Vanessa Chisolm loves those kids who are the hardest to love. Chisolm serves as a behavioral interventionist at Copperas Cove ISD’s Disciplinary Alternative Education Program. Principal Patrick Crawley said Chisolm has been able to excel in the position.
“No one likes to talk about difficult students, but DAEP has some of the most difficult students in the school district who arrive on our doorstep with significant behavioral needs,” Crawley said. “These students struggle with behavior and can be challenging to even the most veteran teachers. When teachers are in a situation in which they are having extreme difficulty with a student, they call Vanessa. Vanessa can perform miracles.”
Crawley said DAEP students respect Chisolm and know she will be firm but fair in all circumstances.
“Her (students) know she cares for them and loves them enough to help them make good choices each and every day,” Crawley said. “Not only is she magnificent with the students, but she has also been a leader among the other behavioral interventionists.”
Instead of consequences and punishment, Chisolm works with the students, teaching those social skills and replacement behaviors to help them be successful in the classroom. She does this without complaint and without losing her patience, said Crawley.
“She works day in and day out with some of the most challenging behaviors in the district. She never gets frustrated with them and begins each day anew,” Crawley said. “When teachers are at their wits end, Vanessa is in their classroom helping the students generalize the social skills needed in the classroom setting.”
Crawley said Chisolm’s “can do” attitude contributes to her success with students.
“Vanessa is an extremely versatile employee who is always up for any challenge. Vanessa remains positive and upbeat throughout the day,” Crawley said. “Even though her job can be very tough and difficult, she never lets it get her down. She is patient with students even on their toughest days. Vanessa has made major breakthroughs with kids who are behaviorally challenging. Her students fuel her fire and passion for her job. Seeing them be successful makes her day. Vanessa’s work changes the lives of students at DAEP. She is having an impact far beyond her own realization.”