The student news site of Brookline High School

Serena Smith

Serena Smith has always been interested in working with kids, which has translated to her working as a paraprofessional in the ExCel program. A Brookline native, she attended the Florida Ruffin Ridley School in Coolidge Corner and, subsequently, Brookline High School as a member of the METCO program. Outside of her work at the high school, she particularly enjoys spending time with her dog, Leo, and coaching basketball.

Before joining the staff at the high school, what other jobs did you work and what did you enjoy about those?

I’ve been working in schools for four years now. I started off just tutoring, and then I did a program called “City Year,” a nonprofit organization that goes into under-resourced schools to provide students with a positive role model, mentor, academic help and SEL help. After I did that, I realized I love working in schools.

What, in particular, is your favorite thing about the high school?

I don’t know all the staff, but [for] the staff that taught me and that I currently work with, I just love how caring and genuine they are. You don’t really find that often, where teachers care about you not only succeeding academically but in life. So, I like how close-knit and supportive the community is.

Can you tell me a little bit about what you do at BHS? What’s that like on a day-to-day basis?

I am a paraprofessional. I am either a one-to-one para, where I’m with one specific student, or a program para, where I go to whichever classroom needs me the most. I mainly stay in science or math because that’s my strong suit. So, I help them with their math or science work, especially during learning centers or tutorials. I help them with any missing work that they have; I check their Canvas, make sure that they check in with their teachers, make sure that they have all of their work done.

Did you always want to be a teacher?

I’ve always wanted to work with kids. I used to want to be a marine biology teacher after I had Ms. Giblin. I had Ms. Wolf my junior year, and I fell in love with biology. I love her teaching style, so I was just like, “Yeah, that’s who I want to be.” And I used to swim competitively, so I like water. When I had marine biology, I said, “Yeah, this is the specific field that I want to be in.”

What are your hopes and goals for your students this year?

I just want them to know – sometimes, I don’t think they know this – that we are their support system. We genuinely care about them, and sometimes, kids are like, “Oh no, you’re just a teacher.” We care about them personally; we want them to be great humans. So, a goal for me is to make sure that they know that you’re there in a welcoming and loving environment and that we want them to succeed.

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