School Social Worker
Meet Ms. Allison!
One of the most wonderful aspects of being a part of the Renaissance community is knowing that the social and emotional needs of our students are thoughtfully and diligently being supported by our School Social Worker, Allison Armour. Whether your child has needed one-on-one support from Ms. Allison, or their entire crew has worked on ways to navigate various situations, all students at Renaissance have benefitted from the care and support Allison provides on a daily basis.
This school year marks Ms. Allison’s sixth year as our school’s Social Worker. The path that brought Allison and her two children to REMS is serendipitous, to say the least. Ms. Allison describes herself as a “front range girl!” Allison grew up in Colorado Springs where she was a spirited Liberty High School cheerleader, graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a degree in Psychology, and earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Denver. While Allison enjoyed high school, it wasn’t until college when she discovered her love of learning and her ability to dream big and go after her goals. Allison set out with one goal in mind: to find a way to be a helper. “I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a helper. When I went to college I thought I’d help kids with mental health as a psychologist. I was heavily involved in running experiments within the Psychology department, I interned with the Boulder Department of Human Services, was a mentor in the Big Sisters/Big Brothers program (and even helped them with their holiday adoptions).” When Allison worked with a Social Worker and realized that they, too, were mental health professionals, she made the switch. Allison didn’t want to focus on just the data from studies … she wanted to focus on the people behind the data.
Eight years ago, Allison was working at Fox Creek Elementary when they were becoming an Expeditionary Learning school. She immediately fell in love with Expeditionary Learning and was sent to Renaissance to volunteer for the Showcases of Learning. Allison volunteered as a community volunteer and it was during this process that her career and personal trajectory shifted towards Renaissance. Allison was struck by the presentation of a twelve year old student who had a learning disability and was on an IEP. He discussed his disabilities and his introspection about how he was a learner. He expressed his passion for drumming and how drumming brought so many life lessons into focus. He laid out reasons why it was important to be a follower-to watch and listen to others, to learn how to follow someone else’s lead, and to be a part of something bigger than oneself. Allison was amazed at how a school could encourage and nurture such insight; she went directly to Deborah after the presentations and asked how she could be a part of the Renaissance community. Allison was soon on board as another staff member who makes a difference for our whole community.
The “day in the life” of a school social worker isn’t an easy one to nail down. Ms. Allison is a “Jack-of-all-trade”. On a daily basis she has to meet children from five to twelve years old where they’re at emotionally. She is constantly re-aligning her approaches to students or to situations to appropriately meet the needs of specific ages. If students are having a personal crisis, Allison is there to help them through it. Allison is also the formal interventionist for the whole Discovery program, as well support for all classrooms by collaborating with and training teachers on mental health support. Allison is part of the Douglas County School District Crisis Team and she has helped develop the district’s plans to meet the affective needs for all gifted learners for grades second to sixth.
When asked what makes Renaissance so special to her, Allison has stated that she loves being a part of a school that has been so impactful to her own children. “Renaissance really changed my life. It happened to me before my world got really hard. When we talk about ‘crew,’ it’s not just staff, but the entire REMS community who has rallied around me and my family. I will always be grateful for the outpouring of love and support that we have received over the years.”
Allison’s drive to help others extends well beyond the walls of Renaissance as Allison has spent the last fourteen years coordinating holiday adoptions for families within Douglas County. When Allison isn’t at school helping our children thrive or helping families provide a special holiday for their children, you may find her polishing her Harry Potter Trivia Championship trophy that she recently won! When you see her in the hallways, ask her something about any of the Marvel movies … she’d probably be able to answer it seeing as she and her family spent about a month and a half this summer watching every single Marvel movie from start to finish. She described the experience as “amazing” and something she would highly recommend doing with your children. Allison loves playing board games and is even kind enough to share her dad, Mr. Bob, with the Renaissance community!
If you see Ms. Allison in the hallway, please thank her for making such a positive difference in the lives of our students-in and outside of the classroom; for being there to navigate crisis situations; for answering the call from parents with a child in distress, and for caring about the mental health and well being of our Renaissance community!