dehaven’s plans after retirement include traveling, working in the garden, and, most importantly, working on her own schedule. She also plans to attend her daughter’s graduation from Duquesne College and her son’s wedding.

Though excited to retire, she will miss a lot about her work.

“This job is the perfect marriage for me,” Mrs. Dehaven said. “It has taught me a lot, I have learned so much from all my students.”

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